Stress Management Archive

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How to manage stress at work

The quickened heart rate and the inexplicable anxiety, accompanied by the overwhelming need to get out of your office to breathe. The irritability and anger that you feel which you are unable to find the source of. The loss of interest in anything you had once considered fun. The increased intake of alcohol and drugs to aid in the numbing of any thoughts and emotions you have left. Most of us have all been through these yet many have been too busy feeling stressed to be aware that they are indeed, stressed.

Stress has been aptly named the “health epidemic of the 21st century” by the World Health Organization (WHO) and is estimated to cost American businesses up to $300 billion per year in productivity loss. As employees, it is crucial that we do not get too caught up in our work at the expense of our physical and emotional well being, for the benefit of both ourselves and the company we work for. So here on some tips on how to deal with stress at work and bring the much needed balance to your life.

1. Identify and come to terms with the fact that you are stressed.

This is one of the major stumbling blocks to effective stress management that we all encounter. It is the fault of the society that we live in nowadays. Stress has become synonymous with weakness, which is why many find it difficult to admit that they are indeed feeling stressed out for fear of being the Achilles’ heels of the company.

It is perfectly normal to feel vexed and overwhelmed by your work. By allowing yourself to come to terms with it, you can achieve better and longer term benefits when you distribute some energy to alleviating the problem. Better stress management allows you to feel better about yourself and as a result, enable you to focus better and deliver better work performance.

2. Take good care of yourself by always prioritizing your well being over work

Your body is a temple, and your one and only temple. Without your health, productivity suffers greatly which serves as a further blow to your self esteem and balance in life. Many understand the importance of their well being yet chose to not do anything about it since they feel a lifestyle overhaul is too much of a trouble for them.

Well, the good news is, all that it takes is consciousness and awareness. Before choosing your meal at lunchtime, make sure you are not indulging in food with high sugar level, but instead consuming food rich in protein that can keep you going all day. While working, pause for a moment to evaluate your well being. Are you starting to lose focus? Are you starting to make more and more mistakes? Getting a light snack or taking a short stroll around the office can help get your emotions more in check and reduce stress.

3. Time management.

I cannot reiterate how vital time management is to stress management. By carefully and appropriately planning your schedule, you no longer feel like there is too much food on your plate and too little time in a day. Anxiety only adds on to the stress and does adverse effects to your ability to deliver good results. Good planning gives you a bird-eye perspective of how your day is going to pan out and how much you can accomplish. It assures you that everything is under your control and in the process, work wonders to help in calming your nerves and ensuring that you perform at your optimal best.

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10 Ways to Relieve Stress

Stress can be a positive thing. It can spur one to achieve their goals, targets and deadlines, but it is only good in moderation. Too much stress can lead to loss of concentration, memory, learning, productivity, and many other adverse health effects which I believe that you are utmost keen to avoid at all costs.

10 ways to kill stress

1. Exercise

It is known that endorphin’s, neurotransmitters that give your body a sense of “well-being” and happiness, are released when one engages in suitably strenuous exercise. These endorphins are also responsible for the “runners high” that one gets, which enables them to push further. Whenever you feel under great stress, grab your sneakers and hit the road running. Allow your stress to melt away.

2. Laughter

Learn to laugh at yourself and take life less seriously. Effective usage of humor can also be useful in diffusing tense social situations. Also, studies have shown that laughter leads to the lowering of the stress hormones, cortisol and epinephrine. Similar to the above point, endorphins are too released when one is laughing. Its overall effect will lead to less stress and more happiness.

3. Recharge yourself

Take a power nap! Even if you are hard-pressed for time, a mere 7 minute nap can do wonders for your concentration, memory and will give you the motivation to continue to attempt the tasks and challenges that lie ahead.

4. Drink Tea

Some forms of tea, like chamomile, are known to exert calming effects on the drinker. They will reduce anxiousness and nervous feelings as well. Also, they taste good! However, drink in moderation as tea is a diuretic- you don’t want to make frequent trips to the washroom!

5. Cry/Scream

Don’t be afraid to release your pent-up emotions. Muffle your cries and screams into a pillow if you have to.

6. Give yourself “Me” Time

Arrange your schedule to plan a day in which all the activities revolve around yourself, and no one else. Use this time to relax, reflect and recharge.

7. Try aromatherapy

Different kinds of essential oils exist that purport to have different properties and calm the user. Even if one is skeptical of the usage of such aromatic oils, one cannot deny that the fragrance does help to lift one’s mood and in turn, alleviates stress.

8. Meditate

Studies have shown that other than reducing stress, meditation has other significant health benefits like reducing muscle tension, lowering one’s blood pressure and might even increase one’s tolerance.

9. Do yoga

Similar to the above point, yoga too has multiple health benefits that are too varied to list here. Besides gaining flexibility and becoming more toned, one can also indulge in the calmness of yoga class, as opposed to the fast pace of hectic life.

10. Embark on an activity you’ve always wanted to try

Remember that course/hobby you’ve always wanted to take up but never had the time to? If you keep putting it off, you will never get around to doing it! Don’t second guess. Just go out and do it!

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6 tips to stay focused at work

I get easily distracted. With so many browser tabs open and email messages, my eyes are constantly moving around the screen looking for some sort of information. My mind quickly goes into information overload and I completely forgot what I was doing in the first place.

Taking back control of my focus was not an easy task. I learnt through many mistakes what worked for me. Here are some tips that I would like to share with you.

1. Clarity and Simplicity.

One of my major problems is having everything opened on my screen. My task bar is overloaded with 100 bajillion windows.

Now, I try to follow the rule of “One thing at a time”. I close every single thing on my screen and only open what I need. If it is MS word then I only open that. If it is email, then I only open that while all other applications are closed. This might be tedious but it keeps the mind alert and focused.

2. Write out directions

Write out exactly everything that you need to accomplish. Write down the path that help accomplish your goals.

Break it down in small chunks. When you start work, your mind will be looking for every possible solution. Rather than doing it all in your head, take out a piece of paper or steal one from the printer and write out a game plan.

Sounds trivial but its not. You are so used to planning while working that it’s second nature to always do it in front of the computer. The problem is the computer. It is so easy to get distracted with the computer in your face.

Turn off the computer screen and write yourself an action list.

3. Costly

Heard of the swearing jar? Now build yourself a procrastination jar. Give a coworker, family member or a friend $100. Tell them to give it to you when you complete a certain project. Show them proof that you are done the project. I normally give the money to my younger brother. If I gave it to my older brother, then I would never see it back.

Sometimes having incentive rewards will help you get the job done. The embarrassment of not finishing a task and loosing $100 will hurt. Failing stings. You will be pumped to continue.

4. Website Blocker

Download a good website blocker. There are tons of website blockers out there. I love the “WasteNoTime” blocker for safari and “Website Blocker Beta”for chrome. Block all the websites that have nothing to do with work.

Some website blockers have time capability. Limit yourself to 15 minute use of any time wasting website. The rest of the time should be for focus.

5. Gradually build strength

You are all pumped to finish the project. You jump on your desk and start working for 5 hours straight. Slowly, you start to get annoyed very easily and soon enough you start hating work. Welcome to being burned out.

You can’t jump into work and do it for long periods of time. You have to crawl before you can walk.

Slowly build yourself up for longer periods of work. Set a stopwatch for 15 minutes. Take a 5-minute break when the time is up. Slowly start adding 5 minutes to the amount of time you must work.

6. Complete Easy Things first.

Solving hard problems could be very intimidating. The daunting task could overwhelm your mind. The easiest way to get around this is by starting off with completing the easiest tasks first.

Create a to do list with everything you have to finish today. Review the to-do list and divide the task into “short” vs “hard/long” items. Short items are things you can complete within 10 – 30 minutes. The harder items require full mental capability and might take longer than 30 minutes. Next, divide and conquer

Got any tips that could help with focus?

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3 Stress Reduction Techniques That’ll Slaughter Stress

Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are

Fact Number #1. Stress is a certified killer. It’s like a hitman, hired by the devil himself. And it’s designed to twist your mind to unimaginable extents, break it apart bit by bit and pretty much send you on a one way ticket to the mental institute. Heck, if you’re not careful you’d probably end up like one, Hannibal The Cannibal.

Fact Number #2. I don’t care who you are or what your profession is. You’re definitely facing some form of stress in your life. And while a minimal level is actually deemed as healthy, it can easily go overboard. So, you need to learn how to manage the mental torture. Lucky for you I’m going to share a few stress reduction techniques with you in this article.

Don’t sign up for everything on the list

Here’s a harsh, in your face reality of life. If you start biting more than you can chew, people are going to take advantage of you. You may want to come across as the nice person. But remember this. You have physical limitations. And as you begin to realise that everyone in the world is dumping all their excess junk on you, the gung-ho spirit of yours will evolve into a holy-crap-what-am-I-doing kind of feeling.

And even if you’re smart enough not to climb mountains for your colleagues… Odds are, your boss has a tendency to arrow extra work to you. Sadly, these are things you can hardly avoid without taking a nasty blow on your reputation. Nobody wants to be known as the lazy one eh?

But there is a nifty little solution. Plan everything out. Take out a sheet of paper and make a little timetable of sorts. All you really have to do is delegate certain tasks to certain days. Set aside a specific number of hours to complete the assignments given to you. And of course, do your best to stick to your work plan as well.

A little iron pumping doesn’t hurt anyone

The keyword here is exercise. Exercise is a fantastic stress reduction technique. You direct a lot of negative energy towards something positive. You pretty much take out your frustrations on yourself. But instead of beating yourself senseless, pushing your boundaries via the healthy release of exercise actually does you a ton of good.

In a nutshell, you quickly transcend from a pissed off state to a healthier, happier you.

Take a leaf out of Buddha’s book

You don’t have to head to an oak tree and meditate for a hundred days straight. That is a tad unnecessary. But, the simple act of sitting down everyday for 15-20 minutes or so, and just meditating can do wonders. A common misconception people have is that the purpose of meditating it to bring oneself closer to God. I really don’t know who came up with that cooky story.

Here’s what meditation really does for you. You learn to regulate your breathing. Hence, you begin to regulate your heartbeat. This in turn regulates your blood flow. An optimal level of oxygen hence flows to your brain. This helps you clear your flooded head… And voila! You slowly begin to think more rationally than before. It’s a great long term stress reduction technique.

So here you go. 3 fantastic stress reduction techniques that actually work.

If you have any stress busters then please feel free to share.

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Kill stress with Mindfulness Meditation

Stress is the trash of modern life – we all generate it but if you don’t dispose of it properly, it will pile up and overtake your life – Danzae Pace

Lets be honest for one second. Our jobs are hectic. Jumping from one task to another so we can finish all our never-ending to-do lists. All of this never-ending work builds up a lot of stress.

Not managing stress properly leads to some serious problems such as high blood pressure, risk of a stroke and even heart disease. Lets not forget the mental illnesses that develop such as anxiety, fear, distrust and insecurity.

Stress at work can affect every one of us and in the U.S. alone, it is the cause of 60- 90% medical visits. This time is a huge cost to companies because stress takes time away from finishing projects and not to mention the loss of sick days.

Managing the killer Stress

A study conducted by a group of scientist at the University of Arizona, revealed that doing limited amounts of mindful meditation practice helps reduce stress and instill a positive state of mind.

What is mindful meditation?

Mindful meditation technique has been around for a very long time. The point of mindful meditation is to focus the mind to be present in the moment. Not thinking about the past or worrying about it and not looking at the future. Being mindful helps reduce daily stress and instills inner peace.

You can enjoy the amazing benefits of mindful meditation anywhere and anytime. Mindfulness will become a part of your daily life as long as you create the habit of practicing it daily or weekly.

Mindfulness Meditation Relieves stress

Going further into the meaning of mindful, you soon realize that mindful extends to:

  1. Openness
  2. Concentration
  3. Control

Openness


Being present in the moment helps you expand your mind beyond mental limitations. Any reservations about any subject can be looked at with out passing any judgment. Not criticizing anything instead  letting the moment flow. This will open your heart and mind to new possibilities. Sometimes what you once thought to be a mistake or a problem will be viewed as an opportunity.

My first meditation practices always consisted of different judgmental thoughts.

  • “I can’t do this”
  • “How useless is it to sit here”
  • “I am so weak that I am doing this”

These thoughts would hook me into a negative cycle. I persevered and kept meditating. Couple of months later I was able to let all these thoughts drift by in my mind without getting hooked on them.

Concentration


The basis of mindfulness stems from paying attention. To be mindful is to be focused and aware. The meditation practice itself requires extended period of time to focus only on the sensations of breathing.

Being focused on a particular task is increasingly becoming difficult in the modern world. With our constant emails, text messages and meetings, it becomes very hard to stay focused.

Finishing a simple task of reading a report or an article cannot be done without your mind itching to check the email or your phone. These are the habits that have built up over time in our corporate world that affect us.

Mindfulness combats these distractions by going back to the basics of doing nothing but breathing. Just breathing.

Quick Test

Stop doing every thing and close your eyes. Then focus on your breathing for 3 minutes. Focus your mind on the inhalation and exhalation. During this time count how many times your mind wandered off. Go ahead, I will wait.

Bet your mind wandered offmore than once.

Control/Will power

Stressful situations make us lose focus of what the actual problem is. Our mind’s become riddled with negative thoughts. These thoughts in turn just complicate the matter even more.

Mindfulness allows us to view the “reality” of the problem by helping us to let go of judgmental thoughts and any criticism. These thoughts merely become a momentary flame that diffuse in a second. This detachment helps you see the problem for what it actually is rather than what you “perceive” the problem to be.

A guided mindfulness meditation with Kabatt Zinn

Leave Stress behind through Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a simple journey through the waters of your mind. Sometimes the boat that you travel on will face many hurricanes. These hurricanes will be dark, windy and the waves will swallow you whole. But Mindfulness will be the propeller that helps you push through the storms to beaming sun of hope and peace.

Stressful times will always take us to dark places that we do not want to go. It is our jobs to equip ourselves with the best weapons to help bring us back to balance.

What are some other killers tips I left out?

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Simple Meditation for Stress Relief and Relaxation

Stress is basically a disconnection from the earth, a forgetting of the breath. Nothing is that important. Just lie down ~ Natalie Goldberg

Stress is all around us. It creeps up on our day when we least expect it. When it does, it consumes our mind and body. We start loosing focus of the task at hand and start to give into negative thoughts. Meditation for stress relief will help combat any stress and get you focused in no time.

Meditation helps regain control of your body and mind. Starting with body scan meditation, you will focus on muscle relaxation then move towards different stress relief exercises and meditation.

During these stress relief meditations the focus will be on practicing deep breath and muscle relaxation techniques. Do not be concerned right now about what stress relief exercises are good. Just take some time to try one of the meditation techniques.

Stress Management 101

You might be feeling helpless at first. The endless things you have to do or bills you have to pay. Things just keep piling on. These items will attack your thoughts and take over your mind.

Take charge of your thoughts

Having control over your thoughts is the first step to managing stress. It is in your thoughts that all the negative storylines keep hooking your inner self to a pessimistic reality.

Write the floating negative thoughts on a piece of paper. Any thought that appears in your mind that causes any anxiety just write it down.  Let it all go.

I spend 20 minutes sometimes writing anything on my mind.It cleans my mind and helps me focus.

Simple Stress Relief Technique

  • Take a piece of paper.
  • Write down all thoughts.
  • Rate each thought 1 – 5. 1 = least stressed, 5 = most stressed.
  • Organize the list from highest to lowest.

Now reflect on the list. Look at the top most items that are causing you stress and reflect on “Why?”. Why is it so stressful? What is the true reason that you are stressed? This is to help you get to the root issue of the problem.

Our tendency is to get stressed about situations we have no control over. By reflecting, you can focus on your primary role in each situation. You can work backwards and create a stress action plan for you to accomplish those tasks.

Stress Relief Breathing Exercises

Breathing exercises can be performed with ease and comfort. Not only do they relieve stress, deep breathing can be done anywhere and any time. This is why this meditation technique is used by a lot of people. You can do it standing in the elevator, train or office.

The technique:

  1. Sit or stand in a comfortable position.
  2. Inhale very slowly. Fill up your lungs.
  3. Hold your breath for 5 seconds.
  4. Exhale slowly through your mouth
  5. Rinse and repeat, as many times you want.

As you breathe slowly your blood pressure will decrease and so will the level of stress in your mind.

Guided Visual Meditation

Visual meditation is not accepted by some because they believe the visualizations actually take away from the meditation itself. The visualization is a “distraction”. In my experience, I have found visual meditation to be a great stress reliever and help’s me manage stress during days.

Visualization meditation deals with focusing on any object for an extended period of time. This object could be the tip of your nose or a the scent of a candle. The focus is the object itself.

The visualization will shift your mental focus away from the stressful situation and towards another object. This will help you reduce stress and relax.

The Technique:

  1. Sit or stand in a comfortable position.
  2. Find an item to focus on. I like to light a candle in my room.
  3. Inhale into your belly through your nose.
  4. Hold your breath for 5 seconds.
  5. Focus your eyes on the object. Imagine you are the object. In my case, I would try to feel the heat and movement of the flame.
  6. Exhale slowly through your mouth.

Do this for as long you feel comfortable. I have practiced this enough where I can stand in a bus and focus on any object to bring myself some peace of mind. It takes a lot of practice but you can get there. Take your time and find that place of relaxation.

Got any meditation techniques that can help fight stress?

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