Three quarters of Americans list workplace stress as one of the major sources of stress in their lives. According to the American Institute of Stress, “Numerous studies show that job stress is far and away the major source of stress for American adults and that it has escalated progressively over the past few decades.”
Some simple steps can help you get through your day feeling lighter and happier. Here are my picks:
Close email accounts that you don’t use often. Ever since I moved all of my email accounts into one location, and labeled them clearly, I feel less stressed. Keep your desk free of clutter, too: according to studies, visual clutter sends out disturbing stimuli, causing frustration and diminished productivity.
How often do you check your Facebook and email during the day? Resist the urge to go there every few minutes, and you will free up time for so many other things. Also, update your Facebook or email status less often, or you will be tempted to keep checking for “likes” and “comments.” Not receiving any or many can place additional stress on the mind — and heart.
Follow up on discussions and decisions soon after your meetings. Similarly, try to answer emails as soon as you receive them—piled-up mails add to stress. According to a new study from UC Irvine and U.S. Army researchers, taking a break from email can lower stress at the workplace.
Stop racing against time all the time. If a deadline seems impossible, it probably is. Go ahead and ask for an extension. Better still, commit to work only when you know you will be able to complete it in a given time frame.
When you feel overwhelmed, move to a quiet spot and breathe. Just breathe, letting yourself feel the air enter and exit your lungs for at least a couple of minutes. Deep breathing slows down heart rate, reduces blood pressure, and tells the brain to relax. That is why, it is widely recommended as one of the most effective ways to relieve stress.