Work overload, important events, relational tensions, exhaustion due to mental workload… According to an Indeed study released in 2019, 66% of French employees say they are affected by stress at work. These daily anxieties can have very negative consequences on the health but also the performance of the employees who suffer them. If well-being in the company is the responsibility of the employer and if the establishment of a dialogue and tools is essential, the employee can also apply some advice to put an end to stress.
1. In case of a little stress: restore cardiac coherence
Taking the time to breathe deeply is always beneficial. Cardiac coherence is a very simple breathing exercise that consists of inhaling for five seconds through the nose, and exhaling for five seconds through the mouth, for five minutes.
This exercise can be practiced anywhere and anytime (in the car, in a queue, at the office, etc.). The beneficial effects are estimated to last four hours on average. That is why it is recommended, to obtain the maximum benefits, to practice it three times a day.
It can be done by relying on an audio or a video that guides you on the times of inspiration and expiration or intuitively, by inhaling and exhaling for a long time.
2. In case of overwork: take a mindful break
To reduce the pressure when you are at work and everything is going crazy, you can try mindfulness exercises. They allow you to cut yourself off from your automatic actions and reconnect to the present moment.
For this, we settle in a quiet place with our favorite drink and we take a moment to appreciate each sensory experience of this moment by asking ourselves a few questions: What do we see around us? What sounds do we hear? What is the weight of our clothes on our body, the texture of the glass or the cup we hold in our hands? What does the smell of the drink we are drinking evoke? Let’s take a sip and taste this drink, focusing on the aromas, the temperature of the liquid…
This exercise allows you to anchor yourself in the moment and slow down the pace of a busy day, for example. In general, taking breaks during a working day is essential to refocus on yourself between two phases of work and to remain efficient.
3. Before an important negotiation: power postures
When we feel stressed, we tend to unconsciously adopt a more closed and shy posture. At the same time, we observe that the postures we adopt could influence our self-confidence and our mood. Thus, voluntarily taking a confident and assured posture, even in a situation where we are not necessarily comfortable, would have a positive effect on our mind. Practicing a so-called “confidence” posture would have the effect of reducing cortisol levels (the stress hormone) and increasing testosterone levels (the hormone of confidence and strength). This would boost our morale and our confidence.
So before an important meeting, stand up straight, feet firmly planted in the ground, head held high and take a deep breath to gain confidence!
4. After a busy day: meditation
When you’ve spent the day working, managing priorities, concentrating, it’s not always easy to disconnect to enjoy your evening and relax. Mindfulness meditation is a great way to anchor yourself in the present moment and detach yourself from the thoughts of the day.
We take a few minutes to relax the body and the mind with a guided meditation or by oneself. The principle is simple: watch your thoughts without judgment or reflection, simply by observing them pass. We allow ourselves to let go and to detach ourselves from all reflection. We also pay attention to our whole body and our breathing. In just a few minutes of meditation, we manage to relax and reconnect to the present moment.
5. Before tackling an angry subject: explore the disaster scenario
We sometimes feel overwhelmed by our worries, especially before tackling a thorny subject. We even tend to imagine the worst. So to reason with yourself in these moments of anxiety, it can be useful to use a tool from CBT (cognitive-behavioral therapies), called the exploration of the worst-case scenario.
When this kind of situation occurs, rather than fighting these thoughts, it is better to write them down like this: What is the worst thing that could happen? Is there really a chance of this happening? If this happens, how will I cope? Is there a more likely scenario?
Sometimes just accepting our thoughts and emotions rather than fighting against them can be a big help.
This forum was written by a contributor outside the editorial staff. Les Echos START does not pay him, nor did he pay to publish this text. The choice to publish it was therefore made solely on editorial criteria.
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5 ways to end stress at work
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