Do you believe in the butterfly effect? Can an event as small as a butterfly flapping its wings really cause chaos down the line?
In a sense, I do. I know that in order for a person to change their life they need to take the first small step.
Stress from work is a huge issue for many people. Dealing with stress from work can be tricky because it goes hand in hand with not having extra time.
The stress also makes it easy to get caught in a certain way of thinking that makes it difficult to see solutions.
There are effective ways to deal with stress that don’t take up much time.
In this article, I am going to show you how to reduce stress from work with exercise, deep breathing, and examining your thoughts. These short exercises could be the first step towards finding a radical peace and happiness in your life.
Before we continue, I would like to emphasize that this article is for informational purposes only. I am not a health professional. Consult a health professional before trying any of the exercises. Read my full medical disclaimer here.
A Workout For When You Are On The Go
- One great way to combat the stress at work is to exercise, especially if you are sitting all day.
If you are stressed, the body tends to naturally take a more hunched and tense posture.
This can cause you to become even more stressed and tense, especially if you tend to keep the tension in your muscles even when you return home.
This can lead to a range of issues. You won’t be able to breathe as deeply or effectively if you are constantly tense.
If you never truly relax, you may be able to sleep but it won’t be effective. Also, you may begin to experience actual physical pain.
It can be difficult to fit an exercise into your routine if you lack work-life balance or if you haven’t exercised in a while, but even ten minutes a day can be beneficial. When you are tense and stressed your body goes into the fight or flight response meaning that it is gearing up to do something physically. Exercise is great for releasing all of that nervous energy.
Make sure that you get cleared by a doctor before starting any new exercise programs. Even though exercise can be highly beneficial, they can still come with a certain level of risk. It is important to get a professional opinion before starting.
Cardio seems to be the number one exercise for releasing stress because it is fantastic at burning nervous energy, but I believe that people should do the exercise that feels best for them. My personal favorite form of cardio is swimming, but it can be very time-consuming.
Weightlifting has several physical benefits such as improving the muscles and reducing the risk of osteoporosis. These exercises can be effective without being time-consuming and have been shown to help people who have depression.
Yoga and pilates also provide a great workout and it is very easy to do these exercises at home or even at work. Yoga and pilates videos are fairly easy to find on youtube.
I’m including a 10-minute yoga routine that you can do at work down below. Lastly, group sports are a great way to get some exercise in, especially if challenges or socialization tend to keep you motivated.
Remember, if you are just getting started in an exercise routine, find something that you really enjoy.
Even if you get just a little bit of exercise in a day, it can still be incredibly beneficial.
Please remember that all exercises come with some level of risk. Consult your doctor before trying any exercise program. Read my full medical disclaimer here.
Relaxation For Busy People
- Learning relaxation techniques can also help you overcome the stress at work. Believe it or not, relaxation takes practice and it can take time to see the full benefits. It is fairly easy to turn it into a habit if you practice it daily.
There are so many ways that you can practice relaxation. You can do a progressive muscle relaxation, where you tense the muscle and then relax it, meditation, visualization and many more.
If you are exploring different ways to relax, you may find that you enjoy some ways more than others. I personally really enjoy deep breathing but have more trouble with visualizing peaceful scenes simply because I am not very visual.
When you are trying out different relaxation methods, you should give different things a try and you should also pay attention to what you are responding most to.
In my post about relaxing the mind before bed, I included a recording with a progressive muscle relaxation. This an excellent practice for getting into a state of deep relaxation. It takes about 20 minutes, so if you have the time, I highly encourage you to check it out.
I am including a simple deep breathing exercise in this post that can get you into a relaxed state fairly quickly. It only takes about 5 minutes but is so beneficial when dealing with stress and anxiety. Make sure that you are sitting down when you are doing this exercise. Do not attempt this while driving.
Here is a quick deep breathing exercise that you can do today.
- Lie on your back
- Place one hand on your chest and one hand on your belly
- Take a deep breath and try to make only the hand on your belly go up
- Exhale all the air out completely
- Repeat steps 3 and 4
You should do about 10 cycles on this breathing. It is good to count down from 10 to 1. When you are doing this exercise, it is important that you do not pause between inhaling and exhaling.
The transition between these should be smooth. Also, you may not want to stand up right away because it is possible for this exercise to make you feel lightheaded.
A Simple Thinking Analysis For Anxious Minds
One last thing that you can do to reduce stress is look at the way you interpret different situations.
Usually, the things that happen to us are not inherently bad or good and we have no idea how it will affect us in the long run. Something may happen at work that seems horrible to you but not so bad to other people.
I have definitely done this at work. Once, when I was quite young, I was working at a job where my boss was highly concerned about saving paper. I had only been working there for a few weeks and wanted to make a good impression.
One day, I was in a hurry and made a copy and quickly left. When I came back the printer was still making copies of the paper. Worse yet, I could not get it to stop.
When I showed my boss he just kind of laughed and said that everyone had been having problems with the printer. When I was in that situation, I not only assumed that I had to be perfect but that my boss was an unreasonable person.
When we look at how we interpret situations we can see that things are not as straightforward as they initially seem.
In order to challenge how you perceive stressful situations, think of 5 situations that you found deeply stressful. Write down your knee-jerk reaction and then think of an alternative explanation.
With the example above, the situation would be that I printed more copies than I thought. My automatic reaction was that my boss would view me as incompetent. The actual situation was that the printer was broken and the boss knew about it.
You don’t have to do this exercise just for yourself. When you read a book or watch TV, pay attention to what is stressing the characters out. Think about why they are stressed, then think about some other ways the character could think about the situation and then find out what actually happens.
The truth is, bad things do happen that can have a negative effect on our lives, but they usually are not as catastrophic as we initially think. This exercise will help challenge your beliefs about certain situations which can greatly help reduce stress.
Small steps can lead to big changes. These simple exercises can show you how to handle work stress leading to huge positive changes.
My hope is that you begin doing some of these exercises today and commit to them and to your mental health. Don’t stop here, though.
Keep learning about different forms of stress management and also learn about assertive communication. Both of these are very important when it comes to managing stress at work.
I would love to hear comments below about something that stressed you out, what your thoughts were, and what the truth was. Also, let me know your favorite ways to reduce stress. Please share in the comment section below!