7 Ways to Beat Stress At The Office

By: Eva Selhub, MD

It’s Wednesday afternoon and you are sitting at your desk at work-your jaw is clenched, your neck muscles are tight, and it feels like something you ate for lunch is not agreeing with you.
You have a meeting with your boss in 15 minutes, and you have no idea what it is about. It could be about the project you are working on, or it could be a layoff. Several people have already been let go. You can’t concentrate on anything.
Unfortunately, this type of job stress is becoming more common in today’s workplace. Either the job itself itself is the problem-deadlines, demanding bosses, long hours, poor pay-or you are worried that you might lose it.
In either case, there are things you can do to calm your mind and body. When your brain goes into stress mode, your ability to think and solve problems diminishes. As your options become less clear, you shift from just being stressed to panicking.
To avoid that sort of scenario, here are seven things you can do at your desk to manage stress at work:

Focus on an image of something that gives you the experience of awe: Imagine a sunset, picture the face of someone you love, recall watching your child walk for the first time. Hold this image for as long as you wish.
Close your eyes or gaze at your hands on your lap and inhale while you count silently to four. Take a little pause and then exhale, counting down from four. Do this at least 10 times.
Imagine the sun is shining golden light upon you, creating a glowing shield that holds you and comforts you. You can imagine the faces of people whom you love as your shield. Hold this image as long as you wish.
With any of the above exercises, you can repeat these words silently as often as you wish: “The support I need is here. I am loved and valued.”
Imagine support is coming up from the earth, in through your feet, and up through your body and arms as you rise from your chair and stretch for the sky. As you stretch, inhale and exhale deeply, repeating the phrase above.
Call or plan to meet someone who cares about you for support. Make sure you let them know that you do not want advice (unless you do)-you just want support and someone who will listen.
Think of something funny or watch something funny on the Internet. Allow yourself to laugh for several minutes. It always helps when you take life less seriously, even if only for a moment.

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