Some stress is a natural part of life, but overwhelming amounts of stress are more detrimental to your physical and mental health than you may even know. Stress can have a seriously negative effect on your performance at work, in the classroom, in the bedroom and in the gym.
In regards to stress, cardiologist and certified nutrition specialist Dr. Stephen Sinatra says, "Most people, including doctors, don’t really appreciate the power of stress and what it can do to your body. I’ve seen the fallout too many times myself to have any doubts about its lethality. It is responsible, in fact, for 75 to 90 percent of all visits to primary care physicians." Stress can cause or contribute to almost any condition. Headaches, stomach pain, fatigue, immune system suppression, and a slew of other physical issues can all be traced to stress. Short temper, insomnia, isolation and depression are just a few of the serious mental side effects.
We know that work can really stress you out. According to the American Psychological Association, 65% of Americans cite work as their number one source of stress. Taking a little time during your work day to practice self care via stress reduction techniques is well well worth it.
Here are our tips to help you relieve stress while you are at work.
You may have a bunch of those foam stress balls you got for free at events laying around. Put them to good use! By tightening then relaxing your muscles you will develop more awareness of when you are getting tense and you will subconsciously be better at naturally letting go of tension. You can do this progressive muscle relaxation technique with any group of muscles. If you want more that just a stress ball, a gripper is a great way to do this as well, and it will also improve your hand strength!
Meditation is one of the best things you can reduce stress. Even a brief meditation can work wonders. Take 10 minutes to sit quietly and focus on breathing. You want to stay present and clear your mind. There is no way to meditate incorrectly, but if you want to learn more, click here for more in-depth tips. Some great free mediation apps include: Calm, Headspace, The Mindfulness App, and Insight Timer. They offer guided meditations as well as soothing background sounds.
Breathing is a big part of meditation, but it is important to be conscious of your breathing all day. While many people just think of breathing as what we do to stay alive, the way we breath can help us to stay relaxed. Deep breathing is so effective that The American Institute of Stress named it as the best stress reduction technique. When we are stressed, we unconsciously hold and shorten our breath. Deep, rhythmic breathing provides more oxygen to the brain, providing a feeling of calm.
Laughter is something that everyone needs in their life. Laughing increases endorphins (feel good chemicals) in your brain. We know work can get serious and overwhelming at times, so keep a book of jokes or cartoons handy at your job. Have a lighthearted conversation with a co-worker or watch a funny short video. You spend the majority of your waking hours at your job, so be sure you are able to get in some laughs while you are there.
To learn more about stress reduction, set up an appointment at the SCNM Medical Center by clicking here.