Stress…..It’s a major problem everywhere and it can take a heavy toll on our health, relationships and work. The Global Organization for Stress collates facts and figures about stress from around the world. Here are just a few:
- 80% of workers feel stress on the job and nearly half say they need help in learning how to manage stress. And 42% say their co-workers need such help (source: the American Institute of Stress)
- 75% of adults reported experiencing moderate to high levels of stress in the past month and nearly half reported that their stress has increased in the past year (source: the American Psychological Association)
- Stress levels in the workplace are rising, with 6 in 10 workers in major global economies experiencing increased workplace stress. With China (86%) having the highest rise in workplace stress (source: The Regus Group)
Scary, huh? But there are many ways to combat stress, and some of them are simple and easily within your reach. Here are 7 stress-busting tips to help you calm down fast.
Need to let off steam? Take a walk. Outside the office if possible. A stroll around the block will clear your head and keep whatever’s stressing you at bay. Can’t leave the office? Visit colleagues on another floor. Take the stairs all the way up and all the way down again. Walking is good for your brain and your body.
We all know laughing improves our mood, but it’s a better stress cure than you may realize. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and helps us relax, all of which reduce the physical symptoms of stress. A great laugh-inducer is to listen to a few of your favorite comedy routines on your iPod when you’re feeling frazzled.
Hunger and thirst, even before you’re aware of them, can provoke aggressiveness and exacerbate feelings of anxiety and stress. If your blood sugar level is low, eating or drinking can turn your bad mood around in minutes.
Call a friend. We all have someone whose voice alone perks us up. Ring them up to chat, even for just a few minutes. You don’t even have to talk about what’s stressing you. Most likely, they’ll just say “Hey, what’s up? When are we going to have lunch? I miss your face!” And you’ll end up smiling and feeling calmer. It’s what friends are for!
Ever hear someone to tell you to just “take deep breaths” when you’re stressed? They’re right. It really does work. By focusing your attention on your breath, you can turn it away from all that stuff that’s stressing you out. Before letting the next stressful occurrence get to you, remember: breathe.
Exercising is one of our greatest natural stress-busters. It increases endorphins and can naturally switch a mood from bad to good in a matter of a few minutes. Endorphins are associated with feelings of happiness. When you’re working up a sweat, you’ll be too busy to worry about what’s stressing you out.
…A reward for yourself once you get through your stressful moment – or day – or even week: A cold beer, dinner with friends, a TV binge and a giant pepperoni pizza. Or something even more special: a weekend getaway. A vacation you’ve been promising yourself. Not only will your plan take your mind off things, but you’ll spend time eagerly anticipating a pleasant evening or great getaway later rather than concentrating on whatever’s got you stressing. It’s a win-win situation!