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Quick Stress-Relieving Practices to Use At Work

Survival mode, lizard brain, and fight/flight mode all refer to states of the brain and body where a human's brain is in a state that is unsustainable, rigid, and incapable of open-minded, flexible, abstract thinking. This happens when our brains perceive a threat to our safety and well-being. While running into a bear is an excellent time for this nervous system adaptation to kick in, a confrontation at work, a big meeting, or even a perceived threatening person or interaction at work will activate this stressful state. Fortunately, mindfulness, meditation, psychology, and neuroscience have all arrived at some awesome, totally doable exercises that work. Implementing anxiety and stress-relieving exercises significantly contributes to a more grounded and calm work environment. Here are some research-based techniques:

1. Mindful Breathing:

  • Research: Numerous studies suggest mindful breathing can reduce stress and anxiety by promoting relaxation and enhancing focus.

  • Exercise: Take a few minutes to focus on your breath. Inhale deeply, hold for a moment, and then exhale slowly. In other words, "SIGHHHH". Repeat this several times. This helps activate the parasympathetic nervous system, promoting relaxation.

2. Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR):

  • Research: PMR is a technique where you tense and gradually release different muscle groups. Research indicates that PMR can be effective in reducing stress and anxiety.

  • Exercise: Start with your toes and work up, tensing and then releasing each muscle group. This promotes physical relaxation and helps release tension.

3. Visualization:

  • Research: Visualization can have positive effects on stress and anxiety levels. Imagining peaceful scenes or positive outcomes can help shift your focus from stressors.

  • Easy Exercise: Close your eyes and visualize a calming place or a successful outcome. Engage your senses by picking a category like the color blue. Find five things you can see that are blue. Find four things you can hear. Find three things you can feel. Find two things you can smell and, one thing you can taste.

4. Desk Yoga:

  • Research: Incorporating yoga into your work routine has been shown to reduce stress and improve overall well-being.

  • Exercise: Perform simple desk yoga stretches, such as neck rolls, shoulder stretches, and seated spinal twists.

  • Another Exercise: half and full salmander These movements can alleviate physical tension by activating the vagus nervexercise is half and full salmander.

  • Research: Expressing gratitude has been linked to improved mental well-being and reduced stress.

  • Exercise: Keep a gratitude journal at your desk and jot down three things you're thankful for every day. This can shift your focus towards positive aspects of your work and life.

6. Digital Detox Breaks:

  • Research: Taking breaks from digital devices can help reduce stress and improve overall mental health.

  • Exercise: Set specific times during the day for digital detox breaks. Use this time to step away from screens, stretch, or engage in a non-digital activity.

7. Social Connection Breaks:

  • Research: Socializing, even briefly, can have positive effects on mood and stress levels.

  • Exercise: Take short breaks to connect with colleagues. Share a brief conversation or take a walk together. Positive social interactions can enhance well-being.

Remember to choose exercises that resonate with you, and consider incorporating a combination of these practices for a more comprehensive approach to stress relief at work. Additionally, it's essential to create a supportive workplace culture that encourages employees to prioritize their well-being.

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