You have a critical presentation to give in about 15 minutes, and you find your heart racing and your blood pressure increase as you break in to a nervous sweat. Whether you’re a client servicing executive, a board member at an MNC, or part of an creative team getting ready for a pitch, workplace stress is something you consider as ‘part of the job’. Because no matter what line of work you’re in, on most days it feels like everything is on the line, and stress is the accelerant that keeps you on your toes.

Can you really ignore work related stress?

It’s true, we all find ourselves pushing a little harder at work because competition grows fiercer every single day. As a result, they are constantly under pressure to perform better. In fact,research has shown that one of the major causes of work related stress is the impact of managers and their skills to manage staff and stress in the work place.

“As a team lead, I constantly find that people welcome workplace stress, because they feel that they perform better under pressure. However, I also see what impact it has on their physical, emotional and social health, which is why I personally believe that work related stress has to be minimized in order to make people more productive”, says Divyangana Bali, a Senior Manager working at an MNC.

Eliminating Workplace Stress

The key to better work performance lies in feeling confident and happy. And while being organized and goal oriented will definitely do that for you, trying to prime your nervous system for peak performance could elevate your stress levels. So, here are 5 tips that will make you feel more in control and less stressed out at work.

  • Personalize your work space- Experts suggest that personalizing your work station creates a ‘safe and secure’ zone for you at work. Whether you want to add family photos, or create a collage of places you want to visit, having a space where you feel more at home will reset your nervous system even in a tense situation and have a calming effect.
  • Try desk yoga – We all know Yoga is good for stress relief, and desk yoga is fast picking up as a great way to beat stress at work, without having to move from your seat at all! What makes desk yoga great is that it relives the pressure that builds up in the spine, shoulders and neck region and also stretches out the muscles around the lungs for enhanced breathing. As a result, you have improved blood circulation that will alleviate stress and boost productivity by improving focus and concentration both.
  • Keep a squeeze ball handy – Have a meeting in a few minutes and you’re nervous? A squeeze ball comes in handy. As you squeeze – tensing the muscles in your palm and let go, your heart rate drops down. It lets you focus all that pent up energy in controlling basic motor movements rather than worrying, which is why it is great as a last minute resort to fight stress induced nervousness.
  • Eat healthier – Some foods have been associated with lowering levels of stress. Any stressful event at work results in increased levels of Cortisol, which increases craving for sweets and carbs. In reality, eating junk food only worsens the situation. Healthy fruits and vegetables like asparagus, avocados and berries, along with nuts and dark chocolate (only in moderation) can help alleviate stress. A cup of soothing and calming chamomile tea works great too.
  • Learn to breathe the right way – Most of us do not know how to breathe right. Believe it or not, deep abdominal breathing inhibits the functioning of adrenaline, which is the trigger pulling on that ‘fight or flight’ switch in your head. Make sure that you take deep breaths – picture your lungs expanding and your stomach rising. The impact a few minutes of deep breathing will have on your performance will be worth it.

It always helps to always remember that tomorrow is another day and jeopardizing your health because you feel like the weight of the world lies on your shoulders isn’t the smartest move to make. Relax – your job may be a HUGE part of your life, but it isn’t ALL there is to life now, is it?

Read Next: Working at a stretch? Stretch at work.

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