Stress Relief for the Office In Five Minutes or Less


I'm in a major transition period of life right now and along with that has come a ton of stress. I'm still figuring out the answers to the many questions whirling around in my head on a regular basis. Then add on the meetings, the last minute deadlines from executives, and family happenings and you have the perfect storm for unnerving anxiety.

Many times when anxiety hits, I'm sitting at my cubicle in the office so breaking out to do yoga would be a bit distracting and maybe inappropriate (unless you're lucky enough to work somewhere like Google). That's why I put together this office-friendly stress relief list that can help relieve some of the pressure and allow you to make until the end of the day without freaking out.

1. Write down everything that's bothering you.

You most likely don't want to broadcast the office that you're on the verge of a mental breakdown, so writing could be the perfect outlet for what you're feeling. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, "keeping a journal can help you gain control of your emotions and improve your mental health". Many times anxiety is the result of holding things in. Write down everything that could happen in your mind, but also write down the alternative. This will help you to get perspective and see several possibilities as opposed to the dreadful perspective you've taken.

2. Deep breathing while listening to a Youtube meditation video.

Breathing is by far one of the most covert manners to relieve pent-up stress. If headphones are allowed, turn up the volume and turn on a Youtube meditation video for a full experience. "When you breathe deeply, it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax", according to the University of Michigan Health System. My favorite breathing method is to breathe in and out for three seconds each and continue increasing the number as high as it can go. At a minimum, I can say I feel more adept to handle whatever problems I may be facing. 3. Drink a cup of green tea

In my line of work, you tend to be in a room full of intelligent people on a regular basis with great ideas which result in some difference of opinion and many times, feeling personally attacked when your idea isn't the one being implemented. I noticed that I tended to like a cup of green tea during times like these because it had a calming effect on me. Imagine my surprise when after a little research I discovered that "theanine, the main amino acid in tea leaves, has significant anti-stress effects in animals and humans." I recommend keeping a mug and a box of green tea at your desk in moments where you need to become more logical than emotional to deal with the workday.

4. Laugh at something

Nothing helps me relieve stress like stomach-grabbing, barely breathing laughter. They say laughter is good for the soul, but several studies have confirmed the stress relieving abilities of a good laugh. Many of my favorite comedians on Instagram and some celebrities like Will Smith are the people I turn to if I'm looking for a good laugh. Have a few profile notifications turned on that you know will get you into a good mood. It also doesn't hurt to have a few comedic friends, bonus if they've got hilarious videos of their kids. 5. Turn up the temperature

If your anxiety starts to impact you physically in the form of tension headaches and neck pain, it's time to see a professional. In the meantime, like between now and your first appointment with your new therapist *hint hint*, you can use a heating pad to relieve some of the physical tension. Heat helps relax the muscles in your neck and shoulders, thus providing immediate relief. Several stores sell adhesive patches that you can slip under your shirt for more discrete pain relief.

It's time to get serious about maintaining a relatively stress-free state since that's when you're in the best mind state to work anyways. Be sure to bookmark this page since anxiety doesn't necessarily wait until you're prepared to pop up in your life. With these five-minute, incognito exercises you can go from chaos to calm in a matter of moments.

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