About 80 percent of workers feel stress on the job, and about half say that they want to learn how to manage stress.
Unfortunately, this trend continues to rise as 75 percent of employees believe that work pressures have increased dramatically from the previous generation. While stress is uncomfortable, it also puts a strain on other aspects of an employee’s life, including personal relationships, mental health, and, in some cases, physical health.
While trends show that workplace stress is unlikely to decrease, there are plenty of tools to reduce the negative side effects of stress.
Below are the top three scientifically proven ways to better manage stress and reduce anxiety.
Focus on Your Breath
Numerous studies have shown that learning to breathe can decrease stress levels and improve cognitive abilities.
Breath awareness is also one of the most fundamental steps of meditation as it teaches you to become more aware of your thoughts.
The best way to begin breathing exercises is to sit down for five minutes in a quiet place and focus on your breathing. If negative thoughts come into your mind, simply notice the thoughts and bring your attention back to your breathing. Once you can learn to observe thoughts rather than react to them, you’ll be able to control your emotional responses to work-related stress in a healthier manner.
Another tool to reduce stress is to do gratitude journaling daily. A study by the University of California at Berkeley of nearly 300 students who experienced clinically low levels of mental health showed that those that participated in gratitude journaling and counseling were significantly less stressed than those that only received counseling.
To start gratitude journaling, write down five things that make you feel grateful. The key to making this exercise successful is to write about things for which you are genuinely appreciative. For example, if you write that you are thankful for breathing, though you don’t really feel gratitude for it, you won’t experience the rush of good emotions that come with the exercise.
Therefore, it’s also important to be specific about what you feel grateful for to make the exercise effective.
Research also shows that it’s best to journal just one to three times per week as those that journal daily typically experience decreased levels of gratitude.
While exercise may be physical, the mental benefits gained from it are significant. When your body exercises, you experience decreased levels of stress because the physical activity reduces stress hormones like adrenaline and increases the production of endorphins.
Even if you don’t have time to go to a gym, consider doing a quick pilates video on YouTube at home before you go to work. In fact, even just running for 15 minutes a day can prevent depression and more clinical anxiety.
If you experience anxiety, try these three tools to better control your responses to stress and improve your mental health. If you find that you continue to experience high-stress levels, don’t hesitate to talk to a medical professional. Quarantine and the COVID-19 pandemic have increased stress levels, and it’s important to reach out for help when you feel you need it.