By Shelby Robinson
October 22, 2009
Regardless of the type of work we do or where we do it, our jobs can
involve quite a bit of stress. But there are ways to minimize and
manage stressful situations at work that can help us feel more calm and
relaxed. If we use work as a place to increase our self awareness,
wisdom, and inner strength we can feel happier, be more productive,
communicate better, and make better decisions. This, in turn, will
effect how we feel and behave in all areas of our lives. Here are a few
tips for reducing workplace stress:
1) Before you leave, take a quiet moment to acknowledge that you choose
to go to work today. Think about what you'll be doing on the job and
gently remind yourself that things may or may not go as planned.
2) As you get ready to go to work, be aware of the whole process-
eating, bathing, dressing, talking to people in your house, feeding your
pets, etc. Occasionally bring your awareness to your breathing and how
your body feels.
3) Say your good-byes mindfully. Slow down a bit to touch and make eye
contact with the people in your house. If no one is up yet, you could
write a short good morning note for them to read later.
4) If you walk to work or take a train or bus, notice how your body is
as you stand, walk, sit, wait, and get off. Smile a bit ( even
inwardly) and breathe as you walk into work.
If you ride a bike or drive to work, take a few moments before you
leave to bring awareness to your breathe. Leave your radio (or iPod)
off occasionally and be with yourself without distraction. When you get
to work, just sit and breathe before going in. Then walk into work
with awareness, breathing and smiling (even inwardly).
5) While you work, occasionally bring your awareness to your body.
Notice where you feel tension. Notice how you're sitting or standing.
Notice your body language. Release tension as you exhale and shift your
posture to feel more balanced and alert.
6) When you walk on the job, do it calmly. When you need to rush, be aware that this is what you're doing.
7) Use breaks to do what helps you genuinely relax. That cigarette and
cup of coffee are NOT the best way! Go outside to walk or stand for a
few minutes and do some deep breathing. Drink water and stretch. Try
our RSI Guard Stretch Break Software for regular reminders throughout the day. Close your door and sit quietly for a few minutes; notice your breath.
8) Eat a quiet lunch alone a few times a week. Spend your breaks with
people you're comfortable with; if this isn't an option, it may be
better to spend this time alone.
Get away from work for lunch; pack your own and go to a park.
9) Or eat a quick lunch and spend the rest of your lunch break
exercising. This is a great way to reduce stress, clear your mind, and
start the second part of your day recharged and refreshed. Even just
fifteen minutes can make a huge difference.
10) For at least a minute of every hour stop and focus on your breath
tune in to the present. This can be a challenge since we all get caught
up in the momentum of 'doing'. But a micro-meditation can be just the
thing to help you regroup and re-energize.
11) Rather than spacing out, use everyday events as times to tune in to
yourself- waiting for someone, the phone ringing, making a copy, etc.
12) As you communicate with people throughout your day, be aware of your
interactions. Are they comfortable or are some difficult? How could you
improve them? Could you be more sensitive to the needs and feelings of
others? Could a change in your body language or tone of voice help
facilitate communication? How might you more effectively approach those
people who are 'difficult'? Being mindful of yourself can also effect
those around you.
13) At the end of your workday, review the day's accomplishments and
decide what you want to do tomorrow. Prioritize your list; what is
really most important?
14) As you leave work at the end of the day be aware of the process and
tune in to your body. How is your breathing? What is your posture like?
Are you totally exhausted? Are you smiling or frowning?
15) If you walk home or take a train or bus, notice how your body is as
you stand, walk, sit, wait, and get off. If you are rushing, try to slow
down a bit and notice the transition between work and home.
If you ride a car or bike home, take a few moments before you leave
to bring awareness to your breathe. Then proceed home mindfully.
16) Before you walk into your home, remind yourself that you are 'coming
home'. Acknowledge this transition. Greet people in your house
mindfully and personally, rather than yelling a quick 'Hello'.
17) As soon as possible, take off your shoes. Changing out of work
clothes can help you transition more easily and consciously into 'being
Try to make five minutes to meditate or sit quietly before doing
anything else. You'll find it easier to make dinner and truly be with
These are all just tips and ideas. As you become more aware of yourself,
you'll find what works for you. We would love to hear other ideas you
may have. Please send them to us through our website Contact form.
Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D.
The Hakomi Method of body-centered, mindfulness psychotherapy- http://www.hakomiinstitute.com/
You may reprint ths entire article if you leave all links in place and do not modify the content.
2009 Ergopro.com- 888-311-0332.
*ErgoPro.com provides information and products as aids to understanding
and addressing care of the human frame, ergonomics and related ailments.
Such offerings should not be considered medical advice or substitutes
for the recommendations of an attending physician or other health care
professional, nor as specific recommendation or endorsement of any
procedure, therapy, treatment or product.