High-Stress Work Environment? Here Are 6 Ways to Stay Cool, Calm and Effective

Image: Fæ
Image: Fæ

No matter how much you love your job (and we all do, right?) everyone has taxing moments at work. You know, those days when you're on a deadline, your email unexpectedly stops working and you drop your iPhone into a bowl of soup by accident. Those days.

Since yelling at an innocent bystander or crawling under your desk are unprofessional, and you never want to appear that way, it's crucial to develop some relaxation rituals that are fast, effective and discreet. For example, when we get overwhelmed, one thing we can do is a practice called Sama Vritti or "Equal Breathing"). Inhale for four counts through the nose and exhale for a count of four, trying to repeat the cycle around 10 times. It's an easy way to not only bring your heart rate down, but also to create a small moment in a hectic day that's just for you. Others meditate at lunch. It's amazingly effective in creating a positive perspective.

With that in mind, we did some informal research on de-stressing techniques, and came up with this handy list:

Take a walk
Even if you only have time to a stroll around the block, this forces you to leave your desk and get some fresh air. Plus, even minimal exercise releases endorphins, the chemicals in your brain that make you feel good.

Find a green space
Even if you're office is in a corporate park, there has to be a patch of grass or some trees nearby. Our New York offices are right near South Street Seaport, and watching boats float down the East River is a great way to remind ourselves that first, the world does not revolve around us and, secondly, life will go on.

Yes, I know it can be difficult when you're right in the middle of a huge project and eight people are calling you at the same time, but try and crack a smile. Researchers from the University of Kansas found that even faking a smile improves your mood. If you can, take a minute to check out a funny Mashable slideshow or Buzzfeed list and laugh a little.

Do one thing
If you are experiencing heart palpitations about the 15 urgent things that need to be handled by noon, just pick one and get to it. Sometimes the fear of the workload is worse than the workload itself. On the other hand we are not working in life-or-death scenarios in the way that first-responders or those in other professions do. If you can't get everything finished, everyone will be okay.

Follow Lucia Davis: @LKCDavis.

  • Olivia

    Your title claims 6 ways, your URL says 5-ways, but your article only gives 4 ways to calm down

    • Lucia Davis

      Hi Olivia,

      There are two ways given in the second paragraph (equal breathing and meditating at lunch) and then we provide four additional suggestions. The original URL reads five because the meditation tip was added in a post-publication edit.

      Hope this clears things up!