The workday can bring with it numerous stressors of all shapes and sizes. Take breaks throughout the day to de-stress yourself with these fast and effective one-minute activities and tips.
8 Tips to De-Stress at Work
#1 Mindful Email Meditation
In 2015, the number of emails sent and received per day total over 205 billion. Email is one of the biggest modern stressors, so before writing an important work-related message, take a minute to visualize and meditate on it. Check out the email meditation practice from Dr. Lillian Cheung and Zen master Thich Naht Hahn here.
#2 Meditative Body Scan
Sit or lie down in a comfortable position and mindfully scan your body from head to toe. Recognize and release areas of tension as you work your way up to the top of your head. If you feel you need longer for your body scan, take a 10-minute break to work on this exercise.
Laughter soothes tension, relieves stress response and stimulates a number of organs. Not only will laughing enhance your oxygen-rich air intake and increase the amount of endorphins your brain releases, it will also stimulate your heart, lungs and muscles. Find coworkers or a viral video to put a smile on your face.
#4 Practice Deep Breathing
Over four decades ago, Dr. Herbert Benson of Harvard University found that deep breathing-focused meditation exercises yielded a host of benefits. Find a quiet spot to focus on your breathing so you can alter your body’s stress responses and activate your “relaxation response.” Let go of distracting or stressful thoughts to reset both your mind and body.
#5 Nature Sounds
The sounds of the natural world can help restore us cognitively and bring us peace of mind amidst a chaotic workday. This can relieve stress quickly, within merely five to seven minutes of the start of your listening session. Add some calming nature sounds to your work playlist for guaranteed and immediate relief.
#6 Essential Oils
Not only do essential oils smell amazing, they also soothe sunburns, achy muscles, anxiety and a cornucopia of other functions and applications. Here are five aromatherapy oils everyone should keep on hand at their desk:
- Lavender Oil: Lavender oils have a wonderful calming effect and can also be used as an antiseptic/pain reliever.
- Eucalyptus Oil: Eucalyptus is a natural antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antiviral. Keep this on hand for those workdays when you can’t seem to keep the sniffles and sneezes at bay. It can also be applied in dental and skin care as well as helping squash mental exhaustion.
- Peppermint Oil: Peppermint oil is not only wonderful for honing your mental sharpness, but also helps with congestion, headaches, digestive problems and achy or tender muscles.
- Tea Tree Oil: Tea tree oil is popular for its soothing and astringent properties. It works great in shampoo as well as in diminishing scars.
- Lemon Oil: The fresh and zesty scent of lemon helps squander any bad vibes or moods, and lemon oil is also a great antiseptic and antifungal. Keep some lemon oil on hand for instant inspiration at work.
#7 Quick Massage
Start by placing your thumb on your cheekbones and apply pressure to your temples to ease tension. Move in a very small circular motion until you work your way back to your hairline. Meet your thumbs in the middle of your forehead and massage the entire top of your head; including your forehead and scalp. Also, consider massaging tense muscles in the neck and shoulders, an area also known as the “stress triangle.” Stop what you are doing and practice a mindful massage, giving your full attention to areas where tension needs to be released.
#8 Dancing and Music
Dancing released endorphins and was also found to increase overall life satisfaction according to a 2008 study conducted by the American Journal of Health Education. Put your headphones in, step away from the computer, and let the free, stretching motion of your moves kill any tension and lift your spirits.
Music in and of itself is also famously celebrated as an effective and enjoyable stress reliever. According to the University of Nevada, these are the three types of music that best relieve stress:
- Native American
- Indian stringed-instruments, drums, and flutes
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