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10 Things You Can Do to Decrease Your Stress at the Office

The world we live on is nothing but a mound of chaotic pressure that is building to the point until it bursts like a volcano. We are bombarded with pressure from our employers, our customers and families to the point where some people actually do break. Most of us today in our professional lives spend between 8 and 16 hours a day at the office, which equates to almost two-thirds of our lives being in a place we really do not want to be in. However, there are things you can do to decrease the stress in your office.

What we call stress is really what we put on ourselves. While other people can influence the way we feel, ultimately we are the ones who choose whether we are going to be stressed or not. You are in control of how you are going to feel, no one else. Stress as such is going on in our heads, so the real secret to de-stressing is to find things that will make you happy and content within.

#1. Have a Photo of the Happiest Time in Your Life on Your Desk

Think back through your life. What is the happiest moment in your life? It could be the birth of your child, getting married, going out on a fantastic date, visiting some outstanding place, or maybe it is when you bought your puppy dog. No matter what it is, you will almost certainly have a photo of that time. Take that photo and put it on your desk to remind you of those happy times as this will be one of the tools you need to beat stress in your office.

The happiest time in my life, and where I felt like the luckiest man in the world, was the day my wife stepped out of the limousine at the church for our wedding. I had never seen my wife look so beautiful, and I made sure when I felt those feelings that I would remember them forever. So on my desk at work, I have a picture of my wife getting out of the limousine. Each time I feel stressed I simply take a few moments to look at that picture and remember that moment in time. You brain is an amazing part of your body. No matter how many times I look at that photo, my brain releases the same feelings I had on that day and helps me snap out of feeling stressed.

Use the happy times to control the times when you feel the most vulnerable and stressed.

#2. Think Of Your Boss Yelling at You Naked

Everyone has nightmare stories of their bosses being a grouch, and I certainly have had my fair share, but most people who talk of being excessively stressed often relate that stress to a boss who is abusive and yells a lot. First off, if you are working in an environment where you boss is abusive, get out NOW! Nobody has to put up with that, and remember life is way too short, regardless of the money. Is money worth the extra stress and potentially dying tomorrow from a heart attack? NO!

However, if you do have a boss who yells at you a lot just for the sake of yelling, and really is quite rude, simply imagine them yelling at you naked. If someone flew into your office absolutely naked, would you take them seriously? Course not! So, why take a boss that comes in and yells at you seriously. If your boss is an effective communicator he or she would not need to yell at you.

The next time your boss comes in, force yourself to think of them absolutely naked. When you do that, you should react better and deal with the situation better when they are yelling at you. After a bit of practice you will find you are able to handle the situation much better and cope with a grouchy boss.

#3. Get Up and Do Some Office Exercises

No one on the planet can deny that doing exercise gets the blood going and burns off extra stress. However, sneaking away during the day can be really difficult. Yet there are other office exercises that can benefit you. Some examples of these types of exercises are rolling your shoulders, clenching your hands and releasing them and even neck exercises that will help release the stress.

Often, much of our built up stress is simply due to sitting at the computer all day looking at the screen. Make sure that every hour you get up and stretch for at least five minutes. You will find that if you do not do that over a period of time this will lead to aches and pains, which can help increase your stress.

To learn the best office exercises for you specifically, simply talk to your General Practitioner, or visit a Physiotherapist and they will be able to help you develop an Office Exercise plan. You will be surprised how much easier life is to cope with.

#4. Schedule Enough Time to Go From One Meeting to Another

I worked for a bank about five years ago, and I have never been a part of an organization that had so many meetings. My whole days constituted going from one meeting to another, and I learned one very important lesson. If I did not run my schedule, my meetings would. Make sure that when you schedule an appointment or a meeting that you include travel time to and from a meeting.

While working for this firm, if you did not schedule travel time, they would simply book meetings next to each other, even if the meeting was across the other side of the city. They would simply expect you to immediately appear at that other meeting.

Message to All Humans - We do not have an instant teleporter. The Stargate is a fantasy, so make sure you give yourself enough time to get from one meeting to another or you are going to get stressed out.

#5. Plan Your Day

We talked about scheduling time to get from one meeting to another in the previous point, but there is an extension to this. Make sure YOU plan your day, not your business associates. All too often I hear management say, "I did not get lunch today" or " I have been on the run and have not had a chance to stop". Come on, get a grip, you are in control and it is up to you.

The first thing you should do in every job you work in is to make sure you schedule two decent breaks a day, which include at least half an hour for lunch and a 20 minute break somewhere else in the day. If you are like most people you will be using something like Microsoft Outlook or Lotus Notes to manage your day. Both allow you to schedule unavailable time in your calendar, so do it!

By scheduling YOU time, you can ensure you have enough time to have a break, do a little meditation and relax and prepare for the rest of the day. If you are like me and work 16 hours a day, then you should also be putting into your plan a decent dinner break of at least an hour and half an hour at the gym, even if it is just using the treadmill. If you do not do this, it will catch you up to you and you will be a statistic at 40. Do not laugh. My top worker lost his life because he did not do the right thing. It can happen to you.

#6. Limit the Amount of Time Spent Dealing with Emails

Technology is a wonderful thing, but when technology rules your life, then you have a big problem. Technology, such as email can very quickly overwhelm you, causing you to become stressed. One of the rules my team and I have in the office is that nobody is allowed respond to emails for more than 60 minutes per day. The reason we have put this rule into place is that many of my team and our corporate clients spend their whole day emailing each other rather than dealing with the issues at hand.

How often have you received an email on one topic and then have the content of the email go off in another direction right before your eyes? I was working in one corporate organization as an external consultant, and very often all I would do is simply respond to emails all day long and get nothing done. Most of the emails could have been dealt with in a two second phone call. In one of the offices I worked in, we had an open plan office layout. I had a person working directly across from me who refused to speak to me or anyone else on the floor. Instead, all he did was send an email when he had an issue.

This is a crazy way to do business. It does not work and only causes technology stress. My solution? Each time he emailed me, I simply spoke the answer back to him. He got the point after a while and my email load went down when he spoke to me rather than emailed me. Technology is supposed to make life easier, not take over your life, so if you have a question and the person is sitting in the next office, get up and knock on their door and ask the question.

By doing this you are undertaking item number six, which is limiting your emails and item number three, which is to get up and do some office exercises. That little bit of walking will help get the blood flowing through your veins.

#7. Be Prepared to Say "NO!"

We all want to get ahead in the world today. I am sure in everyone there is a little part of us that wants to live the life of Bill Gates and Donald Trump and be as rich as them. However, most of us make the mistake of simply saying yes to everything that is thrown at us. While it is great to say yes, people like Bill Gates and Donald Trump have teams of people to help them. Even if you are on their teams, all of us are only human, and sometimes we simply have to say "NO!"

Where is the point in saying to our bosses, "Yes, we will have this 500 page report written for you tomorrow", when in reality there is absolutely no chance of that occurring. Sometimes in this world you simply have to say no. That does not go just for the boss, it also goes for the customers as well. My team and I have a seven day schedule across the various businesses I run. While we do not all work seven days a week, sometimes we do work six days a week to get through our responsibilities. One Sunday morning at 6:30 am, one of our customers demanded that one of my team from our car cleaning business drop everything and clean their car at 7:00 am because an important family member was coming.

There were many responses I could have given, but my simple answer was NO! The customer ranted and raved for about 10 minutes, by which time I was imagining them naked yelling at me, which really was a funny sight. When they were finished, I simply asked them if they would they be prepared to work all week, including Saturday and Sunday, for the next 2 weeks. Their reply was "No, my weekends are my own and I am not working them for anyone." I simply responding by saying to them, "There is your answer" and I hung up.The same person called me on Monday morning and apologized. We did the car cleaning service on their car the following week. I charged them more as well.

Most customers will accept the answer of no when they understand why you are saying no. Some will not. If they don't understand, you don't really need them as customers anyway.

#8. Take Your Shoes Off and Walk on the Carpet

This is my favorite de-stressing activity and it shocks the living daylights out of everyone. I first met a lady about 10 years ago who was in her early forties and nothing seemed to shake her stature. She was always calm and never got flustered. I asked her what her secret was and she said, "I always take my shoes off as often as possible so I can stay in touch with the earth". This was a really powerful statement for me, because I never really thought of my shoes as a tool to disconnect us from our surroundings, but if you think about it, it makes sense.

If you go down to the beach, what is the first thing you do? You take off your shoes to feel the sand through you feet. How does it make you feel? Relaxed. If you go to the park with the children, what do you do? Take your shoes off so you can run around and have fun or to play in the mud. Whether we realize it or not, when we disconnect ourselves from Mother Earth we really do start to stress.

I now always take my shoes off when I am working in my office, including my socks, just so I can feel something more inspirational under my feet rather than just the hard soles of my shoes. I know another corporate CEO in Brisbane, Australia who used to walk down to Anzac Square every lunch hour to walk on the grass so that he could stay in touch with the world. Hey, if it works in the movie Pretty Woman, surely it must work for others.

#9. Play Music

Listening to the right type of music is really important when you are trying to reduce stress and find your inner peace. Some music can actually heighten your stress levels. One type of music which research has shown to help reduce stress is Baroque music. This music is written so that there is only 60 beats per minute, and interestingly enough, that is what our heart rate should be. Baroque music has been found to increase the alpha waves in the left and right sides of your brain. This helps improve your learning ability, creativity and calmness.

Whilst you are working in the office on a demanding piece of work, simply play some music and listen to it as you are completing the work. Do watch the type of music you are listening to or it can back fire. Most corporate organizations are now realizing the benefit of having their staff listen to music during the day. With the internet, smart phones, and MP3 players, it is now possible to listen to music on your computer while doing your work, you may just need headphones. I work in hundreds of corporate organizations a year. Only one had a no music policy, and that was because they were a call center, which I can understand. There is no reason why you can not listen to music during your break though to ensure you a feeling calm before hitting those phones again.

#10. Meditate

While meditation has certainly been a thing of fringe groups in Western society or associated with more Eastern religions, many researchers are now coming to the distinct conclusion that meditation can make a huge difference to our day-to-day lives and help us to overcome stress.

The core advantage meditation will give each person in your office is to help them relax and deal with challenging situations more effectively. The more relaxed you are the more creative you can be in dealing with any issues that arise. I certainly recommend that when you are meditating, that you use baroque music with your meditation, as it will help increase the alpha waves which will help lead you to a calm feeling. This is especially useful if you do not have a long period to meditate. I recommend a 20 minute meditation session at least once a day, preferably two. You will be really surprised at the difference it makes to your day. Just try it out. You have nothing to lose and the rest of your life to gain.

The office environment in today's fast-paced world is far more stressful than it was a century ago, but there are things you can do about it. Remember, we only have one life, and it is not a dress rehearsal. Get out and reduce the stress your office gives you and have some fun. To finish off, let me reiterate the ten things you can do to reduce your stress at the office.

#1. Have a Photo of the Happiest Time in Your Life on Your Desk
#2. Think of Your Boss Yelling at You Naked
#3. Get Up and Do Some Office Exercises
#4. Schedule Enough Time to Go from One Meeting to Another
#5. Plan Your Day
#6. Limit the Amount of Time Spent Dealing with Emails
#7. Be Prepared to Say "NO!"
#8. Take Your Shoes Off and Walk on the Carpet
#9. Play Music
#10. Meditate