7 steps to reduce work stress instantly

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

You experienced that sudden burst of stress, didn't you?

Ever went to work feeling fine then all of sudden and without any warnings few things happened that made you very stressed?

I am pretty sure this happened to you before. I am also pretty sure you noticed how your whole day changed as a result of those stressful moments. 10 minutes of stress can keep your brain overloaded for hours if not for the rest of the day if the proper actions weren't taken.

In my previous article 5 ways to deal with stress i explained how stress happens when the brain gets over loaded. To understand work stress perfectly you just need to compare your brain to a big computer that has a certain processing capacity.

If for any reason that computer was overloaded then stress will happen. Now sometimes we fail to prevent our brains from being overloaded and so we find ourselves stressed. In this post i will tell you how to instantly reduce the load on your brain to help it return back to normal fast.

7 steps to reduce work stress instantly

  • 1) Wash your Face: The idea of washing your face to reduce stress is based on many psychological facts. To wash your face you will have to leave your desk, a step that sends a signal to your brain to calm down a bit, in addition to that you will have to walk to the nearest bathroom. Walking and physical activity in general can reduce stress. Finally water can distract your brain a bit from the stressful thoughts and make you feel a bit calmer
  • 2) Dump your memory: When a computer memory is overloaded the additional inputs have to be written to a special file not to overload the memory. The same exactly should be done to your brain. Open an empty text file and keep it open. Write down any task that comes to your mind. When you dump the tasks into a note your brain frees some of its memory for you to think about your current task. (See also The anatomy of stress)
  • 3) Prioritize the tasks: After writing down the tasks you have to do you should prioritize them. By doing so you will be able to find out which tasks are urgent and which ones can be delayed instead of overloading your brain with all of them at once.
  • 4) Shift to short and easy tasks: A part of work stress comes from loss of confidence. In the Solid Self confidence program i said that when a person fails to deal with challenging tasks he can easily get stressed. When you work on an easy task and complete it your confidence can slowly return back and so stress can get reduced. In addition staying stuck with a complex time consuming task will result in more stress especially if you are stuck in time
  • 5) Isolate yourself if possible: When we become stressed any external input such as noise can increase our stress levels. If you can isolate yourself as soon as you become stressed you will allow your mind to calm a bit more
  • 6) Never multitask: Contrary to common beliefs our brains weren't designed for multitasking. If you attempted to do two different things simultaneously while feeling stressed then your chance of feeling worse will become much higher.
  • 7) Don't leave an uncomplicated task behind: If you didn't complete a task to the end then your brain will keep worrying about it even after you start working on the next ones. Make sure you finish each task completely before you move on to the next one (see also The Zeigarnik effect)

Stress Prevention is even better

Prevention is always better than cure. If you followed the above steps before getting stressed then you will reduce your chance of getting stressed.

Many of the habits we do everyday , such as multitasking, promote stress and this is why many of us get stressed each workday. The best way to deal with stress is to change your habits to prevent it from happening.

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