In our hyper-connected world, it’s easy to get caught up in stress. Just opening our calendar to see the tasks and appointments for the day can raise cortisol levels. All the possible distractions and interruptions that may occur creates the familiar feeling within your gut, your heartbeat starts to race; stress takes over.
This is common for many people, especially on Monday mornings. This was my story for years — I would stress myself out just anticipating stress. I wanted to change and knew the triggers well, allowing them to send me into a spiral. The first step was to stop the spiral and learn how to be present and pay less attention to distractions.
Mindfulness is the practice of being present and in the moment. I started learning to be mindful after a particularly rough breakdown. I was suffering from intense anxiety from my job in finances which gave way to an occasional panic attack. I talked to doctors and therapists and didn’t find relief until I learned how to meditate.
I was a bulldozer/whirlwind/lightning bolt who did not like to be still. When I found myself sitting in silence at first, I was uncomfortable and tried to control the outcome.
Slowly, I let go. Slowly, I learned to be present. Slowly, my reactions faded from thunderous panic into deep cleansing breaths.
If you find yourself resonating with this, here are 5 things to try when you feel that stewing/panic/rage/annoyance bubble up. Try these for a month and notice the changes you experience. Many of these can be done right at your desk or even before you enter work. With the intention of practicing mindfulness, you will find a new way to cope when work sends you reeling:
- Take 10 Deep Breaths: stress can cause us to hold our breath. Taking deep breaths invites calm to the present moment.
- Stop the negative thought reel: it’s easy to go off on a negative tangent which only prolongs the stress. Try to reframe or refocus on something positive.
- Write it out: give your brain the time to process the situation. Transfer thoughts to paper and take it off your mind.
- Practice gratitude: Take a moment and offer gratitude for something.
- Seek help: mindfulness and therapy are great companions.
Mindfulness can change the way we react to negative situations. As your practice becomes stronger, negative reactions become weaker. Life doesn’t have to be lived in a spiral of anxiety. May you be well and find calm.
For more information on mindfulness and dealing with stress at work, visit soulsadventures.com