Stress has a funny way of finding you. Even if you’re someone who exercises, manages your time properly, and gets regular massages, you may find yourself feeling the pressure of day-to-day life. What’s a modern gay or gal supposed to do? In a great Daily Worth post (via the Daily Muse), Erinn Bucklan has outlined “6 Ways You’re Stressing Yourself Out (and How to Stop).” Her half-dozen suggestions range from intuitive to rather ingenious, and if you’re someone who could use a bit of stress relief, read on get ready to feel better.
1. Cut the Clutter — The brain is wired to equate clutter with chaos, so if you’ve got a desk overrun with piles of paper and cups filled with pens, you’re bound to feel overwhelmed. Take a few minutes to reorganize everything thing. Your brain will thank you later.
2. Buffer Yourself from Stressful Coworkers — Thanks (or rather no thanks) to a phenomenon known as “empathic stress,” simply being around stressed-out people will make you more anxious. If you’ve got coworkers who are always in a tizzy, buffer yourself as best you can. If you can’t change desks, angle your computer and phone in such a way that you’re no longer facing them. As a last resort, get some potted plants. Studies show that they have a calming effect.
3. Limit Your Social Media Time — Facebook and Twitter are supposed to make us feel happier and more connected with friends and loved ones. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Studies suggest that happiness decreases the more time you spend on social media — possibly because it cuts down on genuine human interaction and forces us to compare ourselves to friends. The solution: limit your usage to once or twice per day.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Share Your Anxiety — The folks who seem the calmest and most collected are often just bluffing. And according to the USC Marshall School of Business, they’re doing themselves a disservice. A new study finds that “sharing your feelings of anxiety or stress with colleagues, even superiors, who have had similar experiences can actually improve your mood and your relations with peers and bosses because they feel a connection,” as Bucklan writes.
5. Take the Occasional Break — When we’re tasked with difficult projects, we often feel as if we must keep our heads down and plow through the work. Taking five isn’t an option. But it should be, Bucklan writes. “When you embrace brief diversions after just 50 minutes of intense concentration, you’ll produce better results — and remain calm,” she writes. Get a coffee or walk around the block. Just get away from that desk.
6. You’ve Got No Privacy — Whoever invented the open-space floor plan obviously never worked in an office. Say what you will about cubicles — at least they offer some privacy. When everyone is right on top of you, it’s easy to fall victim to all the noise and feel extra stressed. The answer, Bucklan writes, might be working from home. Ask your boss if you can tackle a few shifts from your home office. Need some data to help make your case. Studies show that home workers are 13 percent more productive and 25 percent less stressed. Not bad, eh?