Reducing Stress, Improving Performance
Posted by Anni M.
I think working in an office is inherently stressful. We’re animals. We’re not built for constant artificial lighting, confined spaces, and sitting in one place for eight hours at a time. As our bodies lose strength, our minds do too. We work in such close proximity to other people and those people don’t always share our work ethic or work style. I am the type of person who needs absolute quiet in order to concentrate. For years I worked next to a man who listened to techno music all day long. He couldn’t work without it and he refused to wear headphones. Sometimes stress finds you and when it does you have two options: change your situation or change your own behavior to compensate.
Change Your Situation
If the proximity of a co-worker is causing problems, try requesting a change of office. If that doesn’t work, try speaking frankly with the object of your frustration. Sometimes people are oblivious to their own behavior. Take action as soon as possible to save yourself from excessive stress that may harm your health. I suffered through months of techno before I took action. I was afraid to cause an uproar by asking for a different desk (the guy sitting next to me was also very open with his feelings and I didn’t want those feelings to be about me.) Eventually, though, I simply couldn’t stand the aggravation. I approached my boss about a move and was refused—there were too many people and too few desks, I should be happy to have one at all.
Change Your Behavior
If you can’t change your situation, take the initiative to do what you can to change your inner life. After my boss refused my request, I started to think about what I could do to make my work life more tolerable. First, I tried earplugs. When they didn’t work, I tried earplugs under noise canceling headphones. That did the trick beautifully. I didn’t hear my phone ring but it was a small price to pay for my peace of mind. I also changed my expectations: I stopped expecting my co-worker to respond to my desperate pleas for silence. That expectation was causing stress all on its own.
Meditation and Exercise
People who are stressed out often don’t feel like anything can fix them. They may be very skeptical about suggested remedies like mediation or yoga. From personal experience, these things work and they work quickly. Simply taking time out of your day to care for your body and mind is healing. For me, yoga was the perfect blend of energetic exercise, rejuvenating stretching (wonderful after a week in an office chair), and quiet introspection. It helped me feel stronger in my body and in my mind. I was less bothered by everyday annoyances and felt emotionally fortified, like I was above petty frustrations. I highly recommend it.
When you are relaxed, centered, and focused, your life will improve. You will be more powerful at work because you will exude control and confidence. Sounds good, right?
As a Creative Communications Strategist, Victoria is known for her electrifying Keynote Performances™ and the transformational workshops and coaching sessions she creates for elite executives, high performing teams, thought leaders and entrepreneurs..