Tips for relieving stress at work

No matter what your job is, there are times when you can feel overwhelmed with stress at work. Taking a few moments to beat stress can help you remain calm and think more clearly. Here are a few stress-busting tips:

* Stop and do nothing for five or ten minutes (retreat to the mens or ladies room if you need to). Sit quietly and listen to the sounds all around you. This slows heart rate and reduces blood pressure, two of the effects of stress. At the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine they say: Remember that the only thing you can control is the present moment.

* Get background music. In an Australian study, two groups were working on a presentation. Those who worked in silence had increases in blood pressure and heart rates. Those who worked to a calm musical background had steady readings and reported feeling much less stress.

* Take a happy-thought break. Think about a vacation or someone you care about for a few seconds, or up to five minutes. Repeating a positive mantra is helpful as well.

* Laugh at something. Laughter is not only one of the most effective stress busters, it also helps your immune system. Even anticipating something humorous will lower your stress level.

* Take a walk. Taking a five- or ten-minute walk has a very calming effect, much better than a cup of coffee and a roll, say psychologists at Stanford University School of Medicine.

* Practice belly breaths. For several minutes, practice slow, deep belly breaths. They make you stretch your shoulders and loosen the right muscles. Take three or four belly breaths every hour when doing stressful work.

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