written by the home doctor team

Most of us will experience some kind of stress at the office on a daily basis and not just when everything’s going wrong. Even if we’re killing it at work, we’re still experiencing a form of stress that can affect our bodies.

In fact, good stress even has a name: it’s called “eustress”. Researchers describe it as “a positive form of stress having a beneficial effect on health, motivation, performance, and emotional well-being”.

So whether or not you’re loving or hating the work day there’ll be an element of stress involved but there are ways to help manage or reduce the impact it has on our bodies.

House Call Doctor has written about stress previously and how it can affect our overall well-being. This time we’ve looked at how to better manage our stress levels in the moment, rather than leaving it until the end of the day or the weekend.

1. Take a deep breath

Yes, it’s obvious, but effective. If you start to feeling like your day is getting out of control, pause, and take a deep breath or 10. It’ll only take a minute and you should notice the difference fairly immediately, even when things are manic.

Psychologist, Doctor Sharon Melnick, told Forbes Magazine “everyone feels overwhelmed and overly busy”.

“If you’re feeling overwhelmed or are coming out of a tense meeting and need to clear your head, a few minutes of deep breathing will restore balance,” she said.

“Simply inhale for five seconds, hold and exhale in equal counts through the nose.

“It’s like getting the calm and focus of a 90-minute yoga class in three minutes or less at your desk.”

2. Let go of what you can’t control

Dr Melnick says we should “act, rather than react”. Instead of riding the whirlwind, make a conscious effort to not worry about anything that’s out of your hands and looks for aspects of situations you can control.

“We experience stress when we feel that situations are out of our control,” Dr Melnick said.

“It activates the stress hormone and, if chronic, wears down confidence, concentration and well-being.

“Typically, you’re in control of your actions and responses, but not in control of macro forces or someone else’s tone, for example.

“Be impeccable for your 50 per cent and try to let go of the rest.”

This, of course, will take some practice.

3. Don’t let yourself be interrupted as much

OK, this is probably impossible, but we can only try. As Dr Melnick says “most of us are bombarded during the day”.

“Phone calls, pop ins, instant messages and sudden, urgent deadlines conspire to make today’s workers more distracted than ever.

“While you may not have control over the interrupters, you can control your response,” she said.

If you don’t have the time to talk to someone just be honest and tell them you can’t talk right away but will find them as soon as you have a free moment. Then they’ve been given recognition and you don’t lose momentum, everyone wins. This approach is also much nicer than saying what you really want to: “go away!”

“You can also train those around you by answering emails during certain windows, setting up office hours to talk in person or closing the door when you need to focus,” Dr Melnick said.

Head phones are an effective “I’m in the zone, leave me alone” tactic too.