10 Weird Ways to Destroy Stress at Work

by | October 28, 2013 at 12:07 PM | Health

(iStockphoto)

By Karsten Strauss, Forbes.com

Stress can bring you down whenever it arises and for many it strikes most viciously while at work.  Self-help manuals, guru-driven philosophies and medical minds have all addressed the issue of dealing with anxiety. Here are some of the more unique suggestions that people have come up with:

Self-Hypnosis
The mind is a powerful thing and though it can cause you to fall into a paralyzing pit of worry, it can also throw you a lifeline. By finding a quiet space and working yourself into a state of calm, you can prepare yourself to be emotionally lifted by repeating affirmations to yourself. Give it a shot. You may be more convincing than you think.

Just Beat It
When you get active and engage in some vigorous movement, you benefit in several different ways: oxygen enriches the bloodstream, the heart gets a workout, stress hormones are reduced and endorphins are released. Those endorphins can “lead to a feeling of euphoria, modulation of appetite, the release of different sex hormones and an enhancement of immune response. This helps combat the negative effects of stress,” according to the UK-based Stress Management Society. So why not choose boxing? The primal pummeling motion, the satisfying thud of a well placed punch and the spreading of lactic acid through muscle tissue all combine for a very satisfying and anxiety-destroying experience.

RELATED: 9 Ways To Create A Stress-Free Work Environment

Lose The Shoes
Taking off your shoes and eliminating a layer between your soles and the floor could be a fun and easy way to relax in the office. Affecting the rest of the mind and body through foot manipulation is a long-held practice in some eastern healthcare philosophies. Finnish gaming company, Supercell, insists upon its employees removing their footwear upon entering the office. Even without shoes they’re making over $2.5 million per day.

Breathe Funny
In those moments that worry gets the better of you, try breathing in deeply – holding the air in for four seconds – and releasing. Repeat several times until you feel a greater sense of calm. Another technique is breathing while holding one nostril closed. Best not to do this in a meeting or a competence evaluation, though, or folks will just think you’re weird.

Bonsai!
A lot of professional urban dwellers don’t have enough experience in the garden to feel confident caring for vegetation, but taking care of a tiny tree on one’s desk doesn’t have to be a hassle. In fact, adhering to a list of directions in growing and pruning a bonsai tree can be quite relaxing for some. Plus, it adds a unique bit of decoration to any workspace.

Shiatsu For One
A firm shoulder and neck massage can really rub away the stress. But what if you’re alone and confined to a cubical or a small office, or a toll booth on a busy highway? The answer may be an investment in a do-it-yourself shiatsu massager. These tools are available from various brands and many online and brick and mortar retailers. Go do some research and you may find one you think can relax you. (Author does not endorse any brand or model of massager, and neither does FORBES).

RELATED: 10 Ways To De-Stress On a Business Trip

Laugh
After penicillin, laughter truly is the best medicine and allowing your humor to spill forth at work can do a world of good toward keeping anxiety at bay. According to the Mayo Clinic , laughing increases oxygen intake, stimulates heart, lungs and muscles; releases endorphins; and stimulates circulation. That’s good stuff. Go get some of that. If you need to take a few minutes during the work day to read a funny limerick or view an online video of a kitten attacking a turtle, go ahead—the long term results are to your benefit.

Cry
Yes, that’s right, cry. We’re told, or led to believe, that tears are a sign of weakness and instability, but in fact a good cry can be refreshing, if not all that separates you from a total emotional meltdown. Stress and grief-produced tears remove toxins, reduce anxiety and even kill bacteria. The next time you’re staring down a truckload of oncoming emotional turmoil in the workplace, retreat to the lavatory and have a good cry. Better yet, invite coworkers to join you. Crying can elevate the level of intimacy and community among people. Make your tears work for you.

RELATED: The Most Ridiculous Excuses For Calling In Sick, 2013

Scream
It’s more than likely you came into this world screaming, so why should it be odd to do it on the roof of your office building during lunch break? Often, when deeply affected by anxiety or fear, our first inclination is to make some kind of noise. Why fight it? You may feel a lot better after you’ve shouted out what’s bothering you. A quick online search of the relaxing effects of screaming yielded a product that allows you to bellow as loud as you wish without bothering those around you. It’s appropriately called the Anti-Stress Screaming Kettle.

Be Friendly To Your Boss
You don’t have to be fishing pals but a strong relationship with your boss or supervisors can alleviate a lot of tension in your daily work routine. Those above you should not make you feel fear or uncertainty and open, honest dialogue about expectations, goals and strategy is the first step on the path to mutual trust. When it comes to frustrations and anger, it does no good to blow up at your boss or drop an upper-decker in the executive washroom. Rather, seek constructive and even-keeled ways to express your concerns. You’ll breathe easier in the long run.

Follow me on Twitter @KarstenStrauss

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.