It is our mind, in the end, that determines the very quality of our existence.


Matthieu Ricard

From time to time everyone finds their work stressful and overwhelming. Most workplaces are supportive, however, it’s often when things have already reached breaking point. I believe we can all take some simple steps to improve our general wellbeing and ability to cope with workplace demands and stress.

Here are five practices that I have found useful in helping to reduce stress at work:

  1. Stop bullying and harassing yourself: It’s against the law for someone to do it to you, so why do it to yourself? Quiet the voice in your head (your inner critic aka the monkey mind). Be kind and compassionate, rather than being hard on yourself when things haven’t gone well. Imperfection is part of our humanity, accept it and learn from it.   
  2. You’re not a time traveller, so be in the here and now: Give yourself permission to let go of the past and stop thinking so much about the future – you have everything that you need in this very moment.   Mindfulness meditation is a great way of bringing body and mind together in the present. It can take as little as 5 minutes and it can be done sitting at your desk, or while walking. 
  3. Connect over coffee: As human-beings we thrive on feeling a sense of belonging and inclusion. We need to feel that we are a valued part of a family, a team, a work group or circle of friends. There is no substitute for interpersonal connection and all we need to do is make the time for each other.
  4. Get your sh*t together and keep it together. Write a ‘to do list’ and prioritise and timeframe what’s on it. Once you give order and substance to the nature of what you have on, it will stop swirling around in your head. If there is too much to do, speak with your manager – having a comprehensive well thought out ‘to do list’ provides the foundation for this conversation. And even when you’re not under pressure maintain the discipline of doing this. 
  5. The body isn’t a fun park, it’s a temple: Numerous studies have found that moderate exercise, such as a 30-minute walk, can ward off depression in people of all ages. When we exercise, our body produces endorphins, which help relieve pain and stress. Physical activity also stimulates the release of dopamine and serotonin – both of these chemicals play an important part in mood regulation. In addition, think carefully about what fuel you are putting into the body – think moderation.

What I’ve learned from these practices is that not only do they reduce stress, they also lead to better emotional control, as well as greater creativity and insight. These are very desirable traits for people to have in any team or workforce. 

Wellbeing is included as part of the leadership and sales programmes that Greater Than offer. We also offer it as a separate workshop for companies wanting to improve the general wellbeing of their people.

Finally, if you are feeling depressed, or have been down for a prolonged period (or know someone in this situation) seek expert help from a doctor or psychologist, straight away. Alternatively, many workplaces offer an Employee Assistance Programme that provides access to counselling services.

If you would like to learn more about how Greater Than can assist with your workforce well-being programme contact: info@greaterthan.nz

#stress #anxiety #well being #monkey mind #mindfulness