How to Eliminate Financial Stress From Your Life

Is your mind flooded with financial worries when you try to sleep each night? Most probably, that’s anxiety eating you up because your career isn’t going anywhere or you’re falling behind a certain mortgage. Almost everyone is affected by financial stress at some point in their lives. It manifests in various levels of intensity.

Financial concerns have been proven to cause anxiety. That’s especially true for most parents. And, that’s understandable granted the uncertainties of the economy today.

In a certain Washington Post poll, over 50% of the respondents said that they’re worried ‘a lot’ about losing their job. Such numbers just underscore how finances are a huge source of anxiety. The American Psychological Association’s annual surveys have consistently concluded that money is the first cause of stress for over 70% of Americans.

Impact of Financial Stress on a Person’s Well-Being

A person’s financial situation has a significant impact on their emotional and physical well-being. Biologically, the human body reacts to the different kinds of stress in the same way – fight or flight. The constant flood of hormones like adrenaline and cortisol can result in multiple health issues.

WebMD lists finances as a stressor that’s capable of triggering long-term diseases and busting your budget even more. It’s a major area of concern.

Psychologists make use of the term ‘Money Anxiety Disorder‘ to refer to the sense of financial fear. As stress levels over finances increase, health problems also increase.

Those who stress over their financial situations too much may experience:

  • Depression
  • Feelings of denial
  • Panic
  • Anger
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Loneliness

Financial stress can cause or worsenother conditions like:

  • Weight gain/loss
  • Substance abuse
  • High blood pressure
  • Eating disorders
  • Insomnia
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease/attack

The emotional feelings stirred up by financial stress can cross over into your relationships with your loved ones and cloud them. Additionally, the anxiety consumes almost every aspect of your daily life.

Fight Against Financial Stress

Yes, financial stress is inarguably unpleasant. Thankfully, there never lacks a way that one can work around it, regardless of how hopeless and desperate the situation seems.

Remember, worrying will barely solve anything. But, finding out how you can overcome financial stress will. You’ve got everything you require to fight back! This all-encompassing guide takes a closer look at what causes financial stress and how one can better their situation.

A Glimpse of What Causes Financial Stress

Here are five common causes of financial stress.

1. Overspending

If you’ve financial stress, the chances are that your expenses are often greater than your income. Maybe, you’re taking payday loans, taking some cash from your retirement fund, or maxing out on your credit.

Spending unintentionally affects almost everyone. Despite your best intentions, advertisers and marketers win your heart. Sooner, the stress from purchases you had made catch up to you.

2. Debt

Doesn’t it feel terrible to be indebted? You might even feel disgrace or shame.

Often, that destroys relationships between family members and friends. Paying up a debt off a significant portion of your income over a long time is likely to stress you out. Mental health studies indicate that a person in debt is more likely to have mental issues than one who’s not in debt.

If you’re struggling with debt, check out What Lies in Your Debt.

It’s a helpful program designed to walk you through everything from cleaning up your credit to protecting your money and more. It’s the perfect solution if you’ve had chronic issues with debt and can’t seem to get out.​

3. Losing Control of Your Finances

Lacking a financial plan can lead to stress. You may feel that you’ve lost control over your finances because you don’t have any financial anchor or goal.

4. Paycheck to Paycheck Lifestyle

Perhaps, you’re among those that live paycheck to paycheck. You’re always counting days and hoping that you’ll make it till the next payday.

Maybe, your basic supplies are replenished every payday as your salary is entirely wiped out paying off debts and expenses.

5. Market Volatility

An unsteady economy can lead to extreme fluctuations in the job market. The potential of losing your job can be a scary reality. In turn, that causes financial stress and insecurity.

How Do You Overcome Financial Stress?

The real key to overcoming financial stress is changing your money habits, regardless of how much you earn. You can only achieve financial freedom by managing your money properly. Follow these practical tips to overcome financial stress.

Know the Enemy

The first step towards overcoming virtually any challenge is identifying the underlying problem(s).

Financial issues are not an exception.

Financial stress is almost always the result of another problem. It’s important that you define that problem in order to find a solution which is ideal in the long run.

For instance, unemployment or low income can result in using credit for basic expenses.

Having a child is another common cause of financial difficulties.

Addictions to alcohol, recreational drugs, video games, and gambling often lead to a significant drain on your income. Additionally, you can have financial stress when you realize you have not saved enough for retirement.

The cause of your crisis might not fit into any of those categories. It could be more complex than the problems mentioned earlier.

Regardless of that, it’s imperative that you identify the underlying issue(s).

Assess the financial situation you’re in. Most financially anxious people refuse to acknowledge their current economic situation. What they don’t realize is that they’re only perpetuating the issue.

Spend Reasonably

Financial stress comes about when your lifestyle doesn’t match up with your income. After identifying the underlying problem(s), the next step you can take is to remedy several financial concerns.

Accept the factors that you don’t have control over.

Start using the highly recommended, effective remedy—a sustainable budget.

We can liken creating a budget to turning the lights on when you’ve been in the dark. A monthly spending plan will enable you to track where your money goes. It’ll now be much easier to ensure that you’re spending only on things that matter the most.

The list of your expenses should reflect accurately on the reality that you’re living with. People are often deluded into thinking that they’re aware of where their money is going.

But, when you decide to take time and tally up your purchases, you might be shocked to realize that your spending doesn’t match up with what you assumed their priorities were.

It’s an excellent idea to track your cash flow. You’ll find it a lot simpler to analyze your budget critically. You’ll have an easy time identifying where you can save cash more practically.

Make a point of asking yourself some tough questions. Must I eat out this much in one month? Do I need to have that after-work drink? Can’t I bear not seeing that friend for a little while?

Perhaps, you can’t visit a sporting supply store without purchasing something. Then, stop visiting it. Don’t perceive it as taking on financial burdens. Instead, see it as part of living with what you can afford.

Define Your Priorities

To overcome the financial challenges weighing you down, you should clearly define your personal priorities.

That might include giving your family a better lifestyle, paying off that balance on your credit card, or paying for a certain home improvement project. Consider the financial obligations which trigger stressful feelings.

Having well-defined, non-negotiable priorities will make the tough financial decisions that you’ve been facing a lot easier.

In case you hit another conflict of spending options, all you’ll need to do is refer to your list of priorities. You should make use of this list as the ultimate guide for your financial decisions.

If you’re stuck for the first priority, you can try focusing on getting one particular problem under wraps. For example, you can pay off the lowest credit card balances.

Decide first to shave down the most crucial expenses.

Changes Take Small Steps

Regardless of what is causing the financial stress that you have, the solution is likely to involve increasing your income or reducing the expenses.

After doing the math, you’ll realize that you need to make a very significant change to your lifestyle to get yourself back on track. Most likely, it’ll be something that you wouldn’t want to do.

But, making small changes can also help relieve yourself of financial stress.

Big changes are often much harder to motivate yourself towards and make them happen.

Instead, try identifying the smaller steps you can take to move closer. Look for those small areas where you can reduce your expenditure.

Craft A Financial Plan

You’ve already identified the small steps you can take to achieve financial stability. You should now formulate a realistic plan to help you achieve those huge, overarching goals you wish to accomplish.

You’ll, thus, need to identify and write them down. As well, you’ll have to establish where you currently stand in relation to the goals you’ve listed.

All of that, along with your budget, will enable you to determine regular, small payments which are more manageable and doable than trying to make one massive purchase.

That’s usually where most people slip up. The idea here is to take charge and clinch the perfect balance.

Avoid making the payment routine so simple that it becomes very easy to let it slide or brush it off. However, that doesn’t mean you make it so ambitious that it becomes next to impossible to achieve.

Regularly Review Your Financial Plan

As with most other situations, digging oneself out of a financial crisis isn’t as simple as crafting a plan and pledging to stick to the same. Some details may slip out.

Unexpected complications might spring up, making it challenging to stick to the plan.

Taking that into account, it’s vital that you review how the plan is turning out and identify any problems. You’ll then be able to tweak things and make them better.

Are your finances showing any improvements?

Is the progress towards your goals happening as you planned?

If that’s not the case, you’ll have to look back through everything and define where something went wrong.

Find out why it went wrong.

You might realize that your old habits were easy to avoid at first, but things began to get difficult. Ascertain that you’ve set out a realistic plan. You shouldn’t strain yourself too much.

Maintain A Positive Mindset

Your mindset can play a significant part towards overcoming financial stress.

It can motivate you to fix any financial crisis you’re in. Manage your emotions. Don’t bog yourself down with thoughts of never paying off your debt.

People have been in even worse financial challenges. Focus on the amount of stress that decreases as your debt get smaller.

Have a strong belief that you can solve any financial problem you have. Avoid overly ambitious goals which you’ll probably abandon soon.

Solve what you can today. In the meantime, stay at peace with what you can’t.

Be Accountable

Take up the responsibility of strictly following the plan you’ve devised and implementing changes.

You can lean on your relationships to stay on track.

Hard tasks become easier with support from friends and/or family. Share your goals. No one better can remind you of your goals and hold you accountable than someone you trust, love, and respect.

Don’t Overthink Things

Take the practical steps that you can. Overthinking or indulging your anxiety won’t alleviate your financial concerns.

If you realize that you’re too worried, take one or two deep breaths and think about an entirely different thing.

Take one step back and think about good things that are free. Remind yourself that things like friendship, love, spirituality, and passion bring true happiness, yet they’re freely available.

Reach Out for Help

Should you find yourself always struggling, you can try reaching out for assistance.

Various government initiatives have been put in place to offer free support to those overwhelmed by financial stress. Financial specialists or coaches could be of excellent help, too.

At times, just getting the issue off your chest can be a big relief. The solution might be as simple as chatting with someone else (friend, relative, or job colleague) who’s better with finances than you about your financial situation.

You shouldn’t be so proud that you can’t seek the help you require.

Note: Get-Rich Schemes Are Not a Definite Solution

Don’t be lured into thinking that get-rich schemes are sure to solve your financial stress.

Having more money won’t solve your problem outright. In fact, more money can bring about more financial stress. That isn’t always the case, though.

But, it shouldn’t surprise you to know that most billionaires are stressed out, as well.

Four Elements Fueling Financial Anxiety

Below are several things that fuel anxiety over money. If any of these factors are fueling your financial anxiety, it’d only be wise to find appropriate solutions.

1. Anxiety Over Other Issues

At times, financial stress isn’t even about money.

Case in point, some people fear that they won’t be valued anymore. Aging, relationships, and health are powerful feelings which hide behind financial anxiety.

It has been noted that even those with ample financial resources tend to worry about money. A sense of belonging and emotional connection with family and/or friends can help lower financial stress levels.

2. Shame

Many people feel shame around anything to do with finances. That, in turn, fuels stress.

This shame grows to become an emotional ‘glue trap’.

Sometimes, you might feel ashamed that you should have done or known better when it comes down to money. This feeling often leads to ‘money avoidance‘. With time, one becomes unwilling to deal with matters of finance.

Make an effort to let go of this shame.

3. Lack of Information

Lacking solid information is known to intensify financial stress. Panic can be triggered by not knowing what you’re dealing with.

Although it might sound simplistic, your financial stress can decrease once you get an idea of the amount of money you currently have for retirement and the amount you’ll require.

You might be pleasantly surprised when it dawns on you that you’re in a better position than you think. Consulting a financial adviser will help with finding out the exact position you’re in.

Parting Words

Don’t let financial stress consume most of your life.

Things might look somewhat bleak right now. But, following this guide can place you on the path to a stable financial future.

The benefits of fighting financial stress (paying down debts, saving more, etc.) will improve your bottom line, and overall mood, too. You’ll be able to enjoy life more when you can worry less about money issues.

Should you become overly anxious about money, make use of techniques like meditation, yoga, and deep breathing to alleviate stress. Also take a look at our list of 170 stress management techniques.

Finding support from those close to you can be extremely fulfilling, as well. Plan for tomorrow. But, don’t worry too much about it.

Try to stick to the plan you create. Start making those small changes. You’ll be amazed at the lasting impact they will have on your future.

Spend smart, invest well, and save some. Most importantly, stay positive. By taking heed of the above tips, you’ll be free from financial stress sooner than you realize it.

How to De-Stress Your Home

For many, home is where we eat, sleep, work, play, and create. When considering how to take better care of ourselves, it only makes sense to pay attention to the place we spend so much of our time. Your home should be a safe haven from the burdens of the outside world.

However, sometimes the way we interact with our home can create its own variety of stress. If you’re wondering how to de-stress your home, here are a few strategies for rethinking and designing your spaces to make your home life more enjoyable and relaxing.

Introduce Natural Elements

Spending time outdoors can lower your blood pressure and relieve stress. However, you don’t have to venture into the wilderness to enjoy these restorative effects.

Investing in a few indoor plants can add a natural feeling to any space. Many plant varieties, such as aloe, succulents, and spider plants, require very little care to remain healthy and vibrant. Since most houseplants are easily moved, you can also find creative ways to arrange them throughout your home.

indoor plants

It’s also important not to neglect the outside of your home. If you have a lawn, even a small space can benefit from landscaping. Rather than watching your lawn slowly devolve into a jungle, keeping the grass trimmed and clear of debris is a great way to start.

If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, gardening can be a fulfilling way to focus your mind and body on a physical task. Growing flowers or vegetables could offer a flare of color and functionality to an otherwise plain area of your home.

You might also try adding a water feature in order to create an attractive focal point as well as a soothing soundscape.

Let in the Light

One of the most important things to consider when de-stressing your home is the amount and quality of light available. A dark room can seem small and confined. Increasing the amount of natural light in your home provides a number of benefits, such as allowing you to maintain healthy levels of vitamin D, increasing productivity, and giving rooms a more spacious appearance.

One way to ensure that you’re getting as much natural light as possible is to choose curtains with a sheer fabric. This provides a compromise between the need for privacy and access to light.

natural sunlight

Though adding a skylight or new windows can increase the amount of natural light that reaches the darkest corners of your home, this isn’t always an option. Affordable alternatives include introducing objects with more reflective surfaces into your home, such as shiny tiles, acrylic chairs, and metallic photo frames. Placing a mirror on the wall opposite a window can greatly increase the amount of natural light in a room.

Aside from natural light, the color temperature of the light bulbs in your home can also have a drastic effect on the mood of particular spaces. Choosing bulbs with a cool white color can have an energizing effect and might work well for a home office, while warmer colors can create a calm vibe better suited to a living room or bedroom.

Redecorate

Along with adjusting the amount of light in your home, it can be refreshing to experiment with a new aesthetic altogether. This could include a fresh coat of paint for the walls, rearranging furniture, or hanging art and photography that makes you happy.

If you decide to paint restful spaces like your bedroom or a study, consider choosing dark blues, light grays, or soft shades of pink, green, or lavender as these have calming effects.

When assessing the overall color scheme of any room, you could follow the 60-30-10 rule. This suggests that to maintain a pleasant color balance 60 percent of the room should be a dominant color, 30 percent should be a secondary color, and 10 percent should be an accent color.

60-30-10 rule

However, this “rule” isn’t for everyone. Your home is about you, so if you’re happiest surrounded by a variety of colors, go for it.

Breathe Deep

Of course the quality of the air in your home can affect your stress levels. No one wants to come home to a smelly house. One easy strategy for this is to open windows when possible to clear out stale air.

You can also choose garbage bins with lids or store them beneath a counter to limit the range of any unwanted smells. Above all, you’ll set yourself up for success by keeping your most at-risk areas clean, such as the kitchen, bathroom, and any area your pets use the most.

Keeping a regular cleaning schedule will give you the best chance at avoiding an instant stressor that could spread to every room in your house.

You can go a step further by introducing a variety of soothing aromatics, such as vanilla and lavender, that fill your home with a natural, pleasant scent as well as help to relieve stress.

Essential oil diffusers can run continuously or be set to a timer in order to release the desired level of fragrance. For a low-tech option, you can also mix a few drops of essential oil with water in a spray bottle to give a quick spritz to the air, fabrics, or furniture.

De-clutter

Over time, it can be easy to accumulate so many things that your storage spaces seem doomed. Often our homes are filled with things we don’t even use. In these cases a sudden or gradual purge can be an effective way clear out the clutter and bring hope back to your closets, drawers, and pantries. Prepare a few boxes or bags and start sorting things you can donate or sell, and soon you’ll be able to start over with a clean slate.

For clothes, a good rule of thumb is to get rid of anything you haven’t worn in six months to a year. If you aren’t sure how long it’s been, you can reverse the all the hangers in your closet. If any hangers are still backwards in a few months, that’s a pretty good indicator it’s time to part with those clothes.

clutter free home

Your kitchen cabinets and refrigerator can also become a point of stress. When your shelves are full of old or unhealthy foods, it’s time to clear them out. While this will renew the space, you can also use this as a chance to stock up on healthy, stress-relieving foods like fruits, berries, and yogurt.

It’s not only spaces out of sight that need attention. Shelves, tables, and countertops can get cluttered with old papers, magazines, and unused appliances. The entryway to your home is another prime suspect for clutter, as shoes, coats, umbrellas and other items used in your day-to-day become strewn and overwhelm you from the moment you walk in the door.

Designate Your Spaces

Once you’ve cleared out the clutter in your house, redecorated, or tried any of the strategies above, the only thing left to do is actually enjoy living in your home. It can be helpful to find specific areas dedicated to relaxation or some hobby you enjoy. In the same way, it’s good to dedicate certain spaces to getting work done.

Consider which rooms you spend the most time in and why. Maybe without thinking about it you’ve already designated spaces for particular activities like reading, catching up on social media, or planning your schedule. By being intentional about the way you use different spaces, your mind will be better prepared to adjust to each situation.

For example, if you come home from a stressful day at work, having a safe space to sit and relax quietly for a few minutes can be a great relief. However, it’s important to avoid mixing in activities that might stress you out.

You wouldn’t want to sort bills or plan your day in the same place you’ve chosen to hit your mental reset button. And though it’s tempting to try and unwind by scrolling through the internet and social media, this can distract you and add to your stress. Strive to be strong and keep your phone out of sight in your most peaceful moments.

However you choose to keep your home, know there’s no right way to do it. You might consider your home to be a reflection of who you are, or you might consider it to be a remedy to the more stressful parts of your life. Either way, it should be a place where you enjoy spending time. Hopefully something here will inspire you and help to de-stress your home today.

What Are Stress Triggers & How Do You Identify Them?

While you’re in the middle of making dinner, the phone rings, there’s a knock on the door, your kids start arguing and screaming your name, and the pot of sauce you’re cooking starts boiling over. Everything and everyone needs your attention, and you are stressed out to the max.

These are examples of acute stress, which doesn’t last long, and can actually be beneficial to your health. But, if your stress levels are at a high on a daily basis, you could be experiencing chronic stress, a form of long-term stress that can be dangerous to your overall health and well-being.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, stress is what happens when you are overloaded with demands that require you to react or make a change. These demands can be caused by a variety of factors, including money, personal relationships, work, school, or any other situation that you perceive to be challenging. These challenges cause your body to react physically, mentally and emotionally.

Stress is a part of everyday life. It’s actually essential to your survival. That’s because it stimulates the “fight-of-flight” response, which tells you how and when to react to danger.

However, if this response is triggered often or too easily, it can wreck havoc on your mental and physical health. Instead of being beneficial, it can become dangerous. That’s why it’s important to understand your stress triggers and be able to identify them before they wreak havoc.

Side Effects of Stress

According to The American Institute of Stress, the effects of stress can cause a number of physical and emotional conditions, such as:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Increased susceptibility to infections and illnesses
  • Gastrointestinal conditions
  • Neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease

What Triggers Stress?

Anything that triggers this reaction is referred to as a stressor or stress trigger. Examples of stress triggers include being confronted with aggressive behavior, hearing a loud, sudden noise, seeing a car speeding toward you, or being faced with a change in your life (even if that change is positive, such as a promotion, buying a house or going out on a date.)

The more stress triggers you’re confronted with, the more stressed out you become.

There are a variety of environmental triggers that can activate the “fight-or-flight” response. Here are some of the most common stress triggers:

1. Financial Problems

According to a recent survey from the American Psychological Association, money is the leading cause of stress among Americans. Additionally, this survey found that financial stress can have a significant impact on a person’s health and well-being.

top stress triggers

Of the 3,068 adults who were surveyed in 2014, the study revealed that 72% felt stressed about finances at some point during the month of August (when the survey was conducted), and 22% reported that they experienced extreme financial stress. Those who said that money was a very large source of stress were younger adults and parents.

2. Work Demands

Work is the second leading stress trigger among Americans. A study conducted by the Harvard Gazette found that approximately 44% of adults said that their work was affecting their overall health and well-being, and that the leading problem was stress.

A job can be demanding during normal working hours, but it used to be that some of that stress subsided at the end of the work day. However, thanks to technology, work-related stress seems to never end. It seems that there is very little, if any, separation between work and leisure time. Workers are always “on-call”, even if their specific job doesn’t require them to be. How often do you receive an email, a text or a phone call from your boss while you’re away from work?

3. Personal Relationships

Relationships are another major cause of stress. Major issues in a relationship can certainly cause stress; however, it seems that trivial things, such as folding the laundry, washing the dishes, cleaning up the bathroom and taking the dog for a walk, cause the greatest amount of stress in a relationship.

Why? Because one person starts to feel resentful or taken for granted, and thus loses trust in the other person.

4. Caregiving

It’s hard enough for a person to tend to all of the day-to-day things that they need to tend to for themselves. Throw taking care of someone else into the picture, and things can become extremely overwhelming. Parents of young children, those who care for a sick spouse, and those who tend to elderly parents are under high levels of stress.

It’s easy to see why, too: ensuring that the needs of the person you are caring for, as well as your own needs, are met is extremely demanding.

5. Not Getting Enough “Alone” Time

While it’s nice to be surrounded by other people, sometimes, it’s nice to spend some time alone. In fact, it’s not only nice; it’s extremely important. Alone time allows you to concentrate on your own needs, and not getting that time can really heighten stress levels.

How to Identify Your Stress Triggers

Fortunately, you can combat the effects of stress. How? By identifying what triggers it.

Finding out how to pinpoint your specific stress triggers can help you better maintain them and manage your stress levels, thus combating the negative side effects that are associated with chronic stress. Here are some tips that will help you identify your stress triggers:

Become Familiar with Your Response to Stress

When you’re faced with stressful situations, your body sends out certain signals: your heart starts to pound; you start sweating; your breathing becomes quicker and shallow; your stomach becomes upset; you become irritable…

Pay attention to your body’s response to certain situations. Doing so will help you determine what triggers your stress.

Keep a Stress Journal

Jot down the things that cause you to become stressed, as well as your body’s responses to stress. Doing so will allow you to be better equipped to take prompt and proper action so that you can reduce your stress levels and move away from stressors.

Speak to a Medical Professional

If you’re having a hard time determining what it is that is causing you to feel stressed, you might want to speak to a medical professional. Let your doctor know how you’re feeling. He or she will be able to help you determine what triggers your stress response.

How to Manage Your Stress Triggers

Given the negative effects that are associated with excessive stress, it is important to learn how to cope with your triggers. When you’re better able to manage your response to stress, you will be better equipped to confront your stressors head-on, thus avoiding the negative side effects that the “fight-or-flight” response can cause.

How can you manage your stress? Here are some tips that will help prevent you from feeling overwhelmed when you’re confronted with your stress triggers.

Build Your Resilience

The more resilient you are to stress, the better you’ll be able to respond to stressful events – even minor stressful events (like sitting in traffic or the morning rush to get out of the door.)

Prioritize

When you have a lot on your plate, it is easy to become overwhelmed and stressed out. By organizing your list of things to-do, you’ll be able to easily prioritize your tasks. Put those things that need your attention immediately at the top of your list, and things that can wait toward the bottom. Then take a single-tasking approach to tackling everything on the list.

As you move throughout your day, instead of focusing on what you have yet to finish, focus on what you have accomplished. When you see that you have taking care of the top priorities, you will feel less stressed and you will be better able to handle the things that are of lesser priority.

Make Lifestyle Changes

Your lifestyle contributes to how you handle stress. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, are eating an unhealthy diet, aren’t getting enough exercise, or drink too much caffeine or alcohol, consider making changes. These actions have a negative impact on how you deal with stress, and can actually make you more prone to it.

Try Deep Breathing & Relaxation Techniques

There are several deep breathing and relaxation techniques that can help you reduce your stress levels. Yoga, meditation, massage, or even simply lying in a bathtub, away from stimulation, can help you relax. By partaking in relaxation and deep breathing exercises on a regular basis, you will be better equipped to deal when you encounter your stress triggers.

Talk It Out

It may seem trivial, but talking to someone can actually help you better control your stress. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, talk to a trusted family member, friend, a work associate, or therapist; doing so will allow you to vent your frustrations and seek support.

To learn more about the types of stress and what causes it, check out this video from Dr. John Kenworthy. It illustrates the two primary causes of stress, and looks into the most common factors that contribute to it.

40 Easy Ways to Eliminate Stress at Work

Workplace stress is a chronic problem in the U.S. Fifty-six percent of employeessay workplace stress it interferes with their job performance. Fifty-one percent say it impacts their relationships with coworkers, and half say it impacts their quality of work.

So needless to say, most people experience stress at work and something needs to be done about it. That’s why we decided to compile a list of ways to relieve workplace stress, with scientific research to back it up.

If the mere thought of going into work every morning stresses you out, this article is for you. If you feel anxious and stressed all throughout the workday, this is for you. If you’re an employer and have noticed more employees calling out sick and productivity slipping, you should read this.

As common as stress at work is, the reality is many companies and employees don’t take the time to deal with it. We just assume work is supposed to be stressful and after a while it becomes so routine that you don’t know anything else. But we’re here to break that cycle. You shouldn’t leave your job feeling depressed, sad and filled with anxiety. You’re going to spend over 90,000 hours of your entire life working, so you need to make it as stress free as possible.

Here are 40 ways to eliminate stress at work:

1. Buy an Indoor Plant

If you work in an office or somewhere that doesn’t have a lot of natural light, that might have a lot to do with why you’re stressed at work. Sunlight and nature have been shown to improve your mood, give you energy and a long list of other health benefits.

Since you likely can’t just break down a wall to let some fresh air in, an alternative is to buy a nice indoor plant and put it on your desk. According to multiple studies, plants can:

  • Increase attentiveness
  • Boost productivity at work
  • Lower your blood pressure
  • Improve job satisfaction
  • Lower anxiety
  • Give you a more positive perception of your workspace

You’re not limited to a boring cactus when it comes to choosing an indoor plant to de-stress at work. Try any of these plants to get the stress relieving benefits:

  • Aloe
  • Rubber tree
  • English Ivy
  • Red-Edged Dracaena
  • Spider plant
  • Snake Plant
  • Peace Lily
  • Golden Pothos
  • Bamboo
  • Philodendron

Just remember to care for the plant so it doesn’t die out on you!

2. Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Progressive muscle relaxation is a mindfulness/meditation practice that involves tensing up muscles throughout your body, and then releasing them. Typically you’ll start from your head, tensing up your eyes, forehead and shoulders. Then work your way down to your torso and all the way down to your toes. Here’s an insanely relaxing progressive muscle relaxation guide that we highly recommend.

In one study of progressive muscle relaxation on student athletes, this stress management technique was shown to help regulate the players’ mood states.

The good thing about progressive muscle relaxation is you can do it while sitting at your desk without anyone knowing. When you start to feel stressed, quickly run through the process of tensing and releasing your muscle groups throughout your body for quick stress relief at work.

3. Learn to Leave Work at Work

This is a challenge for people who are workaholics or simply love what they do. Since we spend so much of our lives at work, it often becomes a part of our identify. We become so attached that it’s hard to separate our work life from our personal lives. As a result, you start responding to emails at dinner or stressing over a project you’re working on when you should be spending time with  your kids.

When you don’t have work/life balance, you get caught in a constant cycle of stress that’s nearly impossible to get out of. With 20% of workers spending 20+ hours a week working during their personal time, it’s no wonder why stress at work is such an issue. Plus, when you combine that information with this Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business study that found people with high-stress jobs and little control are more likely to die sooner than people with more work/life balance, the case for leaving work in the workplace is extremely strong.

Long story short, when you clock out for the day, clock out completely. Even if you occasionally have to reply to an email or answer a phone call, don’t let the stressors from work completely takeover your personal life.

4. Take a Deep Breath

Did you know that most people don’t breathe correctly? Over the years, we’ve become accustom to taking short and shallow breaths. Part of the reason is actually our obsession with looking thinner. We consciously and subconsciously tend to suck in our stomachs to make our tummies look flatter. As a result, it stops us from breathing from our guts, and instead breathe from our chest. Then when you add on our fast-paced culture that makes us fail to stop and be mindful, most of us completely ignore our breathing patterns altogether.

But when you’re stressing out at work, dial things back. Take a few seconds and take a deep breath. You can try these 10 deep breathing exercises right at your desk without anyone knowing. Studies have shown that deep breathing calms your body’s stress response, which makes it perfect for high pressure situations like the minutes leading up to a big presentation.

So if you’re wondering how to cope with stress at work, take a deep breath!

5. Try Office Yoga

Most people are aware that yoga is good for them. But aside from making you more flexible, yoga has been scientifically shown to help relieve stress. A study from Frontiers in Human Neuroscience looked at the physical and mental effects of a three month yoga retreat, and saw that participants experienced reduced stress and inflammation in their bodies.

You don’t have to work for a fancy startup company to enjoy yoga in the office. While it’s certainly nice, there are plenty of ways to practice some basic yoga anywhere. Whether you work in a retail store, office or any other type of environment, you can squeeze in a little yoga when you need to relieve some stress at work. In fact, there are so many people searching for ways to stretch and do yoga at their desks that there are thousands of videos with tips on how to do it. Here’s one from Yoga by Candace that’s extremely simple and easy for beginners.

As you can see, you don’t need an entire yoga studio to overcome the effects of stress. Just a chair or desk is more than enough to give you quick stress relief at work.

6. Drink a Cup of Stress Tea

We’ve written about the stress relieving benefits of tea before, because it’s one of the easiest (and tastiest) ways to relieve stress. And it’s not just anecdotal or a placebo affect. In fact, one study set out to specifically test whether or not black tea had an impact on stress levels. The researches tested black tea against a placebo for six weeks, and concluded the tea lead to lower post-stress cortisol and more relaxation.

Keep in mind that we’re talking about natural tea that provides herbal stress relief, not sugar-filled “tea” soft drinks you buy at convenient stores. If you’re looking for good options, we highly recommend checking out Teabox. They have a wide variety of naturally grown teas and fun accessories that’ll make you want to become a tea addict.

7. Get up and Stretch

Don’t feel like doing yoga? Well just getting up for at least 10 minutes every hour for some light stretching is another effective way to reduce stress at work. You don’t have to do anything too intense. Raise your arms in the air, twist your back a bit or swivel your neck from side to side.

Chances are you’ll know exactly where you’re feeling tense when you start to get stressed out. Concentrate on stretching out those specific areas of your body for a little bit. Once you feel centered and a bit less stressed, continue on with the task at hand.

8. Desk Meditation

Meditation at work? That sounds crazy!

Fifteen to 20 years ago, you’d be right. But these days, companies are placing a priority on reducing workplaces stress and improving employee satisfaction. As a result, more companies are looking for ways to introduce mindfulness into their culture because it has been shown to relieve stress and actually changes your brain. Neuroscientists from Harvard Medical School researched the effects of meditation on the brain over an eight week period and saw differences in brain volume in five different regions of the brain:

  • Posterior cingulate: Involved in self relevance and mind wandering
  • Left hippocampus: Assists in cognitive function, memory, emotional regulation and learning.
  • Temporo parietal junction: Associated with compassion and empathy.
  • Pons: An area of the brain stem where many regulatory neurotransmitters are produced.
  • Amygdala: The part of the brain responsible for the fight or flight part of the brain, which is directly linked to stress and anxiety.

For the amygdala, the researchers noted the area got smaller in the participants that went through the mindfulness-based stress reduction program, which correlated to a reduction in stress levels. So in short, meditation can help reduce stress at work. But how do you actually implement it?

If your company doesn’t have a program in place, try to find a quiet place where you can sit alone. If there’s nowhere in your workplace, consider stepping out and sitting in your car for a while. Then, go through a brief 5-10 minute meditation. If you’re new to meditating, we highly recommend checking out Headspace. They have free guided meditations great for beginners that can be done anywhere.

Also, if you think your job will be open to it, try pitching your HR department the idea of allowing meditation in the workplace. You can point them to this article and the studies mentioned as proof that it’ll be beneficial!

9. Get a Stress Cube

The stress cube took off as a trendy toy for stress and anxiety. And whether or not it sticks around long term remains to be seen. But before you write off stress cubes as a gimmick, there is a little science to support the benefits it has for relieving stress and anxiety. And it all comes down to fidgeting.

In one study of students between the ages of six and eight years old, researches found that kids who were able to move their hands freely during a lesson were able to learn quicker than those who didn’t fidget. So how does that relate to stress?

There’s a theory known as the cognitive load hypothesis. It suggests that when we’re forced to deal with complex problems or thoughts (i.e. stressful situations) we exert some of that cognitive load into movements like fidgeting. As a result, we’re able to free up some of our mental resources to focus on the mental process and actually think through what’s going on. Stress cubes/fidget cubes allow you to occupy and satisfy that physical urge to fidget, which frees your mind from stressors.

10. Use a Fidget Spinner

If cubes aren’t your thing, try a fidget spinner instead. These will give you similar benefits of fidget cubes, plus allow you to make a YouTube video that might just go viral.

11. Play Hooky

Coming off a particularly stressful week of work? Does the thought of getting up Monday morning stress you out beyond belief? Here’s the perfect solution—don’t go.

Playing hooky from work every once in a while can give your brain the mental break it needs to bounce back and return with a clear mind when you’re ready. Obviously there are some boundaries to follow for this. For instance:

  • Don’t ditch work to avoid confilict: If you’re trying to get out of work to avoid a specific conflict or issue, it won’t help. Sometimes you just have to face stressful situations head on in order to overcome them.
  • Don’t break company rules: Not every company has the same rules in place for taking off work. If you only get a certain amount of sick days or paid time off, don’t risk losing your job to play hooky.
  • Do it sparingly: If you’re taking a day off every other week to relieve stress, there might be a bigger issue going on. Stress days should only be used when you absolutely need them.

If you’re feeling awkward about calling out due to stress, don’t. It’s actually very common. An estimated 1 million employees are absent from work every day because of stress. With employers demanding longer hours and more results, full-time employees now work an average of 47 hours per week. So no need to feel guilty about taking a little extra time to recenter yourself when the stress is too much.

12. Eat a Healthy Snack

The food you eat doesn’t just affect your physical health, it also plays a major role in your mental health as well. If you constantly find yourself dealing with stress at work, take a look at your diet. Do you tend to munch of sugary junk food throughout the day? Do you eat breakfast? How often do you drink water?

All of these seemingly small details could be contributing to the stress you experience at work. Fruits and veggies packed with stress fighting nutrients can give you the boost you need to lift your mood during particularly long and stressful workdays. But in addition to that, keep in mind that when you’re stressed at work, you might end up eating more than you should. Stress eating is a very common issue and leads to obesity, heart disease and a variety of other issues.

Make sure you’re getting a healthy diet, that consists of whole, natural foods that contain the following nutrients:

  • Magnesium: almonds, spinach and seeds.
  • Omega-3: salmon, tilapia, halibut, flax seed and walnuts.
  • Vitamin C: oranges (or 100% orange juice), strawberries, bell peppers, broccoli and Brussels sprouts

Here are some more foods to pack for lunch to reduce stress at work.

13. Try a Stress Management App

You use apps to keep in touch with friends, edit photos, take notes and everything else you can think of. But did you know there’s a huge selection of stress apps designed to give you quick stress relief? In fact, we even made a list of our 10 favorites!

We wrote an entire article that dives into how video games relieve stress, but in short, stress management apps distract your mind and give you a way to relax. When you start to feel stressed and overwhelmed at work, take 10 minutes to step outside and try an app like Buddha Board, Personal Zen or Happify.

14. Chew Gum

Most of us tend to chew gum mindlessly either when we’re bored, want to suppress our appetite or to get a quick breath refresher. But there’s another benefit of chewing gum that you might not have known about—stress relief.

According to a two week study, chewing gum can help with anxiety, depression and other mental conditions including stress. Maybe that’s why Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll is constantly chewing gum on the sideline of their games?

Even if your job doesn’t involve coaching a football team, chewing gum can still help give you plenty of stress relieving benefits at work. The best part of chewing gum is it’s super cheap and you can do it without drawing a ton of attention.

15. Talk to Your Workplace Buddy

Human beings are social by nature. There’s a reason isolation has such a negative impact on your brain, and why it’s used as a form of torture and punishment.

When you’re feeling stressed out at work, one of the worst things you can do is keep everything to yourself or suppress your emotions. Having a friend to confide in and vent to can be a great source of stress relief, especially if you just had a particularly stressful event happen.

Keep in mind you don’t want to cross the line of becoming a chronic complainer. Occasionally venting your frustrations or feelings is normal. But if you’re constantly complaining to your coworker about the same issues over and over, it’s a sign you need to make a change. Avoid turning venting into gossip sessions as well. The goal is to have someone to confide in and bounce your thoughts of each other in a productive way.

16. Visualization

Visualization, or guided imagery is the practice of creating a vivid and detailed image in your mind of peaceful relaxing environment. It doesn’t always have to a serene beach or waterfall. It could be an image of something or someone that makes you happy. The goal is to take your mind away from a stressful event or environment by focusing on a visual that makes you calm and relaxed. You can get more details in this article.

If you’re new to guided imagery, we recommend using an audio recording to walk you through the process of painting a relaxing image in your mind. You can have this playing while you work to stay in a relaxed and stress free mental state throughout the day, or just listen to it during those moments when stress and anxiety are getting the best of you.

17. Have a Little Dark Chocolate

We’ve already mentioned how food can be a great stress reliever, but one food that gets overlooked for stress relief at work is dark chocolate. Most people assume all chocolate is unhealthy and bad for you. While a lot of store bought candy bars that you’re used to definitely won’t provide much nutritional value, dark chocolate is another story. This decadent treat has been shown to be an effective way to reduce perceived stress in females.

You don’t need to eat a king sized candy bar to get the effects. The study showed that just 40g of dark chocolate over a two week period was enough to see an effect. So the next time you feel stressed and start craving a sweet treat, skip the sugary milk chocolate bar and opt for natural dark chocolate or cacao instead.

18. Swivel Around in Your Chair

For some reason, the older we get it seems like the less free and fun seeking we become. As children, running around and playing are encouraged. But as adults, we lose that sense of fun and joyfulness, particularly at work.

While your job might not be the place to play a game of tag or run around with super soakers, you can still find little ways to have fun and relieve stress. For instance, just swiveling around in your chair and letting your feet dangle can give you that that brief “freeing” feeling of being a kid again. The thrill and excitement is just what you need to boost endorphins and reduce your stress hormones.

19. Put Your Phone Down

If there’s one thing people like to do at work, it’s be on their phone. Whether you’re texting, browsing the internet or on social media, most of us are glued to our phones for an average of five hours every day!

And according to a recent study from the American Psychological Association(APA), all of this mobile browsing is stressing us out. According to the study, nearly half of employed people are either often or constantly connected to at least one mobile device during the work day.

how often people are on their phone at work

The APA also found that 65% of Americans agree that occasionally unplugging or taking a digital detox helps their mental health. Despite that, 63% of millennials and 47% of Gen Xers feel like they are attached to their mobile devices. As difficult as it may seem, putting your phone away for a second could be just what you need to relieve stress at work.

Try going for a five minute walk outside without your phone once a day. Or spend a few minutes talking with a coworker without looking at your phone. After a while, spending time without your phone won’t seem abnormal, and you’ll find yourself a lot less stressed at work.

20. Take a Break From Your Computer Screen

On a similar note, you should also occasionally take a step away from your computer screen as well. As much as we’ve normalized it, staring at a computer screen for hours is not normal or healthy.

Depending on what web browser you use, there are plenty of extensions that’ll give you a notification to get up and move around after sitting at your desk for a while. Or you can use a Pomodoro timer like this one.

The Pomodoro technique is often used for studying, but works wonders for keeping you focused and not over stressed at work. In addition to destroying your vision from computer vision syndrome, neuroscientists and ophthalmologists seem to agree that there are clear signs it impacts your brain as well. Do yourself a favor and take a break from your computer screen every now and then. Your eyes and brain will thank you!

21. Watch a Funny Video

There are few things in this world that are quite as enjoyable and relaxing as watching cats and dogs do cute things on YouTube. Science aside, it’s nearly impossible to feel stressed out when you’re looking at a video like this.

22. Change Your Computer’s Wallpaper

We mentioned that you need to take breaks from your computer screen occasionally, but if your job requires you to do a lot of computer work, then you might as well have something relaxing or positive on the screen when you’re on it.

This is a somewhat subtle way to relieve stress at work, but often times it’s the less obvious things that can completely alter your mood. If your computer screen has been set on a default wallpaper with random geometric shapes on it, swap it out to something that you actually want to look at. Something that brings you joy, makes you feel good or matches your personality.

If you sign up to become a Zensider, we’ll give you a set of over 20 custom wallpapers designed to motivate you and make you feel less stressed. Or you could set your wallpaper to be your dream workspace.

If you could work from anywhere in the world, where would it be?

A post shared by Stress Management (@stressmanagement) on 

23. Play Some Music

Music is like a magical form of medicine for your mood. Whether you’re stressed, sad or anxious, music has the power to completely uplift and transform your mood. So it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that we’re recommending as one of our favorite ways to relieve stress at work.

But it’s not just our opinion. According to a 2013 study, listening to music positively affects the stress response as well as the overall psychobiological stress system. In other words, listening to music can improve your ability to handle stressful situations. Ever wonder why dentists and doctors play calming and relaxing music while you wait? It’s because they know people often get stressed or anxious about their visit, and the music helps to calm you down.

Bring that same stress management tactic into your own workplace by playing soothing music while you work either through headphones or if your coworkers want some stress relief too, use speakers.

24. Go for a Walk

It doesn’t get any more simple than dropping everything, stepping outside and going for a short walk. When you’re stressed at work, you’re likely under a lot of pressure and having trouble concentrating. Walking can recharge you enough to clear your mind and get back on track.

In fact, research shows that a 20-30 minute walk has the same relaxing effect as a mild tranquilizer.

25. Use an Essential Oil Diffuser

Be sure to check with HR before trying this stress management technique out. But using an essential oil diffuser could be just what you need to relax and create a zen work environment at your desk.

Essential oil diffusers spray streams of essential oil into the air in intervals. People have used essential oils to relieve stress for centuries, and diffusers make it extremely easy. But since diffusers spray mist/steam into the air and can cover quite a bit of square footage depending on the model, make sure that it’s allowed and that you won’t be disturbing your coworkers first. (Take a look at our picks for the top five essential oil diffusers.)

best essential oil diffuser

26. Get a Good Night Sleep

Sleep is one of the most well-researched ways to reduce stress at work and throughout your life in general. That’s why we made a complete guide on the link between stress and sleep, packed with research and data to show just why sleep is so crucial for stress relief and overall health.

Stress Sleep Affects Mood

Make sure you get at least 6-8 hours of sleep every night, especially during stressful periods at work. For instance, if you’re working on a big project, you could be doing more harm than good by pulling all-nighters in order to meet a deadline. Getting a good night’s sleep will give you the energy and mental agility to be more productive while you’re awake.

27. Naam Yoga Hand Trick

Did you know your hand is filled with pressure points that can instantly impact your mood? This ancient Easter Medicine practice involves activating these different pressure points with specific hand gestures, depending on what you’re trying to do. For instance, to calm yourself, you can apply pressure to the space between your second and third knuckles on your middle finger.

naam yoga hand trick

Here are some other hand movements you can do to relief stress. The best part about all of these tactics is you can do them right at your desk, or even during a stressful meeting without everyone knowing.

28. Start Planning Out Your Days

Stress at work can happy for any number of reasons. But one of the most common causes is being unprepared. Whether it’s not being ready for a meeting, having to give a presentation on short notice or anything unexpected, not having time to plan and prepare can be extremely stressful. Get ahead of it by planning your days out in advance.

There are plenty of free tools that’ll help you like Google Calendar, Trello or project management software. We recommend making to-do lists to help you track what you’ve done, what you’re working on and what needs to get done next. (Here are 11 tips to actually complete your to-do list)

When you know what to expect, the fear and anxiety of uncertainty is taken out of the equation. Then all you have to focus on is how you’re going to complete tasks instead of what tasks need to be completed.

How Employers Can Relieve Stress at Work

So far, we’ve gone over tactics employees can do to relieve stress at work. But the reality is if your workplace’s environment is stressful and toxic, the tips we’ve given so far will only treat symptoms of a more serious issue. In order to truly minimize stress at work, it takes commitment from employers as well. There’s a reason so many of the most successful companies in the world prioritize employee wellness and mental health. It creates a more enjoyable atmosphere where people aren’t as stressed out. As a result, they’re able to be more focused and productive.

Now the question is, what can your company do to create a more stress-free environment? Here are some tactics that can work for companies of all sizes.

29. Offer Group Yoga in the Office

Yoga is a classic stress management technique that’s great for physical and mental health. It’s used by 15% of the population (U.S.) and 28% have practiced yoga at least once. So there’s a strong likelihood that your employees either are interested in yoga or are currently practicing. Why not make it more accessible for them by offering weekly or monthly classes in your office?

Yoga has been shown to increase serotonin levels, resulting in less stress, anxiety and even fighting depression. With yoga becoming more mainstream, many instructors provide corporate packages tailored to the needs of your employees. For instance, if your team does a lot of sitting, the instructor might focus on poses to relieve low back pain. You can take it a step further with group meditation. Companies like HBO, Google and Apple provide these services and it’s safe to say it’s helping their employees achieve great things.

30. Have a Designated Nap Room

Remember what we said earlier about the importance of sleep? That’s not restricted to just nighttime. While it’s not as common in the U.S. several other countries encourage napping in the middle of the day to keep employees more productive and less stressed:

  • Spain: You’ve probably heard the term siesta before. A siesta is a mid-day break, and several businesses will close for up to two hours to accommodate this long-standing tradition.
  • China: Workers in China are sometimes given an extra break after lunch to take naps at their desks for up to an hour.
  • Italy: Similar to a siesta, Italy has what’s called riposo. This is a “break” time in the afternoon that can last for up to two hours where businesses close down. During the riposo, employees can go home for lunch or a nice mid-day nap.

It’s worth noting that all three of these countries also have much lower suicides rate than the U.S. Although naps might not be as mainstream right now, it’s definitely a stress management tactic worth exploring for businesses.

31. Don’t Make Employees Feel Guilty for Going Home Early

Going back to tip #11, many employees work long hours because they feel obligated. They feel that if they stay those extra hours and put more time in, they’ll be rewarded. While employees that go above and beyond deserve recognition, it shouldn’t come at the expense of their mental health and wellbeing.

If someone wants to leave a little early on a Friday to get their weekend started, don’t make them feel guilty or wrong for it. Of course, that’s assuming it’s not a routine habit and they’re performing well otherwise.

The last thing you want is burnt out employees working 12 hour days completely stressed out and depressed. As an employer, it’s up to you to set benchmarks and standards for the work culture. If your goal is to reduce stress at work, then consider being a little understanding of when employees need to cut out a little early when they’re mentally drained and stressed out.

32. Ban Work Emails After 6PM

As we discussed earlier, American culture is very work-focused. But separating work and personal life is crucial for productivity and mental health. If your employees feel like they’re on the clock even when they’re at home, they’re not going to have as much energy and focus when they come into work. In the end, all you have is a bunch of overly stressed people who are overly invested in work.

One thing you can do to break this bad habit is to set a company-wide policy where nobody can send emails related to work after a certain time unless it’s an emergency. Because let’s be real, most emails can wait until the next day, which reduces unnecessary stress and the pressure of feeling obligated to respond.

33. Have a Team Happy Hour or Company Outing

This is a great way to reduce stress at work and increase team morale at the same time. In high-stress workplaces, it’s easy to get wound up and tense. Break up the routine a bit by scheduling occasional team outings for everyone to get together outside of work and just relax.

34. Bring a Spa to the Office

Here’s a very creative stress management technique for work. Spas are extremely relaxing, stress relieving and an all around great experience. Unfortunately, they can either be pricy for some people, and others just have difficulty finding time to go. Why not do something special for your team and bring the spa to your office? Contact a local spa and see if they provide a service where they can come and offer massages, facials and other services to your team.

This can be an amazing way to relieve stress during or after extremely stressful periods like the end of the quarter or after the completion of a long-term project. Often times employees don’t take the necessary time to decompress and destress after busy moments at work. So this is a good way to help them relieve some stress and show your appreciation.

35. Avoid Micromanaging

As difficult as it may be to admit, sometimes the source of employee stress isn’t their workload, coworkers or pay. It could be a bad boss. While it may seem as though the higher up on the corporate ladder you are, the more stressed you are, research published in The Journals of Gerontology showed otherwise.

For lower level employees, there isn’t necessarily anyone to pass long their tasks to, so they sometimes end up being the most heavily worked people in the entire organization. So as you can imagine, the last thing they need or want is a micro-manager.

If you want to relieve some stress at work, it could be as simple as just backing off and letting your employees do their job.

36. Have Celebrations (Big and Small)

Does your company take the time to acknowledge and recognize the achievements of your employees? According to data from Psychometrics, 58% of employees felt their company leaders could increase engagement by giving recognition.

And since happier employees are less likely to be stressed out, this could be just what you need to reduce stress at work. The mistake many companies make is to recognize employees primarily based on tenure. In fact, 87% of recognition programs focus on tenure according to one study. Instead, celebrate all victories, big and small, regardless of who the employee is. If a newer team member did an amazing job on a project, acknowledge it. It’ll make them feel happy and appreciated, which means they’re less likely to be stressed.

37. Be Flexible

This is more of a general tip. Be flexible with your employees when possible. For instance, if someone wants to telecommute one or two days a week because their commute is long and stressful, it might be worth compromising to make their lives a little easier. Or maybe some employees want a non-traditional schedule. If it’s not going to impact their performance or their coworkers, consider it.

Be proactive about understanding what’s stressing your employees out and find ways to reduce or eliminate those stressors for them. It’ll probably force you to be a little more flexible and go outside of “traditional” workplace culture, but if it increases productivity and employee satisfaction, it’s well worth the trade-off.

38. Make Your Office Comfortable

Windowless rooms, poor air circulation, bad lighting and uncomfortable furniture make it kind of difficult to relax. If you want to understand why employees are calling out sick, have low morale or constantly feel stressed and depressed, take a look at the environment they’re in.

There’s a reason some of the largest and more successful companies in the world invest heavily into the design and amenities of their office. They want employees to feel comfortable and happy when they’re at work. That doesn’t mean every workplace has to be decked out with ping pong tables, fancy furniture and the latest equipment. But your office shouldn’t look like it was setup in 1992 either.

A good rule of thumb is to ensure your environment isn’t detracting from employee satisfaction. At the bare minimum, natural sunlight, good air circulation and ergonomic furniture should be on your list. Also consider asking employees what you could do to make the workplace more comfortable and stress free. Take some inspiration from Inc’s list of the World’s Coolest Offices.

39. Provide Healthy Snack Options

We talked about how eating healthy can relieve or reduce stress at work. You can make this process even easier by providing some free healthy snack options to your team. There are several services like Snacknation and Grazed that deliver healthy snack options to businesses.

And if you can’t quite afford one of these services, some alternatives are to buy healthy snacks in bulk from Costco or have a vending machine installed with healthy options to make it convenient for employees.

40. Try Unlimited Paid Vacation

Although it has been heavily debated, the companies doing it successfully have raved about the benefits unlimited vacation has provided for relieving stress at work, productivity and even saving costs. One of the key benefits of allowing unlimited vacation is employees can take time off when they need it, without worrying about how it will impact them financially. As a result, they’re likely to take vacation when they otherwise wouldn’t have due to the fear of losing out on money or using up all their vacation days.

Not every company has the means or desire to give this policy a shot. But if you’re interested, Inc recommends these five tips to make it work:

  • Don’t leave people guessing: Create an FAQ that answers common questions like “how much vacation should I take?”
  • Measure performance: Monitor whether or not your unlimited vacation policy is actually helping productivity or workplace stress.
  • Call legal: It’s not as simple as just stating “we have unlimited paid vacation now.” Check with your legal team on the laws in your state in regards to vacation for hourly vs salaried employees.
  • The CEO must go too: If everyone isn’t using the policy, the people that do will feel guilty and others will be afraid to take full advantage. If you’re going to offer unlimited vacation, make sure everyone is abiding by it.
  • Ban working vacations: You’ve seen the common theme throughout this guide. Make sure employees are actually taking time to relax and destress when they’re on vacation.

How do You Relieve Stress at Work?

There you have it, 40 proven ways to relieve stress at work. But we know there are plenty of others. What’s your favorite way to reduce or get rid of stress at work? Leave a comment and let us know. And feel free to share this article around the office with your coworkers, HR or even CEO!

What Are Stress Headaches and How to Relieve Them

Headaches can be so debilitating! They suck the life, joy, and peace out of you. It’s even worse when they’re caused by stress.

What are Stress Headaches?

Stress headaches, also known as tension headaches are the most common type of headache. Stress headaches have a pain that diffuses across the whole head. The pain is not local or sharp in one area.

Stress headaches are mostly categorized as primary headaches, which are triggered by things like certain food, stress, or particular actions that alter the chemicals that control sensations like the pain in the brain.

They are known to be episodic and recurring, at times they also become chronic. They get so severe such that they affect a person’s capability to perform daily tasks. Tension headaches are more like a dull pain that feels like a band is putting pressure on the head.

Unlike migraines and cluster headaches, they are not isolated to one side of the head. The pain begins at the back of your head and makes its way to the forehead. You can feel a soreness and tightness of the muscles in the neck, jaw and shoulder area.

types of headaches

Causes of Stress Headaches

  1. Stress: Being stressed causes tight muscles as well as migraines. The tight muscles squeeze the nerves leading to the head, hence causing a headache. Hormones such as cortisol are also released when one is stressed. The hormone can unbalance hormone levels in the body causing headaches.
  2. Genetics: You may inherit the tendency to be prone to tension headaches easily than other when anxious or stressed out.
  3. Physical stimuli: Factors like noise, heat, cold, bright sunlight, etc.
  4. Hormones: This mainly affects women. The fluctuating hormone patterns can cause stress headaches.
  5. Eye strain: Bad eyesight or conditions that cause eye strain like sunlight result to tension headaches.
  6. Tiredness: In most cases when you are overworked, tension headaches become part of your life as a result of strain.
  7. Hunger: If you go long periods of time without eating, or aren’t getting enough nutrients, you might experience stress headaches.
  8. Muscle strain: Physical tension in the muscles of the neck and scalp
  9. Alcohol: Due to inflammation and dehydration from alcohol one is likely to have a headache. People like to refer to them as hangovers.
  10. Inflammation: Inflammatory processes in the body that pinch nerve pathways causing headaches and pain.

Symptoms of Stress Headaches

Stress headaches are known to last anywhere from thirty minutes to several days. Some of the symptoms of stress headaches:

  • Dull aching pain referred to as muscle pain
  • Tightness across the forehead
  • Sore muscles

How to Prevent Stress Headaches

1. Dietary Changes

Poor nutrition or food allergies can trigger tension headaches. This is because the body lacks certain vitamins and nutrients. Reduce alcohol and caffeine intake because they are part of the reason headaches occur.

To avoid these headaches drinks lots of water to stay hydrated and also eat a balanced diet. Go to a nutritionist who will help you determine the areas where your diet is lacking and help you improve overall health.

2. Sleep

One of the main causes of tension headaches is not getting enough sleep or sleeping too much. To avoid the headaches, set and maintain a constant sleep schedule of going to bed and waking up. Maintain a minimum of at least eight hours of continuous sleep. Seek medical help if you have insomnia or sleep interruptions to help attain a proper night’s sleep.

3. Exercise

Regular exercise helps keep headaches at bay. You don’t have to wake up and go to the gym daily, all you have to do is indulge in regular activities like jogging, brisk walking, swimming, cycling, etc. Stretching and working out have therapeutic properties.

When you exercise, hormones get pumped up through the body, while the toxins are flushed out. As a result, your mood is also elevated. Add deep breathing and meditation as part of your exercise regime, they help in stress relief and relaxation. Exercise also improves neck muscle tension and posture.

4. Keep a Diary

If you have frequent headaches, note when, where, how long the headaches last and how severe each headache feels like in a journal. Note some of the things you think could be causing the headaches. Keeping a diary will help you know which triggers to avoid.

Make sure also to note the things that helped to make the headaches better. Note what days were different, this will contribute to having clues regarding what is wrong.

5. Massage

Press the head and face at home or go to a professional. Massage helps reduce stress by removing the knots in muscles that may have built up. Massage will provide relief at a time while the muscles go back to their normal state, without toxins and harmful acids built up in them.

6. Use Essential Oils

Oils like lavender help reduce pain from headaches naturally while still providing soft and soothing aroma therapy. You could dilute the oil in boiling water and inhale slowly. You could also apply a few drops at the temples to reduce uneasiness.

Peppermint oil will help alter blood flow to the brain. You can inhale peppermint to increase blood flow and oxygen. Basil oil also relaxes tight muscles in the neck, face and shoulder area that could be causing tension pain.

Take a look at our favorite essential oils for stress.

7. Use Moist Heat

Dampen a towel with hot or warm water and place it where you feel the tension rising. For instance, if you feel the pressure arising from your neck, put the towel on the back of your neck. If you own a microwave, you could reheat the damp towel.

8. Good Posture

Always stand up or sit up straight. Make sure you have your shoulders back, chest out, head up and stomach tight. If you tend to sit all day, get a chair with good back support. Avoid stooping down when working, elevate your work station to make sure you don’t bend down so low. Always take several breaks to stretch, whether you’re sitting or standing.

9. Fish Oil Supplementation

Fish oil helps with reducing tension headaches because it acts as an anti-inflammatory. It could be effective in treating stress headaches.

10. Eat Something Spicy

Researchers have shown that capsaicin can reduce headaches. Sprinkle cayenne or pepper flakes on your food or eat some hot peppers.

11. Ice

Placing an ice pack on top of your head may relieve a headache. You can also put the ice pack on your neck.

12. Use a Humidifier

Sinuses can trigger a headache. Dry air irritates the sinuses. Use a humidifier when you sleep, it will help keep your sinuses from getting irritated.

13. Lay down in the Dark

Take a few minutes in a quiet, dark room. The sensory input is one of the best ways to stop the pounding headaches. Whether it’s during the day or night, just chill out and tune out in a dark space.

How to Treat Stress Headaches

If you keep getting stress headaches and they don’t resolve spontaneously after a short period, there are two ways you could treat a headache:

Medication

Medications are the most traditional way to treat tension headaches. Amitriptyline is a common drug used to prevent stress headaches. It is an antidepressant that you take every day with the aim of avoiding the headaches.

It can be taken slowly to avoid side effects and can be stopped once the headaches have reduced. To prevent episodic tension-type headaches from being chronic tension-based headaches, get a preventative treatment.

The aim of using medication is to reduce the intensity and frequency of the headaches. However, the headaches might not go, but they will develop less often and be less severe. Some of the common over the counter medication are ibuprofen, aspirin, and acetaminophen.

Anti-inflammatory painkillers like ibuprofen may have side effects like stomach pains. Therefore, try and study how well you get with other painkillers before trying anti-inflammatory painkillers.

Whatever medication you decide to use, always read the leaflet that comes with the packet and check the list of possible cautions and side-effects. Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers should be more cautious of the medication they take.

Therapy

If you prefer homeopathic treatments instead of medication, there are alternative therapies you can indulge in. Some of the therapies include; muscle relaxation exercises, oral appliances, stress management, acupuncture and massage therapy.

You could also use neuromuscular dentistry. It utilizes orthotics which is very useful in curing tension headaches. It helps maintain a relaxed jaw position. The headaches can also be treated with stretch techniques using vapor coolant sprays or trigger point injections.

Go to a doctor if your headaches are associated with:

  • Sudden new onset pain that you never felt before
  • Confusion
  • A stiff neck or a fever
  • Speech problems
  • Seizures
  • Head trauma
  • Inability to raise the arms above your head
  • Sudden numbness or paralysis that is unexplainable

Conclusion

Before starting any preventative medication, make sure to follow up with your headache diary and see the patterns. If a painkiller eased your headache, also record in the journal. Present the journal to a doctor if you decide to seek medical advice. If the symptoms persist, make sure to see a specialist.

How to Stop Fidgeting – 5 Simple Hacks

Do you have the urge to start fidgeting anytime you get nervous, anxious or stressed out? Whenever you’re in a tense situation, your hands and feet seem to develop a mind of their own and you just can’t seem to sit still no matter how awkward or uncomfortable you appear.

You’re not alone. Millions of people have the same habit, and like you, are constantly trying to figure out how to stop fidgeting.

Why Do People Fidget?

Fidgeting is the act of making small gestures or movements with your body, often times without even realizing it. Most people fidget because they’re uncomfortable, stressed or anxious about a situation.

Aside from nervousness, stress and anxiety, people also fidget because they’re bored or having difficulty focusing. One study suggested that fidgeting is a sign that your mind is wandering. This is often the case for children. In fact, fidgeting is actually more common in children than adults.

Unfortunately, fidgeting has a negative connotation because it suggests that you’re nervous and can be an outward sign of your anxiety. And the last thing you want when you have anxiety is for everyone around you to know about it.

why people fidget

Benefits of Fidgeting

Fidgeting isn’t all bad. While you may want to stop fidgeting, science suggests that there are some benefits to it.

  • Makes you smarter: As counterproductive as it may seem, fidgeting may actually help you better retain information. At least according to this study. Researchers found that children who fidget with their hands in class learned more quickly than those who didn’t.
  • Faster metabolism: What if fidgeting could help you burn more calories? Well, a study from Mayo Clinic found that people who fidgeted throughout the day burned an extra 350 calories!
  • Improved focus: There’s a concept called the cognitive load hypothesis. It suggests that when we’re faced with complex problems or critical thinking, physical movements (fidgeting) allows us to free up some of our mental resources to devote more of our mind to the problem at hand.
  • Increase blood flow: If you spend a majority of your day sitting in a stationary position (i.e. working a desk job) you’re likely doing a lot of damage to your arteries without even realizing it. Being sedentary for long periods of time reduces blood flow to your arteries since your body is inactive. But one study suggests fidgeting can help reverse the effects. Researchers had people sit for three hours with one leg stationary and the other fidgeting. The fidgeting leg had significantly less blood flow reduction than the stationary one.
  • Lower risk of death: By now, you’re likely aware that sitting all day increases your chances of death due to heart disease. In addition to exercise and eating healthy, one way to lower your risk of death from prolonged sitting is to fidget. According to this study, there’s an increased risk of dying from sitting seven or more hours per day only for people who were categorized as “low fidgeters.” On the flip side, people who fidgeted weren’t at an increased risk of dying.

Despite all of these benefits, the reality is fidgeting can still be very awkward, disruptive and embarrassing at times.

The inability to sit still during a meeting, date, job interview or other potentially stressful situations can be awkward and even limit your personal and professional life. The last thing you want is to be looked over for a new job because the interviewer feels you’re unable to be calm under pressure.

So with that said, what can you do to stop fidgeting once and for all?

How to Stop Fidgeting

Here are five simple tips to stop fidgeting:

1. Fold Your Hands

If you tend to fidget with your hands, one of the best things you can do is to fold your hands.

folded hands stop fidgeting

Some people will suggest that you cross your arms or ball up your hands, but that is very intimidating and off-putting body language. Folding your hands however, makes you seem less aggressive and closed off, and more attentive.

This is a great way to stop fidgeting in professional environments like a meeting or job interview, because folding your hands is casual enough to not make it seem like you’re being overly-formal, but more professional than shoving your hands in your pockets or fidgeting.

If you’re standing, you can fold your hands and hold them around your torso area. Take a look at Ally’s posture while speaking in our video about social anxiety. By simply folding her hands she looks relaxed, calm and confident.

2. Avoid Sugar and Caffeine

If you tend to get hyperactive and filled with energy when you’re nervous or anxious, you probably start to fidget as a result. That’s why one of the worst things fidgeters can do is consume high amounts of coffee or sugar.

There’s a reason millions of Americans rely on coffee to have enough energy to make it throughout the day. It’s meant to be a stimulant and energy booster. While that might help you sometimes when you’re just trying to get through a day, it can really kick your fidgeting habit into overdrive.

For most people, you probably won’t want to quit coffee or sugar cold turkey, because you’ll open yourself up to a wide range of withdrawal symptoms. But for days when you know you’re going to be doing something you’re stressed or anxious about, minimize your consumption.

So how much is too much? Well, the general consensus is that 400mg of caffeine(about four cups a day) is enough for the average person.

3. The Rubber Band Technique

One of the oldest “hacks” to break habits like smoking, nail biting or fidgeting is the rubber band method. Here’s how it works:

  1. Put a rubber band loosely around your wrist. You don’t want it to be skin tight.
  2. Whenever you start to fidget, snap the rubber band on your wrist.
  3. Over time, you’ll start to associate the discomfort of the rubber band with fidgeting and hopefully correct the behavior.

On average, it takes around 18-30 days to develop or break a habit. So don’t expect to stop fidgeting after using the rubber band method after a day or even a week. You need to be consistent, and over time you’ll train your brand to stop fidgeting.

If you want a modern twist to the rubber band technique, you can give Pavlok a try. It’s a similar concept, except it’s a band that you wear around your wrist, kind of like a FitBit. It comes with an app, that you can use to send small zaps to the wristband whenever you get the urge to fidget.

One cool thing about Pavlok is their 5 minutes for 5 days habit challenge. Essentially, you do the habit you’re trying to break (fidgeting) for five minutes a day for five days. Then use Pavlok during those five minutes. According to their testimonials, many users were able to break long time habits with the challenge, so it’s definitely worth a try.

4. Practice Mindfulness

You’ve probably heard of mindfulness at one point or another by now. Mindfulness is the practice of being in the moment and aware of your senses.

Often times, people fidget because they’re unable to focus or their minds wander around. If you have trouble focusing, the thought of keeping your mind calm enough to center in on a single moment can seem impossible. But research shows mindfulness can be exactly what you need.

There are several ways to practice mindfulness, including yoga, meditation or even a new trend called forest bathing. Check out our guide to mindfulness based stress reduction as well.

If you’re new to mindfulness and aren’t sure where to start, check out this bookfrom biochemist Mark Williams, and psychologist Danny Penman. Not only does it break down what mindfulness is, it walks you through how to put mindfulness into practice in just a few minutes a day, in plain english. It’s probably one of the most practical books about mindfulness there is.

5. Try Fidget Toys

Last but certainly not least, you can always give fidget toys a try. We have a complete guide to the top fidget toys for adults, which has a little something for everyone.

While fidget spinners and cubes may have seemed like a fad, the reality is they’ve helped a lot of people cope with their fidgeting habits. They’ve also made fidgeting more acceptable and “mainstream.” You seem them all over offices and even in schools today. And since they’re fun, there’s less of a negative stigma attached to them.