According to Duke Universitys Jeffrey Brantley, M.D., author of Five Good Minutes at Work, when were stressed, its because our minds get hijacked by worry and what-if scenarios. We lose our ability to concentrate and function efficiently. These simple strategies can help you get back on track, no matter whats causing your angst.
If You're Feeling Overwhelmed:
Hold on a minute. Before diving right into your inbox, take a time-out to drain the strain that can show up in your neck and shoulders, says Dr. Brantley.
Take five: Sit at the edge of your chair with your feet shoulder-width apart and upper body leaning forward past your knees. Hang your arms loosely at your sides. Raise your eyes to the ceiling, then slowly tilt your head back as far as you can. Gradually bring your chin forward to drop to your chest. Return to starting position, your chin parallel to the floor. Finally, draw both shoulders up toward your ears, then quickly release them. Repeat this sequence for five minutes.
If You're Feeling Dissatisfied:
Step back mentally. Feeling frustrated about a setback on the job? Try this exercise to help you let go of any negative thoughts fast. It will allow you to refocus again on the practical tasks ahead, advises Dr. Brantley.
Take five: First ask yourself, Are these negative thoughts helping me in any way? What are the other ways I can see my situation? Next, gaze at an object on your desk that makes you feel calm or happy such as a favorite photo or a plant. Now observe your breathing pattern, concentrating on your inhalations and exhalations. Remain in this introspective state for three to five minutes.
If You're Feeling Lethargic:
Stretch away. Have the late-afternoon blahs that no amount of joe can fix? Get your body moving, recommends Dr. Brantley. It will increase the flow of oxygen-rich blood throughout your body to boost your energy level and make you motivated to move on with your tasks.
Take five: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Breathe deeply into your belly. Reach toward the ceiling with your right arm, keeping your left side completely relaxed. Gently bend toward your left, maintaining a straight right arm. Hold stretch for up to 30 seconds. Breathe in deeply. Switch sides. Repeat for three to five times on each side.