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[Professional Development]

How to Reduce Stress While You’re at Your Desk

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

How to Manage Stress Better at Work

Given that you’ve clicked on this article, I’m rather assuming you’re experiencing a bit of stress right now, right? 

Or you have experienced it recently? 

So, how do you combat stress when it strikes? 

Well, we’ve been there. We know exactly how debilitating it can be when you’re sitting at your desk surrounded by work and overcome with stress. 

At Life Ladder, our personal development experts help our members learn how to manage stress and more importantly gain more resilience to prevent its negative impacts. 

Well-being is so important for all employees; however, we recognise how tough it can be to find the time to invest in yourself to help manage stress levels. Therefore this article has been written to help you have some tips and resources to manage stress better while at your desk. 

We’re going to explain some mind management approaches to stress, however even having some personal photos at your desk can make a difference (The Financial Times has a great article on this too). 

1. Notice What Triggers Your Stress Response

The first step is awareness. You need to recognise what stresses you out and the situations that cause you to feel stressed. 

To do this, it’s really useful to make a note of anything that’s happened that has caused you to experience a stress response. If you do that for a few days and look back over everything you’ve made a note of, you’ll see a pattern. 

You might be thinking, why would I want to focus on stress? We hear you. 

The key to change is awareness, so your willingness to make a decision to address this will start the process. ‘Decision’ is one of our seven steps in our unique Life Ladder Subconscious Catalyst System (SCS) approach, because when you manage the power of subconscious decisions, you can change your wellbeing, happiness and your results. 

There could be a particular context that the stress occurs in, or some form of theme flowing throughout your week that causes you stress. 

Once you’ve made note of that, you can consider how you can make different choices or take alternative action to reduce the amount of times you experience this trigger. 

The best way to do this is to work on your internal world so that the triggers will no longer faze you, but this is easier said than done! It’s not the kind of thing that’s easy to do alone, however with persistence, you’ve got this! 

Our experts have provided personal development coaching for countless numbers of people and sometimes, just raising awareness activates change. 

Tracking what’s happening makes us aware of our internal programming and gives us the tools to change the way we’re wired. This works for changing bad habits, improving stress management, and a huge array of other things. 

You don’t need to see a practitioner to see improvements. Many people think they need to pay for costly coaching programmes to manage stress. There is no question that quality coaching makes a great impact, however it isn’t necessary for change, you can do it with the right daily habits

If you want to completely eliminate your triggers, we’d recommend making personal development a lifestyle like we do with Life Ladder. As we say many times, if you go to the gym once, you won’t get fit. To have a happy, healthy mind, you have to look after it regularly, just as you do the body. 

The important thing is to understand your triggers and make choices that take you away from them, such as doing tasks at different times or in different seats. 

“How isn’t it a problem?” 

Stress usually comes from perceiving something as a problem. 

Challenge your mind to consider how it isn’t a problem. 

For example, if the problem is a delay, what does the delay enable you to do which you otherwise may not have been able to do? 

When you view a situation from different angles it helps your mind to combat stress. Just as there is day, there’s also night. There’s always a contrast, you just have to notice it. 

For every stressful situation you come across that causes you anxiety, if you look closely enough, there will always be a different way to view it. 

For example: 

“I’m stressed because there are lots of people off ill today” 

This can be viewed from the following angles: 

People are taking the time to rest today. When they return, they’ll be more efficient and energetic. 

They won’t get worse as they’re resting rather than pushing through. 

They’re not at 100% capacity. They could make critical errors that create risks for the company, so it’s good they’re not working if they’re not up to the task. 

They’re staying home and therefore not spreading germs around the office, causing more people to be sick. 

The team will pull together to respond to this challenge and you’ll have a chance to see who shines and find out who you can rely on to help with work in the future. 

Compared to what could happen, or is happening in the world, it’s not a problem. 

We could probably go on, but we think we’ve made the point! 

There are always different ways of viewing a situation and that’s quite liberating for the mind. As human beings we don’t like being trapped in a box. 

Stress is a lot like entrapment. You see a problem without a way out, causing a closed in feeling. When you view it from all angles, you open that lid and step outside the box. You’re in control of it, rather than it being in control of you.  You have control over your response.

There are other questions you can ask yourself to steer your mind to view it differently. These are: 

  • How wasn’t it a problem before? 
  • How won’t it be a problem in the future? 
  • What won’t happen as a result of the problem? 

These may sound a little clunky and phrased oddly, but they’re designed to evoke response from the subconscious. 

2. Reduce Stress by Tuning Into Different Feelings 

unstressed woman holding white ceramic mug at desk

Photo by Jopwell from Pexels

Stress is something everyone wants to avoid, so what would you want to replace it with instead? 

Love? Joy? Happiness? Confidence? Power? 

What would make you feel really good right now? 

As an example, we’ll say you picked joy. 

Can you recall a time when you felt abundant joy? Do any memories pop-up? 

What was it like? Really try and embrace what it feels like to be filled with complete joy. 

What do you see, hear, and feel? 

In doing this process, your mind steps away from the stress. It creates new pictures, feelings, and mind-states. What people often don’t realise is that they hold a wealth of resources inside of them, just waiting to be used. 

Once you’ve made the conscious decision to think back to that memory, your body will recreate those sensations. That joy will travel back to you and get inside of your mind. 

Just thinking about it isn’t enough. You need to imagine what you were seeing at the time, what you were hearing, and what you were feeling. What was it really like? How do you know you felt joy? 

In mind management terms we call this getting associated. You need to get inside of it so you’re experiencing it again in your mind. 

This triggers a neurological reaction in your body that negates the stress. 

An anchor is a way of connecting that state to something that makes the association in your mind. For example, red means stop, green means go. Your holiday picture on your desk may immediately trigger an internal state of calm or happiness. Seeing a particular word may remind you of a memory you found particularly funny. We have so many anchors, when we use them consciously, we can start to control our internal responses.  

Anchoring is something you can experiment with. As you access that feeling and you’re within the mind-state, press down on a certain part of your hand or your knee. 

Then, as soon as the joy starts to subside, stop pressing down. 

Connect with it again, and once you’re fully in the state of joy, press down again. Hold it for as long as the state lasts. 

Repeat it a few times and the mind will eventually connect that part of you with joy. From then on, whenever you press on that area you’ll be flooded with those same feelings. 

It’s not easy to do yourself. However, you can certainly start practising and connecting with a more resourceful place within your mind. Whether you create an anchor or not, by thinking about more joyful moments in your life you’ll already help yourself through a stressful day. 

The marketing world also know about the principle of anchoring and how the mind works, which is explained by Business 2 Community. 

Your mind will be snapped out of the anxiety and stress and think of something different; this is called a pattern interrupt. By default, this will help to release the feeling of entrapment. 

3. Get Present to Free Your Mind from Stress 

You’ve probably heard of the word ‘mindfulness’ spread across the internet recently. No, this isn’t just lighting some candles and writing in a journal. It’s a way to consciously control your mind-states and allow you more control over your life. 

For some, this may be candles and writing, in the personal development world, it’s similar to something called The Hakalau (also known as The Learning State, or The Now State) we elaborate on this in Life Ladder's professional & personal development journey

The Hakalau is an expanded state which blocks out the past and the future, allowing you to remain entirely in the present. This means you are not worried about the future or past, you are simply in the present moment where anything is possible. 

When you’re in the present, no problem can exist. You’re not thinking of consequences or how you got there. You have the ability to do absolutely anything – it’s a place of pure possibility. 

You don’t have the usual pattern of your mind firing anxieties and concerns at you. 

You’re free and aware of everything around you. 

As we go about our day to day life, many of us barely notice what’s in front of us. Our minds block us with our thoughts, memories, decisions, and mind-states. You can easily miss what’ s right under your nose! 

When you develop this state, you can become acutely aware of everything. Your mind can absorb everything in the present moment through your sensory channels, leaving no space of unwanted thoughts. 

I hope you’ve found this article useful and you can start enjoying the benefits of managing your mind and eliminating stress.