Tag Archives: coping skills

Everyone needs a quickie – a quick meditation to reduce stress

No time for meditation?
We all need a few good breaths.

  • Most folks today lead hectic lives.
  • Most folks today could use some time for peaceful, quiet meditation.
  • Most folks today don’t have time to turn down the lights, put up their feet, turn on some peaceful music or a meditation CD and take 20 to 30 minutes out of their day to center themselves.
  • Most folks today need to recharge so they don’t over-stress and send cortisol racing through their bodies to wreak havoc on their health.

Here is a quick breathing exercise you can use to take control over your stress and recharge your batteries for the rest of the day. It even works as you sit in your car in your driveway for a few extra minutes before rejoining your family for the evening.

Why breathing? It’s easy, and you already know how to do it.

  • Sit comfortably in your chair, or, if you can, lie on the floor.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Breathe in deeply through your nose to the count of five. (Choose whatever count works for you…don’t obsess about how much air you can pull into your body.)
  • Hold it for the same count you used drawing breath in.
  • Blow it out gently through your mouth, again using the same count you used to breathe it in.

As you do this several times, visualize your lungs filling with lovely fresh oxygen as you breathe in. Imagine the good, fresh breath exchanging with the old, tired air in your lungs. Finally, gently blow the used air out through your mouth, visualizing your lungs empty and ready for the next cleansing breath.

This works, even if you only have time to do it two or three times. Try it…it might turn out to be your favorite quickie coping skill.

Are you a fixer? Check out this article on the Macgyver Syndrome.

Stress in the Workplace

Take this job and love it? Not how you’re feelin’ it?

In Coping with Stress in the Workplace we learn that too much stress in the workplace can interfere with productivity and motivation, can make employees dislike a job they once loved, and can impact an employee’s (and employer’s) mental, emotional and physical health. Even the perfect job has stressful deadlines and other seemingly unreasonable expectations.

Some of the outcomes of stress in the workplace include:

• Increased absenteeism
• Decreased productivity
• Increased health insurance claims
• Decreased motivation, energy among employees
• Heightened body reactions creating physical illness
• Increased unhealthy eating habits
• Increased concern about layoffs
• Increased poor cognitive decision making
• Increased job turnover among employees
• Increased family problems among employees
• Increased fear of effects of management changes
• Increased conflict among employees
• Worry about budget cuts

Stress is experienced in the workplace in three primary ways. Stress from one of these sources can be difficult to overcome, but stress from more than one can be debilitating.

Stress generated from within a person: Stress can be self-imposed through low self-esteem, anger, feelings of hopelessness, feelings of helplessness, anxiety, excessive negativity, the need to be in total control, perfectionistic tendencies, jealousy, and hostility.

Stress generated from the environment: Stress can be felt from the result of the work environment including overly demanding supervisors, low pay, poor working conditions, noisy work environments, too many commitments required for the work being done, long hours, lack of technology for employees to accomplish the work, lack of a safe place to work, whining co-workers, and complaining customers. Any of these external stressors can negatively affect the job performance of an employee. For example, a person who must work with an abrasive supervisor will feel uncomfortable most of the work day.

Stress from a poor job fit: Sometimes stress is felt by employees who do not have a good fit between their interests and skills and the demands of their jobs. Many people find that a good job fit is critical in being productive and being able to cope with stress. For example, a person who is not satisfied working a repetitive job may find a lot less stress in a job that is creative and flexible.

How do we get rid of stress in the workplace?

Kimberly Petrosino, Health Coach, Author and Heart Health Advocate has some suggestions to turn around the stress laden remarks we often get from co-workers when we return from a holiday. Her favorite holiday is Christmas…she loves it and everything that goes along with it. She asks:

Why is it that upon returning to the office after Christmas, my heart brimming with joy and love, I’m greeted with a chorus of “Thank goodness THAT’S over with.” “I’m exhausted.” “I’m broke.” “Now I have to go back to the stores and return everything.” WHAT? As a member of the cubicle community, I suggest we all reassess (our answers). Here are a few tips:

1. When someone asks you how your weekend was, instead of saying “Too fast, and now here we are again” just politely say “It was nice, and how was yours?”
2. Give people compliments every day! It may feel weird at first, but you’ll get used to it! When you make someone feel good, you’ll feel good too.
3. When you feel stress forming around you, take a moment to check in with yourself. Find your inner peace. Take a deep breath, and continue on. Don’t get caught up in the chaos around you.
4. Keep a special quote handy or post a keyword that always brings you back to center. I have the word “balance” written on a post-it and taped to the side of my computer monitor. If I feel the anxiety coming on, I look at it and remember to breathe and stay calm.
5. If your schedule permits it, don’t try to run all of your errands on your lunch break. Take a walk and get some fresh air. This is the time for a mid-day reset, not a race to see how many items you can cross off your to-do list in one hour.

Retrieved from the Huffington Post, April 4, 2016.

Great ideas for an easy fix. We need to hone our coping skills so that job stress becomes manageable. As authors Leutenberg and Liptak suggest in Coping with Stress in the Workplace, journaling can help. If you are stress-prone and a situation has made you feel upset or angry, try this:

Describe the situation that caused you stress.

Write abut what feelings you experienced? Anger, anxiety, disappointment, frustration, rage, stress, or something else. Take a couple of deep breaths. Practice breathing in through your nose and letting your breath out through your mouth.

From your past , recall and re-experience a positive event and the feelings associated with it.

Think and write about this positive event.

What feelings did you have during that positive experience? Love, devotion, compassion, exhilaration, patience, acceptance, appreciation, kindness, or something else.

Concentrate on those good feelings instead of the negative feelings you were experiencing. Bring them to mind when something stressful occurs at work.Coping with Stress in the Workplace

Keep checking our blog. More stress coping skills for the workplace is coming soon.

Need a resource about Workplace Stress? Try Coping with Stress in the Workplace by Ester Leutenberg and John Liptak, PhD.

Coping 101

Coping skills for distress are different for all of us. They seem to come naturally, but at one point and time, each coping skill was new and different. You found it effective, so you kept doing it until it became second nature to you. Stress reducers are healthy, but some of our coping skills come at a price that makes them unhealthy. The economics of coping are simple. Some skills work, but come at a price, such as drinking. It may help you forget your troubles, but can cost headaches, embarrassment, loss of productivity, irritation, or even organ damage. Screaming, taking a bath, or yelling are also solutions people use, but these are instant-gratification fixes; they work fast but don’t last long. Low-cost, high-yielding coping skills are things such as talking with a friend or exercising.

You may find not all coping skills work for you, or that they don’t work after time. If you’re reading this, sucking your thumb won’t make you feel better anymore. Also, not all coping habits are helpful in all situations. If you cope by sleeping, then it won’t help when you shut down in the middle of a crisis. It’s hard to let go of old, comforting skills; but you can change them if you want to. First, decide to do it! Then take it one step at a time and make your new skills as natural as cuddling a blankie was when you were a child.

  • What kind of skills would you like to try?
  • Do you have unhealthy coping skills?
  • What skills would you like to phase out?