Hack Stress before It can Hacks You

According to 'Staying@Work' survey that was conducted years back by Towers Watson, it was found that Indian employees top in suffering from work-related stress. 1 in every 3rd employee suffers stress at workplace due to unclear or conflicting job expectations, inadequate staffing (lack of support, uneven workload in the group) and lack of work/life balance.

These are just stress factors that cause from the workplace, apart from that Indians suffer from stress due to driving through a traffic jam, financial crunch, kid’s school fees, EMI payments etc.

Today relationship & marriage counsellor Shivani Misri Sadhoo shares some important tips to employees on how to hack their stress before stress can affect their emotional and physical health.

1. Don’t Forget to Have Fun

This is the most basic and easiest way to reduce your stress level.  It sounds simple, but many people don’t practice it enough.  Having fun does not means going after short term pleasure activities like drinking alcohol, going to discos etc . Rather go for activities that can add any value to life like spending quality time with your wife and kids, do some creative work like cooking, practicing hobbies or weekend traveling etc.

2. Monitor your Heart Rate Variability

A healthy, relaxed person has high heart rate variability (HRV) which means that amount of time between each heart beat is different with each beat.  Low heart rate variability is a sign of intense stress.  When your sympathetic nervous system is under stress, your body will release stress hormones, and your heart develops an inflexible unchanging beat. This state is correlated with a host of diseases and even overall mortality from all causes.

Today there are a lot of smart watches and fitness gears that offer Heart Rate monitoring in the market, if possible have one.  Use your fitness band or smart watch to check your Heart rate regularly and whenever it’s high, take 10 minutes break from your work , pick up an immediate activity and try to get relaxed.  .You can also listen to music to help, meditate, or do anything else you can think of that doesn’t make you move around a lot.

3. Meditation
Meditation allows you to identify, observe, and master your emotions.  Instead of blindly reacting to outside stimuli, you can optimize your thought process and react as you see fit.
You can reduce the amount of stress you experience through mindfulness of your thoughts and feelings.  At the same time, you become better and are able to cope with the stress you still face.

4. Practice Breathing Exercise

The primary role of breathing is to absorb oxygen and to expel carbon dioxide through the movement of the lungs. Muscles that control the movement of the lungs are the diaphragm (a sheet of muscle underneath the lungs) and the muscles between the ribs. 

When a person is under stress, their breathing pattern changes; an anxious person takes small, shallow breaths, using their shoulders rather than their diaphragm to move air in and out of their lungs. This style of breathing disrupts the balance of gasses in the body. 

Shallow over-breathing, or hyperventilation, can prolong feelings of anxiety by making the physical symptoms of stress worse. Breathing exercises can help to improve some of these symptoms.