3 Ways to Stress Less at Your Desk

How can you make your workspace work for you?

Thursday, 2:25 PM — You’re working on a project that has a Friday deadline. Co-workers sent information to you later than promised, so you’re feeling a little behind. You happen to take a quick glance at your inbox. The 2 unread emails have all of a sudden turned into 86 unread emails. At the same time, your phone starts to ring, and someone from your team comes over to ask a budget question. Feeling slightly stressed yet?

When you’re pulled in multiple directions (especially unexpectedly) it can be hard to get your concentration back. Instead of just focusing on the project, you are now thinking about returning that person’s call, helping your team find the right answer, and responding to all those emails. It can be hard to place priority on what comes next when your mind is rushing — and even harder to maintain complete presence and focus on. I use the below techniques to help settle down both my mind and body, and it allows me to regain control of the situation.

  1. Take 3–5 really deep, slow breaths. Breathe in through your nose slowly. Feel your rib cage expand and then compress. The deep breaths will help in a few ways: it will change your focus which gives you a chance to reset, your muscles will relax, your blood pressure will go down, and you will provide more oxygen to your body — thus giving you more energy and concentration
  2. Scan your body. Take a few minutes (or even seconds) to notice how your body is feeling in that moment. Are you hunched over your desk? Sit up straight! Take a moment to ground yourself and realize where you are. Notice how you feet feel on the floor, and how your hand feels on the mouse. This can help bring you back to the present moment. If you have longer than a few minutes you can find a great body scan here
  3. Focus on your immediate task. Take a few minutes to place priority on your to-do items, and then solely focus on whats at the top of the list. Sometimes I will say to myself “ once you finish this next set of slides, you can check your email” or “call back x so you can concentrate on finishing the project” This allows me to feel more in control of both my emotions and the situation, and helps me realize that I will get everything addressed

Like meditation practice, if at any time you find your mind wandering while you are practicing the three tips, just acknowledge the fact that you’ve drifted and bring yourself back to the techniques.

In the end, the best thing to do when overwhelmed at work is to take a step back. You owe it to yourself to take a few moments to regain composure, and to remind yourself that you are more than capable to tackle the rest of this day!

Originally published at medium.com

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

MicroStockHub/ Getty Images

Inbox Zero is a Waste of Time (Better Email Habits That Will Help You Save Effort, Time, And Money)

by Thomas Oppong

400 Tips To Master Your Email and Have a Stress-Free Inbox

by Yitzi Weiner
Westend61/Getty Images

Stop Using The Weekend To Play Catch Up. 5 Ways To Refocus During The Week So You Can Actually Enjoy Your Time Off

by Peter Swaniker

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.