Stress at the Office? The Cause Might Not Be What You Think
Are you experiencing stress at the office? Perhaps you uncontrollably lose it when your computer crashes, or your coworkers make you want to tear your hair out. Stress can arise as anxiety before meetings, deadlines, or presentations.
When stressed, it’s difficult to sleep and feelings of anger and impatience are quick to come to the forefront. While it’s easy to point to the office as a source of stress, the real cause might not be what you think.
Job Stress as Stand-In
It’s easy for us to point to our jobs as the source of our stress or to use relationships in the office as a placeholder for what’s making us crazy. When we rant to others, feel overwhelmed, tired, or frustrated, to blame it on our workload or our co-workers is convenient, safe, and relatable.
To be stressed from busy-ness has become a source of pride in a society that values hard work, doggedness, and the hustle. And yet, there are those who can hustle without feeling anxious, and there’s always someone with a similar or even more demanding job, who doesn’t share the same sleeplessness you do.
What makes those people different? They understand the real cause of stress.
The Real Cause of Stress
In moments of stress, it’s important to recognize that stress isn’t sent to you by the job or a co-worker. The sensation of stress can only arise from within you.
For example, what makes one person read an email and experience panic and stress, while another reads the same email and gets excited, while yet another feels little of anything? Any reaction is possible because the stress isn’t sent via email, it’s a product of your perspective.
Taking a moment to understand that perspective by checking in with what you’re thinking and feeling can help you locate the true cause of your stress. Is it fear of failure? Fear of financial hardship? Fear of not being liked in the meeting, or of being critiqued after the presentation? Once you find the storyline, follow it back to its origins, as far back as you can.
When you recognize that stress comes from nowhere other than your own perspective, you are empowered to change the one thing you can – yourself.
As long as you’re trapped in thinking the office is the source of your stress, you’ll keep turning to the wrong fix. If only the boss would stop acting that way if only there was less traffic on the commute if only that one coworker would behave differently. None of these solutions are within your control.
When you understand the real cause of stress, you’ll turn to more effective ways of coping. Rather than expecting the world around you to change, you change yourself. Take more time for self-care, including exercise, yoga, or meditation. Seek help if you need it, or talk to a trusted friend about your deepest fears. By saying them out loud, you take away their power.
The Heart Focused Breathing Technique is also very effective in reducing stress. Why? Because it changes you. As the first step in getting coherent, Heart Focused Breathing reminds you where stress is really coming from. You. By combining the simple act of focusing on
the heart area with a deeper level of breathing, you draw energy away from your distressing thoughts and feelings.
Among the benefits of Heart-Centered Breathing, is that it can be practiced anywhere; in the office, on your commute, or even in your next meeting. This eyes-open technique helps you feel grounded, centered, and present in just a few cycles of breath.
By taking the time to reconnect with yourself, you reconnect to that place within you that can handle those emails stress-free.
Learn more about how to practice this technique for office stress, on the job stress, or anytime stress here:
Here is a video of me walking through the technique: