Written by Jim McNerney Coaching Team

It’s not uncommon to feel stressed out at work. In fact, the American Institute of Stress reports that as many as 40% of American employees consider their jobs to be highly stressful, and more than 25% report their jobs as being their primary sources of stress in life.

Stress at work can not only make one’s personal life more difficult but also make work more challenging. Stress can make it seem like nothing is getting done and deadlines are looming larger than they should, which creates what is essentially a feedback loop of steadily increasing stress.

You should know how to decompress and relieve stress, but this doesn’t only apply to your personal time at home after a day at the office. De-stressing is also possible at work.

Try the following action steps to alleviate your stress levels and be more productive during your workday.

Take Breaks

Many employers have mandated break times while others are more flexible. A good rule to follow is that once you start feeling overstressed and overwhelmed, take advantage of any time you have available to step away. Ask your boss for a long lunch or simply take time during your break to do something for yourself, whether it’s a fresh cup of coffee or a light snack. If possible, try to take a ten-minute break every two hours.

Realign Your Focus

Stress levels will certainly rise if you feel like you’re spread too thin across your various work-related obligations. If you feel like you have too much on your plate, take a moment to check your priorities. A quick reorganization of your pressing tasks can help you refocus your attention on what’s most important and then work through your obligations in order of priority.

Once you have a handle on what’s most pressing and can feel more at ease about focusing on one thing over another, this should help lower your stress levels.

Shield Yourself from Negativity

Friction is bound to appear in every workplace. Some personalities simply clash while breakdowns in communication can easily lead to misunderstandings and subsequent stress for everyone involved. However, direct negativity can be incredibly stressful for anyone to deal with at work.

If you’re having a difficult time at work due to the stress a coworker or someone else is causing at your job, distance yourself from the situation as much as possible without interfering with your job duties. If office politics are causing you stress, defuse these tense situations with honest conversations to see if you and the others involved can move past them professionally.

Be Mindful and Anchor Yourself

Mindfulness exercises are fantastic for anyone trying to cope with workplace stress. It’s as simple as taking a moment to do a few deep breaths, paying close attention to your inhalations and exhalations. This seemingly simple exercise helps calm your body and mind. You can do it virtually any time, even when you’re interacting with others. Breathing deeply and rooting yourself in the moment can help bring things into focus and provide you with the clarity you need to work through your stress.

Stress is the root cause of many different health issues and learning how to handle stress in healthy ways can not only make your work easier but also improve your overall health. If you’ve been having a tough time at work, put a few of these tips into practice and see if you can start managing your stress more effectively so it doesn’t interfere with your career or your health.