stay calm

How to Calm Stress and Organize Your Thoughts

Productivity writer Kayla Matthews shares how to stay calm and be productive using proven techniques for stress management.

Everyone feels overwhelmed from time to time, and our fast-paced society is partially to blame. A day at the office means feeling pulled in all directions while trying to satisfy supervisors, meet deadlines and make progress on tasks. These stressful situations can bleed over into home life, too, and you may deal with a head full of racing thoughts while cooking dinner, helping your child with homework or tidying your home.

It’s impossible to get rid of stress entirely and clear your head from overwhelming thoughts, but the good news is this: there are many evidence-backed ways to feel more at ease and enjoy greater mental clarity. Keep reading to learn about several of them.

Listen to Music

If your work allows for it, consider grabbing a pair of earbuds and listening to music the next time you feel under pressure. Research shows songs with a tempo of about 60 beats per minute cause the brain to synchronize with alpha brainwaves, which induces calmness. You can also find meditative music specifically designed to help you clear your head. Try listening to some tracks on YouTube or Spotify to find playlists that really help you de-stress.

Have a Chat With Your Boss

When workplace stress reaches a consistently high level, you’re at risk for suffering from occupation burnout, which includes symptoms ranging from a lack of motivation to extreme exhaustion. Those ailments are often accompanied by a feeling of cynicism, which means you may be under the impression that things will never get better and the only thing you can do is continue to endure the strain.

If you’re struggling to handle the pressure at work, make sure you speak to your boss about the way you feel as soon as possible. Remember, it’s your boss’s job to help you manage your workload and operate in a productive environment. Discussing the matter may feel overwhelming, but your boss will most likely be relieved to hear how you feel so they can help to manage your stressors.

The alternative to speaking up early is letting your work stress you to breaking point, when you’ll quit. This is something your company definitely doesn’t want. Statistics say the cost to find an employee’s replacement is 30% of that employee’s salary, and that doesn’t even include non-financial costs, such as the fact that other employees may feel extra stressed while bearing the burden of their recently departed team member, and edge towards occupational burnout themselves.

During the conversation, your superior might realize they expect you to take on an unrealistic amount of responsibility, which is making it hard to keep your head clear. Alternatively, maybe it’ll come to light that your schedule doesn’t mesh well with another part of life, such as childcare obligations, which is causing you to feel stressed before you ever get to work.

Occupational experts suggest you avoid giving the impression you’re merely an ungrateful employee by approaching your boss with solutions, rather than just gripes. The reason you’re having this conversation with your boss may stem from frustration you feel over your disorganized thoughts.

However, it’s crucial to come to the meeting with a confident attitude and think clearly so you can communicate how your boss can help the situation. More than likely, he or she is feeling similarly overwhelmed, but possibly for different reasons.

Go for a Short Walk Outside

You may already know that exercise is a great natural stress reliever, but studies have shown taking walks outside is an especially beneficial activity for keeping your mood upbeat. Research indicates people who rarely spend time outside have a higher likelihood of suffering from psychological problems. Plus, one study showed walking for a short time in a place such as a park caused people to feel happier and more attentive compared to subjects who took walks near areas of heavy vehicular traffic. It’s not surprising that some of the greatest minds in history took long walks.

Many cities purposefully create and maintain green spaces for people to go when they need urban escapes. Seek those out in your town and enjoy them as a healthy method of getting your thoughts in order and feeling better about life.

Hopefully it’s clear now that you don’t have to simply tolerate constant stress and racing thoughts. The strategies above should help you make noticeable progress in reducing both of those problems, and become more productive at work and home as a result.

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