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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Stressful Workplace? Remember to Breathe

In a prior blog post, I discussed the boss who is a bully in the workplace (Are You a Bully at Work?).  Today, I'd like to focus on stress management in a stressful work environment. Aside from bullying bosses, there are many other potential stressors that can be detrimental to your health, well being, and your relationships with your loved ones. Knowing what works for you with regard to destressing is crucial when you work in a stressful work environment.

Stressful Workplace? Remember to Breathe

Stress at Work
For many people who are fortunate enough to have a job in this long recession, the fear of losing one's job is never far away. Even if you work in the most ideal work environment with the most supportive boss and congenial coworkers, given the economy, the potential for losing your job is a common workplace stressor.

I've often heard people these days talk about being extra cautious about taking off sick days. Other people become anxious, when they go on vacation, about what might go wrong with their projects while they're away.

Some people have even shortened their vacations because they're too anxious to stay away from the workplace for any length of time. When we look at this in a calmer, more rational way, we can see this is counterproductive. But for someone who fears that something bad could come up while he or she is away, this is a very real dilemma. So, given our current economic times, you can be under a lot of stress even in the most even the ideal workplace setting.

But most people aren't working in ideal workplace settings. They're dealing with difficult or bullying bosses or uncooperative coworkers and a myriad of other workplace stressors. So, no matter what type of workplace you go to every workday, it's essential that you have a stress management regime that works for you. Finding out what works best for you might take some exploration, trial and error, and an openness to trying new things.

Square Breathing to De-stress at Work
One simple thing that anyone can do is to remember to breathe. I know that, on the face of it, this might sound odd. After all, we all have to breathe in order to survive. But many people, without realizing it, hold their breathe for periods of time or they breathe in a way that's so shallow that they're not getting enough oxygen into their systems. Poor breathing habits can cause panic attacks. A steady flow of breathing can help you to discharge stressful energy.

Stressful Workplace? Remember to Breathe

I often recommend to clients that they practice rhythmic breathing where they breathe in to the count of 4, hold for 4, breathe out for 4, and then hold out to the count of 4, and then repeat the cycle of a few more times. This is called Square Breathing. The count doesn't so much matter--you can do it to the count of 5 or 6 or whatever feels comfortable that's more than 4. The important thing is to do all breathing in, out, and holding to the same count.

People are often amazed at how calming this can be. And, it's relatively easy so most people can do it fairly easily.

Developing your own ways to destress in a stressful workplace is essential. Square Breathing is one technique that can help.

I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, Somatic Experiencing and EMDR therapist.  I work with individuals and couples.


To find out more about me, visit my website:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist


To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006 or email me.

Also see my blog post:  An Internal Retreat 





2 comments:

LeaMikhaela said...

if we are all stress we need to take a break and have a fresh air to breath..have some meditation or just have a good sleep and pamper yourself..wear always a happy face it can also get rid of those stress that you have

Josephine Ferraro, LCSW said...

Thanks for your comment LeaMikhaela. I agree with you that fresh air, meditation, and self care can be very helpful when you're feeling stressed out.