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Here’s How Your Body Reacts To Work Stress
Post Series: Featured
  • 1.Here’s How Your Body Reacts To Work Stress

A third of all sick days from your job can be attributed to work stress, so learn to rewire your body’s responses and survive – and thrive! – in your nine to five career.

Practising mindfulness can help alleviate work stress

Calm yourself

When your body senses a threat – whether that’s a shadowy figure or a looming deadline aka work stress – it floods your brain with adrenaline and cortisol, readying you for fight or flight. The best remedy? Put this hormonal surge to its intended use: a 20-minute run will utilise excess adrenaline and ease muscle tension.

Crunch time

Work stress triggers the hunger-blocking hormone CRH. But, over time, elevated cortisol levels can have the opposite effect. “People eat to reduce anxiety,”says psychologist Dr Frank Bond. So snack smart with almonds, which are packed with stress-busting magnesium.

Take your mind off it

Brain fog descends as work stress disengages the prefrontal cortex, making it harder to think rationally. If meditation doesn’t come easily, distract your brain. “You can train your attention like a muscle,” says Bond. “Simply focusing on song lyrics is a powerful way to take your mind off things.” Don’t worry, be happy.

Relieving work stress can be as simple as conscious breathing

Deep breaths

If the words “presentation to the board” make your chest tighten, that’s adrenaline raising your blood pressure to get you ready for a tussle. Reset the balance. “Focus on breathing for a minute or so every two hours,” suggests Bond. You’ll be golden.

Train your brain

In evolutionary terms, an after-hours call from your boss is the 2019 equivalent of a sabre-toothed tiger and the threat response will continue until your brain feels the danger has passed. But mindfulness techniques can improve your reactions to tense situations.

Want to know more about mindfulness and how it can relieve stress, improve general health and emotional wellbeing? Visit Women’s Health South Africa for more information, as well easy tips on mastering mindfulness.

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