By Khadi Madama

Being aware of what we can do to control stress in ourselves has been shown to be the best course of action.

Curtailing environmental factors such as noise and light

– According to a study at the University of London, by distracting your brain for just 8 minutes lifts mood and improves one’s quality of thinking because it calms activity in the amygdala, the area of the brain that is activated during rumination.

This is why those break-times are so important!

– Just stepping outside a noisy environment for only 2 minutes relieves the ears of damaging noise pollution by letting the inner ear muscles reset so that they can do their protective job.

– We can see from these studies, the importance of stepping away from the desk and into a friendlier environment even if only for a few minutes.

– Try to bring in more light. Install better lighting equipment if possible.

– Add mirrors if your space is too dark to bring in peripheral light.

– Adjust the lighting on your computer to the same brightness as your office to reduce eyestrain.

– Make sure your computer screen is placed so that you are looking at it 4-9 inches below eye level.

– Take a break every hour to look away from your screen and close your eyes for a few seconds. Look far away, down, left, right. Then blink a few times… Try to cut glare.

– Stay hydrated with plenty of water or other non-caffeine beverages to combat dry heating/cooling systems.

– Fill a small plastic spray bottle with 3-5 drops of essential oil like lavender or pine. Or, ¼ teaspoon of baking soda to clear the air of airborne toxins and uplift spirits.

– Keep fresh flowers, plants or pictures of the ocean, gardens, and natural settings in your work place

  to refresh your nerves.

– A small dish of smooth river stones are a calming asset to your desk.

– If you share a workspace, try to create a central area where fresh flowers may be kept as well as a basket of snacks to keep spirits up while under pressure.

– Find a special place outside of your building for breaks and lunchtime when the weather permits.

– Try to avoid co-workers that bring complaints or personal problems to the lunch table. Try this instead:

– “Choosing to dine, rather than just to eat is a small but symbolic step toward self-nurturing.”

According to the author of Simple Abundance, Sarah Ban Breathnach Even at work, eating should be enjoyable and stress free.

– Keep your office and desk organized and well stocked. There is nothing worse than working under pressure when you can’t find things and lack necessities.

– Treat yourself to a Walkman or use ear pods on your mobile phone to listen to self-help, instructional or inspirational audios or books on tape. This is like a mini vacation and its effects are enriching and restorative.

We’ll be back next month on our continuing journey away from stress.

Proud that our course was accredited for Professional Credits and has been used by Fleet and Family Services at Patuxent River Naval Base.

Quick-Seat Chair. Temporary Seating That Closes Itself.