New scientific findings show that stress at work is just as bad for you as second hand smoke, which can lead to severe health problems for non-smokers, such as heart disease, lung disease, and stroke.  Talk about a wake up call!

The good news is that you can help yourself. If you de-stress at work, you could end up shifting your physical health to the point of saving your own life.

Know What You Can and Can’t Control

You have no control over a tyrannical boss, but you do have control over your reaction and interaction with him or her. You have no control over the demands of next project looming over your shoulder, but you do have control over your sleep habits, exercise, and nutrition.  Focus on the things you can control, let go of those you can’t.

Practice Three Bs

Stay in a more positive place with:

  • Learn to create boundaries the best way you can with that demanding boss. You can’t completely avoid him or her, but practice saying no to unrealistic, demanding workloads, or come up with creative alternatives to accomplish what’s asked of you. Here’s an example: “No, I can’t get you the meeting minutes in an hour, but how about by the end of the day?”
  • Ask yourself: are you causing your own stress? How is your time management?  Are you using your time efficiently so when a deadline hits you aren’t under the gun? These questions help you assess if stress is self induced, and if so, work on lifestyle changes that can help you de-stress.
  • Look for fellow employees that lift you up and help you be a better, more productive person. Is there someone in the office that’s a low-stress rock star? Learn form them, and instead, ditch the toxic co-worker.

Make the Meetings Healthier

At work, take advantage of your employer’s holistic health programs. Suggest a different approach to the power meeting, and offer some alternatives like a group fitness class as a team builder. For yourself, yoga, meditation, deep breathing practices, and being mindful all help with personal stress.  Done away from work, these practices help you refuel and strengthen coping skills while at work. Practice stress busting outside the office to help when those tense moments, or days, arrive.

Make it your job to reduce stress at work, and succeed at supporting your own, healthy life round the clock.