You’ll never hear a child grumble “Mondays are just the worst.”
Kids possess an enviable lack of preconceptions that debilitate adults by adding more stress to their workdays. In comparison, children deal with stressful situations instantaneously. If they’re tired, they fidget. If they’re tense, they scribble intensely. Overwhelmed adults stew and problem solve, analyzing the source of their discomfort.
What if, for just one minute a day, adults treated stress in the manner that children do?
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Eight out of 10 Americans experience work-related stress, according the American Institute for Stress, and nearly half of the interviewees reported they needed assistance to manage it. The same report concluded that 42 percent of the participants believed their co-workers required education on stress management.
Performing one of these de-stressing exercises from your desk can lessen anxiety and refocus the mind -- all through a brief moment of child-like laughter.
1. Peel an orange. Paying intricate attention to the peeling motion, notice the sensation of the rind between your fingertips while the energetic aromas brighten your senses. Attempt to peel the orange in one unbroken coil, refocusing your mind on a simple, albeit pleasurable task.
2. Eat a banana. Always keep a banana in your desk drawer -- it’s your secret weapon. Bananas contain levels of potassium that regulate blood pressure to relive stress and improve energy and recovery.
3. Play dramatic music. While classical music is prescribed for relaxation, a tune with a strong drum beat and dramatic sequence can be equally relieving. Pop in your headphones and hum to the familiar theatrics of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody."
4. Massage your ears. Letting your head drop slowly, massage your lobes softly with both hands, softly kneading your pressure points.
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5. Play paper ball. Scrunch up balls of discarded paper and toss them in your trash can. Play against yourself, attempting to score five paper balls into the bin. The satisfaction you’ll gain from a moment of competition will instantly relax you.
6. Find a ridiculous screen saver. Take a moment to source a side-splitting image. Whether it be a cat in a pram or an aging soap star at Comic-Con, put it on screen. It’s juvenile, but effective. Alternatively, place a figurine or a toy on your desk for no other reason than that its ridiculousness induces your smile.
7. Draw a messy picture. Put your pen on a piece of paper and don’t lift it up for 60 seconds. Your drawing does not have to make sense -- that’s the point. An overwhelmed mind is often relieved by a mindless activity.
8. Blank out. Pick a spot on the wall and commit to staring at it for an entire minute. For most, this will be difficult. Give yourself permission to completely flake out, embracing white noise. Like drawing a nonsensical picture, a way of clearing a congested mind is to accept defeat and temporarily do absolutely nothing.
9. Wriggle. Wriggle your toes, nose and fingers to promote circulation and awaken your body.
10. Chair dance. Envisioning the blissful smile of a child singing in the back of a car, pop on a tune and swivel around in your chair. This may raise a few eyebrows, but you will look no crazier than you are when you're completely stressed out.