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Elisa Goldstein, Ph.D.Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.
A blog about mindfulness, stress-reduction, psychotherapy and mental health.

Is work stress threatening your sanity? This approach will help you make a change now!

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. Updated: Aug 14th 2008

exhausted business man covering face with handI often say there are two things we can be assured of besides death and taxes in this life, and that is stress and pain. However, for most of us, work stress is also something we can be assured of and unless we’re retired or taking care of young ones at home (which both often come with a good amount of stress), we’re usually working to find a job. Technological gadgets such as cell phones, email, instant and text messaging make us all available 24/7 to a mad rush of daily activity and demands. Seeing this all-too-often in my own practice, it just doesn’t seem like our brains are supposed to be able to handle this pace of life and bombardment of information, leaving us susceptible to self-judgment, impatience, frustration, worry, and panic. Does it come as a surprise that and increasing number of adults are arriving at therapists doors with A.D.D. (Attention Deficit Disorder) symptoms? Our culture, with all the multi-tasking, encourages it.

I’m not surprised at all that so many people find work to be the #1 stressor in their lives. So now what? Can we change the way we relate to work to calm this stress, to relieve this frustration, to make it so it doesn’t bleed into our personal lives and affect our relationships?

The good news: Yes!

Here are some tips:

  • As the workday begins, slightly slow down as you walk to the car, check in with your body and notice any tension. Try and soften it. 

  • Trying driving to work a little slower today and let red lights be reminders to just notice your breathing.

  • As you walk to the office, breathe in and out with every three steps. Notice the sensation of walking, it took you over a year to learn how to do this.

  • If you sit at a desk, take a few breaths before checking the computer for emails or updates.

  • If possible, maybe once a week, eat by yourself in silence, eat slightly slower and really tune into the sense of taste while eating.

  • When walking back to the car from work, practice the same way you walked to your car

  • No need to rush home to relax, drive slightly slower and experiment with new radio stations, maybe reflect on what you actually did that day. What was positive, what was stuff you would like to do better.

  • When getting home, if you have a family, take a few minutes in the car and keep your breath company, notice if your body is tense, and if so, try to soften those muscles by breathing in and out of them, with awareness, and just letting them be.

Try it out and as always, feel free to share thoughts, comments, or questions. Enjoy!

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles and is author of the upcoming book The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work™ program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations.

Check out Dr. Goldstein's acclaimed CD's on Mindful Solutions for Stress, Anxiety, and Depression, Mindful Solutions for Addiction and RelapsePrevention, and Mindful Solutions for Success and Stress Reduction at Work. -- "They are so relevant, I have marked them as one of my favorites on a handout I give to all new clients" ~ Psychiatrist.

If you're wanting to integrate more mindfulness into your daily life, sign up for his Mindful Living Twitter Feed. Dr. Goldstein is also available for private psychotherapy.

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