Saturday 20 July 2019

International Day of Happiness: How you can bust your daily stresses

In his weekly column in the Irish Independent, Karl Henry gives tips on how to relax. In honour of International Day of Happiness, here's the Operation Transformation coach's tips on how to relax better at work.

Limited data: Don’t be on your phone while eating breakfast
Limited data: Don’t be on your phone while eating breakfast
Karl Henry

Karl Henry

It was great to see such a big reaction to last week's column - looks like there are lots of people in need of some relaxing.

Last we covered the impact that being stressed can have on your body, your mind and on the people around you. Now I want to show you how to smuggle some relaxation time into your day.

Let's split the day up into two parts: early morning and when you're at work. We'll look at each area separately and discover how you can take the stress out of your day.

Early morning

  • Set your alarm for 10 minutes before you have to get up: when the alarm goes off, just lie there and contemplate the day ahead, what it's going to bring for you and how you're going to do it. Jumping out of the bed and rushing is never a good way to start the day, so start as you mean to go on.
  • Have your clothes and bags organised the night before: Planning is key to good health and it's just the same for relaxation. Get your gear ready the night before and it will help you to remain calm when you get up.
  • Write it down: There is nothing more stressful than disorganisation, especially when you have a super busy day ahead. Make a list of all the things you have to do and get started with the first thing on that list. There is nothing more satisfying than ticking the things off as you go along.
  • Eat breakfast without your phone: We are all guilty of not doing this, myself included. As opposed to eating and scrolling, put your phone away during your meal. Focus on just eating your food, talking to others and easing yourself into the day.
  • Breathe: It may sound simple, but we don't spend enough time focusing on our breath and it's actually a great way to unwind. Concentrate on breathing in for five seconds, filling the lungs and breathing in through the nose. Now simply breathe out for five seconds, emptying out the lungs. Doing this for a minute is easy, but it will really relax you as it forces the mind to stop and focus on your breathing as opposed to anything else.

At work

  • Declutter your desk: A messy desk is never a good sign and never a nice place to be. Spend some time spring cleaning your desk, organising it and making it a more positive place, then just watch what happens to your mood.
  • Move: You already know using the stairs is good for your body, but it's great for your mind too. Movement releases endorphins into the blood stream, making you feel better - plus, it's completely free.
  • Sit taller: Posture has a crucial role to play in terms of how you feel. Stand or sit tall and you will automatically feel better.
  • Phone-free lunch hours: Phones force our minds to work and our mood can change so quickly when we obsess about social media. If you have had a stressful day, then your phone isn't going to make it any better. Instead, when lunchtime comes, focus on your meal and the people around you - less phone time equals less stress.
  • Smile: I know what you're thinking, but if you don't believe me, try it. Smiling is all about projecting happiness, positivity and calmness. Have you ever noticed how people who smile a lot are generally calmer? Try it for yourself and see.
  • Give compliments: This is another surprising one - paying someone a compliment feels good, not only to the person you're complimenting but also to you. It's not only an easy thing to do, but a very easy way to improve your mood. Try it today or, even better, just try it with the next person you meet.

Join me next week when I will be telling you how to relax well at home - what small changes you can implement to make your home a more chilled out place.

Irish Independent

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