Workplace Stress Relief: 3 Tips to Quickly Calm You Down

dreamclinic massageBetween long meetings, tight deadlines, and unnecessary office drama, workplace stress can quickly become overwhelming. As a result, our mental clarity declines and our productivity goes down. Many of us then carry this stress back home, where we take it out on our families, partners, and healthy sleep cycles.

Thankfully, there are many things we can do when our blood starts to boil and our heart rates begin to rise. In fact, you might be surprised how a few tiny tweaks have the power to transform your entire day.

Take a 10-Minute Walk
The human body was not built to be sedentary for long periods of time, and incorporating some movement is especially important when you feel like you’re about to break. Stress atrophies the brain, but exercise promotes the production of neurohormones that fight that harmful effect.

When tensions are running high, go for a 10-minute walk. If you can, take a stroll through a park or another green area, which can put your body into a state of meditation called “involuntary attention.”   According to a study out of Dartmouth College, frequent walking can boost BDNF, a protein responsible for mental acuity and learning (ie: you’ll be more effective once you return).

Grab Coffee With a Coworker
Turns out having friends at work isn’t a distraction — it’s actually beneficial to your health! In a study published in Health Psychology in 2011, researchers found that those who didn’t have a good support system at work were 2-1/2 times more likely to die over a 20-year period. Positive social interactions are shown to help increase happiness, self-esteem, and relaxation, while lowering levels of cortisol that contribute to all manner of issues like heart disease and obesity.

If you feel your stress starting to rise, ask a friendly coworker to grab coffee or tea. Good company and time away from the office will help you clear your mind. Just focus on keeping the conversation positive and not about workplace stress.

Massage Your Ears
If you truly can’t find 10 or 15 minutes to escape the office, try this instead: Massage your ear. The simple technique is quick and easy, and it’s shown to release endorphins to the brain that make you feel good. (Plus, an ear massage is much more inconspicuous than taking off your shoes and giving yourself a foot rub.)

Start by gently rubbing and pulling down on your earlobes with your thumb and index finger. Focus on your breath as you do this five or six times. Next, move up the outer edges of the ear, squeezing as you make your way to the top. Finally, take your index and middle fingers and massage the bony part of your skull right behind the ears. Ta-da! Peace and relaxation.

Acupuncture Helps Those Struggling with Fertility

For couples trying to get pregnant, the process can be one of the most excitingly joy-filled or exhaustingly frustrating times of their lives. 

Treatments like in vitro fertilization and hormone shots have varying reliability and sometimes come with a steep financial burden. These factors often leave couples looking for alternative approaches to complement their existing infertility treatments.  You might be surprised to learn that acupuncture helps over 4.5 million couples/year with infertility.

According to Dr. Raymond Chang, who’s both a Western-trained physician and a classically trained acupuncturist, the ancient Chinese treatment can stimulate egg production in women who can’t or don’t want to take fertility medications. In a study published in the journal Fertility and Sterility, he notes that acupuncture increases the production of “feel good” endorphins, which play a critical role in regulating ovulation.

Dr. Raymond Chang reported to WebMD “When you compare the pregnancy rates for an egg producing drug to acupuncture alone, the rates are equal, “a 50 percent chance of pregnancy in three months for patients not undergoing IVF. However, acupuncture is even more successful when used in conjunction with IVF. 

A 2012 study conducted by Tel Aviv University found that 65.5 percent of a test group who combined the treatments were able to conceive, compared to 39.5 percent of the group who did IVF alone. Why did this happen? It largely comes down to stress.

Acupuncture has been proven to be an incredibly effective tool for stress management. When stress is lowered, blood flow is increased throughout the body, including the uterus and ovaries. This increased blood flow creates a thicker uterine wall, and therefore a stronger environment for an egg to be nourished and carried full term.

For those who are struggling with infertility, many doctors recommend this type of two-pronged approach. Acupuncture helps infertility by allowing your body to function more efficiently, which in turns makes your more responsive to treatments like IVF.

If you’re considering treatment for infertility, speak to your OB/GYN and find a licensed and qualified acupuncturist. Experts estimate you’ll need a 30-minute session roughly two times per week, and it may take several months before your body begins working as it should. Hopefully, with the right acupuncturist and the proper treatment plan, you’ll be picking out maternity clothes before you know it.