Updated: Jul 21
Author, Linda Mullins
Does your fuse seem to get shorter and shorter with each passing day? Gallup's 2022 Global Emotions Report shows you're not alone. Stress is at an all time high in the U.S. and abroad. In fact, it is chronic. And it's this ongoing mental and physical stress that defines burnout.
In 2019 The World Health Organization deemed Burnout a "syndrome" and specifically states burnout is "chronic workplace stress that has not been properly managed." It even has its own ICD11 code, an International Classification of Diseases, just like heart disease, hypertension and diabetes.
Once upon a time, I experienced that syndrome, after running too hard & fast for way too long in my corporate positions. For several years after, I linked my extreme stress and burnout to the demands of my job and extensive travel with my former company. And while those circumstances were factors, the reality is, I wasn't properly managing the stressors that led me to that condition of exhaustion, adrenal fatigue and overall dis-ease.
Because I had allowed my mental and physical state to get to the burnout level, through a series of lifestyle choices, I needed something extreme to regain some balance. So I invested in a six-week fitness camp to detox and reboot. While that was a great solution that changed my life, it may not be a practical, immediate solution, right here and now, for you in a moment of high anxiety.
This article is about what to do now, in the moment, hopefully before you are experiencing burnout. Let's look at the top five ways you can tackle stress and immediately impact your mental, physical and emotional state.
1. Just breathe.
It sounds simple, but it turns out most of us are doing it incorrectly. Right now, wherever you are, sit up straight, put your feet on the floor, breathe in through your nose, allowing your belly to expand as you breathe from your diaphragm (your belly). Most of us fill our lungs first & our shoulders rise. When you intentionally breathe from your diaphragm and fill your belly with air, then hold your breath, and finally exhale through your mouth, very slowly, you access the Vagus nerve, the main component of the parasympathetic nervous system, enabling you to calm your anxious state in as little as a few deep breaths. The Vagus nerve oversees a vast array of critical functions which we will explore in another article.
2. Get up, Get out!
Take a step away from the issue that is causing anxiety. Better yet, take a thousand steps if you can. You can reduce the impact of stress by walking away from the situation, moving your body, releasing that negative energy, and returning to a more calm state.
To some this may sound a bit 'woo woo'. By intentionally focusing inward, and slowing your breathing, you can manage your physical and mental state, practicing mindfulness and retraining your brain. Praying and meditating on scripture and other positive words and affirmations can immediately reduce Cortisol, the fight or flight 'stress' hormone, and encourage your body toward its homeostasis.
When your parents told you to quit daydreaming, they were wrong. A Cornell study showed “improved performance” with daydreaming. And a recent study from The Journal of Business & Psychology concluded that daydreaming can enhance employee well-being and create long-term job satisfaction. Need a little help getting started? Here is a website, yes really it is Do Nothing for 2 Minutes. Sweet dreams!
Watch 10 minutes of your favorite stand-up comedian doing a show. The laughter will help reset your brain and mood so you can respond from a better emotional state.
To reduce stress, raise your frequency and elevate your health, try one or two of these stress-busting activities each day. Why not, you've got nothing to lose but stress and burnout!
To Your Health!
About the Author
Linda Mullins lives in Dallas, Texas
You can find her new book on Amazon