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Stressed at work? Try tapping into your ‘animal’ side

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SitupStraightThe older we get, the more we abandon some of our animal instincts

Getting in touch with your animal nature can help reduce workplace anxiety, Phyllis Korkki writes for the New York Times‘ “Applied Science.”

Korkki endured extreme anxiety while writing a book about getting big projects done. She sought the help of several experts who showed her how acting more naturally is key to de-stressing. Korkki says the three lessons she learned can be applied to all workers struggling with anxiety.

Lesson 1: Breathe properly

Korkki first visited Belisa Vranich, a clinical psychologist who teaches people how to breathe better. Korkki found that she was making a couple breathing mistakes: She was a “vertical” breather, meaning that her shoulders went up when she inhaled. She was also breathing from her upper chest.

Lesson 2: Sit straight
The stress Korkki experienced also caused pain and tension in her back and shoulders, “as if [her] body were trying to hide from a lion.” Lindsay Newitter, who runs the Posture Police, taught Korkki how to reverse habits that were preventing her from breathing freely.

Lesson 3: Get moving
Another strategy that Korkki adopted was moving around while working. While people often believe that being in one place for an extended period of time is most helpful for concentration, moving around is best, according to Alan Hedge, an ergonomics professor at Cornell University. A combination of sitting and walking around will get your brain going more effectively than if you were to just stay seated.

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