Stressed at work? Keep in mind that it’s often one’s response to a situation that causes stress, rather than the situation itself. For instance, if your boss tells you that you need to have a private meeting, thoughts might cycle through your mind, such as, “Did I do something wrong? Am I going to get laid-off?” Or if a co-worker constantly chats on the phone and you’re having trouble concentrating, you might add to your stress by focusing on thoughts such as, “I can’t stand the way she talks on the phone all the time. She’s the worst office-mate I’ve ever had!”
Consider interrupting the cycle of thoughts that can amplify your stress. This doesn’t mean you should deny the way you’re feeling; however, it means that by shifting your attention to something else, it can reduce your stress.
Here’s one simple—and effective—way to shift your attention:
Bring all your attention to the soles of your feet. Yup, that’s all you need to do! Here’s how this works: Instead of focusing on negative thoughts that can cycle through the mind, shift your attention to the soles of your feet to bring your focus to the here and now. You can do this sitting in a chair—or you can take a short walk to the coffee machine, down the hallway, or outside. If you’re walking, notice the feeling of each foot as it connects with the ground. Each time your attention wanders (which might be every second or two) gently bring your awareness back to your feet. This is a practice you can do most anywhere, anytime—all it takes is remembering!