Home / Blog: Time to destigmatize / 5 Ways to Reduce Workplace Stress – Proven Grounding Techniques Explained

5 Ways to Reduce Workplace Stress – Proven Grounding Techniques Explained

5 Ways to Reduce Workplace StressWorkplace stress has become as true and omnipresent in our hustle culture as the air we breathe. It’s a reality everyone struggles with, from the company’s VP to that new intern.

Here are some worrisome work-related stress stats that prove it’s not just you; it’s most people around you as well –

  • 83% of US workers suffer from high work-related stress levels
  • About one million Americans miss work each day because of stress
  • 76% of US workers report that workplace stress affects their personal relationships
  • Companies spend about 75% of a worker’s annual salary to cover lost productivity or to replace workers

Source: Zippia

Prolonged work stress can lead to serious mental health conditions like anxiety disorder and depression. Not only that, as evidence suggests, it causes severe loss in productivity and revenue.

So, what’s the way out of this conundrum?

We asked this question to successful working individuals from various fields, and they shared their ways of coping with stress at work. The methods they use are known as grounding techniques, which greatly help.

What Are Grounding Techniques?

Grounding techniques are strategies that can help you control your anxiety and stress by turning your attention away from your worries and refocusing on the present moment.

You can leverage these techniques whenever you feel like it. However, it works best when done in the early stages instead of waiting for the stress levels to rise to an extent that’s harder to handle.

A particular strategy may not work right away, and it’s okay. You can move on to other techniques that suit you but stick with one for a bit before shifting to another.

5 Best Grounding Techniques To Reduce Stress

The Box Breathing Technique

Jennifer Klemmetson, Copywriter and Content Creator, Klemmetson Consulting, uses the box breathing technique when work gets overwhelming. “It gives me a chance to just breathe a little bit,” she said.

Don’t worry; you don’t need to take a box and blow into it. You can do it sitting at your desk; no one will even know it.

How to do it –

  • Step 1: Slowly breathe in as you count to four. Feel the air going into your lungs.
  • Step 2: Stop breathing for four seconds.
  • Step 3: Exhale slowly for 4 seconds through your mouth.
  • Step 4: Stop breathing for four seconds.
  • Step 5: Repeat the process until you feel relaxed.

If a count of four seems too much, just make sure all parts of the box breath are the same length (two or three works too!)

Cultivate Physical Awareness

When suffering from chronic stress, parts of your body may tense up and stay that way without you even knowing it, negatively impacting your physical health and stimulating stress-related disorders.

To avoid that, try developing physical awareness. Being aware of your body will make you your own stress monitor, and you’ll be able to use stress-coping techniques timely.

“I’ve used physical grounding techniques like mindfulness and body scans to calm myself down at work,” says Natalia Grajcar, Co-founder of Natu.Care. “I become aware of any tension and consciously release it.”

How to do it –

  • Step 1: Whenever you feel overwhelmed or anxious, take a few deep breaths and concentrate on your physical sensations.
  • Step 2: Do a quick body scan to check which part of your body feels under pressure or discomfort.
  • Step 3: Take a moment to breathe into that area before releasing the tension consciously.

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is another technique Natalia uses. She focuses on the present moment and pays attention to her senses. “It helps me feel grounded and present rather than lost in my thoughts or worries,” says she.

Andrew Adamo, VP of Bullion Shark, also uses this technique to alleviate stress. “Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed at work, I take a break from my emails, tasks, and to-do lists and just focus on my breathing. Even just a minute or two makes a big difference.”

How to do it –

  • Step 1: Take a momentary pause from whatever you’re doing.
  • Step 2: Take a deep breath and try to feel the sensation of your own breathing.
  • Step 3: Acknowledge what is happening, for good or bad, inside you or out. Just take a mental note.
  • Step 4: Having checked in with the present moment, continue with whatever you were doing.

The 3-3-3 Rule

“The 3-3-3 rule is my favorite physical grounding technique,” Emma Loker, Mental Health Specialist, Healthy Minded. The method is subtle and is specifically designed to manage stress and anxiety. You can do it wherever you are, even during those drawn-out and stressful meetings.

How to do it –

  • Step 1: Pick out three things in your environment you can see, three things you can hear, and three things you can touch.
  • Step 2: Focus on the characteristics of the three things you see. Ask yourself questions like, “What shape is it?” and “What color shade is it?”
  • Step 3: Move on to three sounds you can hear. Listen and try to pick out three distinct sounds. What are their pitches like? Are they relaxing or harsh?
  • Step 4: Finally, engage with your sense of touch, tuning into how they feel.

“This physical grounding exercise works for me every time, and evidence demonstrates it’s highly effective for calming nerves,” says Emma.

The 5-4-3-2-1 Method

Once you master the 3-3-3 technique, you crank this relaxation exercise up a notch with the 5-4-3-2-1 method. This one is more effective when you are going through extreme stress.

It’s similar to the 3-3-3 rule, with variations in the number of things you focus on.

How to do it –

  • Step 1: Identify five things you can see.
  • Step 2: Four things you can touch
  • Step 3: Three things you can hear
  • Step 4: Two things you can smell
  • Step 5: One thing you can taste

After identifying all of it, focus on their individual characteristics.

Additional Tips to Make the Most Out of Your Grounding Exercise

Practice Practice Practice

Practice the grounding techniques even when you aren’t feeling stressed. Doing these exercises often will help you get used to it, and it’ll take less effort when you want to use it to cope at the moment.

Avoid Placing Judgment

If you’re trying to ground yourself by describing your surroundings, focus on the characteristics of whatever you identify instead of how you feel about them.

Rate Your Distress

Rate your distress level between 1 and 10 before using a grounding technique. Then, after using the technique, rate your stress level again. The technique works if the latter number is lower than the former.

Encourage Your Colleagues

Whatever stressful situation you’re going through in the workplace, chances are others are facing the same to varying degrees. So if any techniques discussed in the article work for you, be sure to share them and encourage employees to try the same.

It’s also worth mentioning that promoting workplace wellness and changing a stressful company culture requires the effort of not just one or two but everyone involved.

Remember: A fun environment will improve office morale, help employees thrive, and boost productivity and revenue.

SC Demo Author image
Published by Admin, On Feb 28, 2023