1. Take Your Calls Standing Up–When you turn on your iMac, your breathing rate goes up 30 percent, your blinking rate goes way down, and you tend to tighten your arms and shoulders without knowing it. Change your body position every half hour or so. Standing while talking on the phone can improve bloodflow and ease muscle strain.
2. Visit Cracked.com–Each hour, spend a minute on a funny blog. Periodic breaks help you process and absorb new information, increasing your efficiency. During your hiatus, take 10-second breaths–inhale 4 seconds, exhale 6–to raise your heart’s ability to recover from stress.
3. Enforce the Three-Second Rule–The average working professional spends about 23 percent of the workday on email and looks at the inbox about 36 times an hour. It takes an average of 64 seconds to return to a task once you’ve stopped to read a new email. Allow yourself no more than 3 seconds to decide whether a message is worthy of your immediate attention.
4. Put a Green Dot on Your Phone–This is your secret reminder to take one deep breath before you answer a call. Not only will you feel better, but you’ll sound more confident.
5. Go to Starbucks–with Your Coworkers–When stressed-out men drink caffeine by themselves, they stay nervous and jittery. But when anxious men do it as part of a group, their feelings of stress went away.
6. Play Pandora at Work–A study found that listening to favorite tunes or anticipating a certain point in a song can cause a pleasurable flood of dopamine. Listen to a few songs in a row several times a day.
7. Try the Office Chair Workout—A study found that just 15 minutes of yoga–practiced right from an office chair–can reduce stress.
8. Be Fashionably Late to Happy Hour–If you’re looking forward to unwinding after a work week with a cold brew, hold off on happy hour for 30 minutes. Drinking while stressed out actually prolongs your anxiety–even when you limit yourself to two. Tell the crew you need to run errands before hitting the bar. Then take a quick walk.
9. Grab Your Ears–Tug your lobes and move them in circles in opposite directions for a count of 10. The motion moves the tentorium membrane in your head, which can relieve stress. You’ll also be in fighting shape for charades.
10. Take the Scenic Route–If it doesn’t add much time to your commute, drive on roads with more trees and grass. Natural scenes decrease feelings of anger and frustration on the road. If not, put on your favorite band’s new album. Drivers who face frustrating and irritating congestion feel less stressed when listening to music they enjoyed.
11. Put a Hole in a Tennis Ball and Squeeze–Let the tension build up in your hand and the rest of your body, then release. This increases relaxation.
12. Hold Your Tongue–When your annoying colleague decides to be annoying once again, tell yourself, I choose to be calm. Now it’s a choice and you choose to be master and commander of the ship.
13. Make a Schedule–If the boss suddenly dumps a big project on you, try not to say, “I can’t do this. I’m gonna get fired.” Instead, present him with a schedule outlining when things can be done. What was overwhelming is now under control and open to negotiation.
14. Laugh It Off–Think your job is stressful? Try taking a gig as a New York City firefighter. One study found that every time a fire alarm bell rings, a firefighter’s heart rate jumps up to 150 beats per minute–about the same rate as a moderate jog.
15. Pop This Pill—A study involved medical students being fed an omega-3 supplement for 12 weeks. They showed a 20 percent drop in stress compared to people who took a placebo.