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Painting by Vytas

Do you feel  like your stomach is in knots?  Overlaid by anxiety, worry and general angst?  You are not alone.  According to the November 14, 2006 issue of Human Resource Executive Online, “People issues” is the No. 1 reason for high stress levels at work, according to a recent survey.  That’s right, “forget the stresses over economic issues or possible layoffs, for most employees, it’s their co-workers who are driving them up a wall.”  Sound familiar? 

Pressures in the competitive marketplace place greater demands on employees to cooperate and become team players resulting in more opportunities for conflict.  Rather than increasing productivity, less gets done with more difficulty.  Stress is on the rise. 

Tibetan monks and the Dhali Llama have achieved a highly evolved state of calm – that’s great, but do they live in the real world?  Do they face the real pressures of commuting, with having to face uncooperative colleagues and staff who resist every prime directive.  If you’re in leadership, you sometimes feel like you’re running a department of toddlers:  remember the terrible two’s?  Does it seem like all you hear is ‘no’ and why it can’t be done?  If you’re a member of a team, do you feel like no one cares?  The infamous ‘they’ don’t understand; they have all of us working harder, forget smarter.  When will it stop?  How do I get off this rollercoaster?  This isn’t fun anymore.

So as we get more and more miserable in our comfort zones, how do we get the world to stop and find the oasis in the workplace?  There’s only one solution.  You have to begin to take accountability for your role in this quagmire of social discomfort.  Once you accept that your actions, your behavior, impact the group, you are taking the first step toward shifting this paradigm.

Before you can start adjusting your reactions, you first need to turn down the stress volume.  There are many reported health benefits of meditation including reducing your stress.  Read the article from “Psychology Today” that substantiates the benefits of meditation.  For most people, meditation is a pipe dream.  It doesn’t even enter their world.  For most of us, it is very difficult to take even 15 minutes to quiet the mind and shut out the world.  So, I have developed a two minute creative visualization that only requires interest and an imagination to perform.  By practicing this visualization you will begin to regain clarity and insight to help you understand what is really going on at work rather than responding to everyone else’s reactions. 

Two Minute Creative Visualization:

Before starting this visualization, think back to a moment when you were intensely happy.  Notice the first memory that pops into your head.  This memory will be your anchor image as you proceed. 

Sit in a comfortable position and plant both feet on the floor.  Close your eyes.  Take in a deep inhaling breath and exhale deeply.  Take in 2 more deep breaths.  Imagine your memory of intense happiness.  Take in the sights, sounds, smells, and how you feel.  Revel in the sensations.  Now imagine a huge oak tree.  Take notice of the thick deep roots of the tree.  Now pretend that you are growing thick deep tree roots from the base of your spine.  Stay with me on this.  Remember you are using your imagination.  They are growing thicker and deeper, down, down, down, to the core, the center of the earth.  As you exhale, you are releasing all your worries, frustrations, concerns, and all your stress down these tree roots.  You have reconnected to your center and your insight will be clearer and sharper.

I would recommend tape recording this technique, playing relaxing music, and just allowing yourself a couple of minutes to go through this visualization.  Practice it once in the morning and once in the evening before retiring.  You can also use it in between for calming the nerves.

Click here for more information on how to turn down the stress volume, as we ease into the holiday season.  Stay tuned for more tips on managing and reducing stress in future articles. 

Your Creativity Coach, Wanda

2 Responses to “How To Turn Down the Stress Volume: Tips From Your Creativity Coach”

  1. keri says:

    This technique of turning down the stress volume has become instrumental in getting me through the day. Whether it’s overcoming the rush of getting my child to daycare and trying to make it to work on time, or just getting through the work day in general. I’ve found that I can get over my aggrevation or anxiety much quicker and let go of the negative feelings within moments. I use this visualization serval times a day to get back on track.

  2. leslie.thompson says:

    I have just started a project of reviewing my diaries from past years, and have learned that all the noise seems to be about relationships with others. I am now using a guided meditation every morning. And it is not about getting away from coworkers , but getting closer, more connected. It seems I am able to do better when I am connected to people. I’ve learned from reviewing those journals (starting when I am 23 and now I am 50) that I am happiest and at my most creative when I feel “at home” with others.

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