Leave Work Stress at Work

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Ever come home from a long day of work, eager to unwind, only to find yourself incapable of shedding the stress of your job?

We can thank our ancient brains for that, according to Joe Robinson, author of Work to Live. Robinson writes that our inability to switch off stress at home is because an “ancient” part of our brain reads this stress as a direct threat to our livelihood: yes, stress from work makes our brains think we’re in literal danger. The result is that we’re prone to vicious cycles of stress, rife with rumination about what went wrong during our days, an inability to relax, rest, and recharge, and impaired productivity the next day.

Sound familiar?

In his article, Robinson describes some techniques to break this cycle, including meditation, listening to music, and getting outdoors.

It’s essential that we introduce techniques such as these to break our stress cycles at home, not only so we can create clear boundaries for our bodies and minds between the workplace and our home havens, but so that we can have more productive days as well. According to research done at the University of Konstanz and Bowling Green, thinking about work at home, in addition to our lack of effective methods to recover from this stress, “aggravate emotional exhaustion and prevents the resupply of energetic resources.”

Which means, if you actually want to leave your work stress at work, you might want to take a cue from Robinson, and consider the benefits of mood-altering music, aerobic exercise, or practicing a sport.