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Tips to help unknot your gut at work

Ever get that horrible gut-churning when we’re asked to go see the boss for a private chat, or is it the butterflies before an important meeting? Perhaps it’s just the worry (my mate’s tinnitus used to go nuts!) about presenting in front of a key client, or that overwhelmed feeling when we have a deadline looming. Perhaps it’s all of that!

Whatever it is that dials up the stress at work, that makes Sunday evenings almost feel worse than Monday mornings, it doesn’t help our productivity, or chances of career advancement, in the slightest. Constantly feeling like we’re fire-fighting, or under pressure, ramps up the cortisol (the stress hormone) which if it carries on for a long time, even starts to affect our immune system leading us to catch every little thing that’s going round.

I hate to say it, but now is especially not a good time to have a low immune system!

However, there are little things like techniques and exercises that can help keep things a bit more under control. Yes, breathing exercises, yoga, mindfulness all help when there is the time and space to do it. But breaking out the downward dog by the desk 5 minutes before a meeting, probably won’t go down well with an office full of colleagues.

So, my suggestion is:

  • First notice what it is that is causing the stress – which event precisely. Is it a recurring activity that can be prepared for?

  • If it is scheduled or regularly recurring, then take a little time beforehand, build in time away from the desk. Go for a 10minute walk round the block. Clear the head.

  • Either during the walk, or immediately after, take time somewhere away from others and visualise the activity and what it involves. Picture it going well.

  • When the activity is sudden and unplanned, if the time is available, do the above. If not, disappear into the bathroom and take 5 minutes to do the positive visualisation exercise at least.

  • Taking long deep breaths beforehand helps too. Our brains automatically calm down as relaxed deep breaths are the opposite of a fight or flight situation.

Remember that we don’t do ourselves any favours if we go into an important work activity rushed, frantic or stressed. So steal at least 5 minutes if possible, even that will help a lot.

And while those skills will help dial down stress in the moment, if we are constantly worrying, stressed or anxious, we probably need to reset the system completely. For a lot of people, the stress has become so engrained that we are actually living in anxiety always imagining the worst case scenario and this triggers a much bigger stress reaction than is needed. Changing this equation is where the real win is.

I have helped a large amount of people break through the obstacles they had to their careers. Such as Thordis, a CEO who could be assumed to have it all sorted, and yet faced considerable challenges. Because of the techniques and work we went through, in her words “I became a better Leader.” So in my many years of doing this I have heard all the ways that problems can come up. So feel free to say whatever is necessary. I am always happy to have a chat about what might be the issue.

Be the best you can be!


Tel: 0203 397 007



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