How to zap work worries, beat stress and raise your life expectancy

By | April 13, 2019

Left unchecked, work stress can lead to anxiety, depression, coronary ­disease and an increased risk of heart attack.

And this problem is clearly on the rise. Nearly 40 per cent of ­businesses reporting a spike in stress-related absences over the past year.

Dr Andy Cope, author of The Little Book of Being Brilliant, has studied psychology and what makes us happy at work.

He said: “Everyone is rushing thorough life. We need to start to enjoy it.

“There were 70 million ­prescriptions for antidepressants written in England last year so you could say the modern world is knocking happiness out of us.”

Here, Dr Cope shares his tips for some of the most common workplace complaints.

Work can upset your life balance and affect your happiness


Problem: I can’t cope with the volume of work.

Stress-busting tip: “I see this every day and even struggle with it myself. Everyone is doing the work of two or three people and there is no slack any more.

“The best way to tackle this is to work out when you are at your most productive.

“Most people have a part of the day when they are at their best – ploughing through it, feeling ­exhilarated rather than tired by work.

“Recognise when your state of flow is and schedule your most difficult tasks for this time.

“Tackle the scariest thing on your to-do list first.”

Problem: I have terrible back and neck ache.

Stress-busting tip: “This is a warning sign and your body’s way of telling you to do something different.

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“To tackle it, either get your posture right, sit up straight and relieve the tension. Or get up and go for a walk.

“We have this macho culture, where we plough on, have lunch at our desk and don’t give ­ourselves a break. The key is to get out into the fresh air.

“Another great tip is to breathe properly. A big breath in for five seconds, hold for six and breathe out for seven.

“Do this five times a day for tension relief.”

Problem: My inbox is out of control with too many emails.

Stress-busting tip: “Cut the number of emails you send by 30per cent. You will get fewer emails in response.

“Use the phone or see people face to face to create ­relationships with real people.

“If you forge high-quality ­connections, you get more done in a five-minute chat than in five back-and-forth emails.”


Problem: I feel undervalued.

Stress-busting tip: “This is more about a sense of self-worth rather than the reality of your boss undervaluing you. If you are feeling unloved, then give more love.

“Make sure you go out of your way to praise people in your team, say nice things about ­people behind their back.

“The more positive you are at work, the more positive people will feel towards you.

“This should lead to positive feedback from your boss.

Problem: I’m stuck at my desk all day, putting on weight.

Stress-busting tip: “This is all about self care. Happiness is all about looking after yourself.

“The three cornerstones to this are eat, move and sleep.

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“Stick to the 80/20 rule with your diet. Eat well most of the time – 80 per cent – but allow yourself some treats.

“Move around – make the gym part of your day or take three brisk walks out in the fresh air every week.

“Get eight hours of sleep – it is so important. Sleep has a huge knock-on effect on your life.

“Buddy up with someone and go to the gym in your break. We are more productive if we take time to look after ourselves.”

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