Scientifically Proven Ways to Reduce Stress in the Office

Work gets stressful, so when you need to reduce stress, try these scientifically proven tricks.

Turn Off Notifications (For a Bit)

Constant notifications stress people out. Ringtones, pop-up banners, little red circles—all are guilty of increasing our stress. Partly this is because notifications are interruptions and getting interrupted can ruin your workflow. But it’s also true that constantly receiving notifications makes you feel like you’re always at work. Studies have shown that reducing notifications helps people reduce stress.

You can try blocking off some time early in your day where you don’t check messages or turn on your email and reserve this time for your biggest priorities that day. Or, you can make a policy about not checking notifications after work or on weekends. Doing so will reduce your stress.


As little as six minutes of reading can reduce stress by up to two-thirds, reduce your heart rate, and relax tension in your muscles. Why? Reading forces you to concentrate and getting lost in a fictional world can help distract you. So the next time you need a short break, maybe try reading a chapter of a book.

Increase Your Daily Dose of Humour

Laughter is scientifically proven to reduce stress. The hormone cortisol increases in response to stress and laughing is one way to reduce it. And a little bit goes a long way. You can watch a short funny clip on YouTube, listen to a few minutes of stand-up comedy, or read a few funny webcomics. If you’d like to lower the stress of those around you, here’s a list of short, funny, clean jokes ideal for the break room.

Get Some Greenery In Your Life

Plants can help reduce your stress. And be happier, improve creativity, be more kind—nature comes with a lot of benefits. Merely being in their presence can lower your blood pressure and increase your productivity. It also helps that they produce oxygen, helping you breath easier.

If you have green space around your workplace, a short, ten-minute walk can help you reduce your stress.

If there’s no easy access to green space, never fear. Even having a plant at your workstation can help reduce stress.

Drink Tea

In times of stress, reaching for a cup of tea can improve your mood. Not only does drinking tea help, but the act of making the cup of tea also reduces stress. Why? Sometimes simple rituals can help you focus on something besides your stress.

There are also a number of studies suggesting that herbal teas can help reduce stress, improve sleep, and reduce anxiety.

Eat Chocolate

There’s a good reason for storing an emergency chocolate bar at your desk. As little as 40 grams of dark chocolate can help lower cortisol. Also, taking a short break to eat a bit of chocolate can’t hurt, right?