Chill Out Man, Your Constant Stress Isn’t Helping You Get More Done

Unsplash/Aarón Blanco Tejedor

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Let’s face it, we live in a world where busyness is currency. People love to brag about how many emails they get, how little they sleep, how many hours they work. And for what? Half those emails are from HR about your recent “conduct” at the last work Happy Hour.

It’s also not helping that celebrities and CEOs alike are always flaunting the fact that they get up at 3 in the morning and work until 4 AM the next day. That math doesn’t even check out, Bezos. So why does it feel like you’re putting in the work necessary, and still not getting anything done? Well, blame science, actually. I won’t go too deep into the scientific aspects of how your brain processes your stress, because you’ve got enough on your plate, but let’s take a high-level look at why stressing yourself out isn’t doing you any favors.

Stress hormones 

When your cortisol levels are high, like when you’re stressed, you’re impacting more than just your ability to think clearly. High cortisol counts can affect your sleep, energy, libido (we’re talkin’ sex, folks), and, of course, your productivity. While some people genuinely think they do their best work while they’re stressed out, imagine how much more productive they’d be if they just took a day off. Although, we know from a recent news cycle that Jeff Bezos’ libido is doing just fine.

What’s more, when you’re dealing with constant cortisol overload, your body’s white blood cells are affected, making you more susceptible to getting sick. Again, not ever ideal, but especially not in the midst of a global pandemic.

So what can you do? 

I’m not going to get all hippy on you here, but there are studies that have shown that the regular practice of mindfulness meditation and yoga actually reduces the stress on your body. No shit.

I’m not talking about becoming a monk, moving into a monastery in Nepal, and not speaking for 7 years. What I am talking about is taking 30 minutes to yourself per day. If the Marines can find time to meditate, so can you. It doesn’t even have to be a standard meditation. Just go ahead and give yourself a half-hour a day doing something you like. Have you heard of walking? If you like it, give it a try. Are you a nerd? Read a book. Just pick something and give your mind a break.

Go ahead and give it a try. I guarantee that while you may not notice an uptick in productivity, at least you’ll be able to make it through the workday without fantasizing about crushing your head with the copier.

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The Water Coolest is a daily business newsletter consisting of business news, financial advice, and unfiltered commentary. Delivered fresh in your inbox every morning so you're ready to snap necks and cash checks. Written by Tyler Morrin, AJ Glagolev, Nick Ellis, and Ian Barto.