View stress as energizing to boost health and happiness. 
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Stress for Success - Not all stress is bad stress.

Science tells us that how we cope with stress has a huge effect on our well-being. For most of us it's difficult to be stressed and happy at the same time. Our natural fight, flight, or freeze response is not usually the most helpful reaction at work.  

What do you typically do under stress? How much do you stress out about the stress you are feeling? Is that helpful or harmful to you?

Among other bad news most of us have heard about stress, a meta-analysis of the impact of workplace stress found that job strain is a risk factor for coronary heart disease. The good news is that studies have also found 7 Ways Stress Does Your Mind and Body Good

What can you do to protect yourself from the damaging side effects and boost the positive side effects of workplace stress? Reassess, stave off and soothe stress. 

Reassess stress.

Most of us think stress is our enemy and has terrible effects on our health. That can be true. But some stress is actually good for us. Managing stress doesn’t mean eliminating stress. Instead of seeing stress as always negative, you can reassess stress as a helpful and energizing force at work. 

In a Harvard study, those who viewed stress as helpful experienced less ill health effects from their stress.  Your heart pounds and you break into a sweat as your body is preparing you for action! In Kelly McGonigal’s Ted Talk How To Make Stress Your Friend, she shares that how you view and respond to stress is literally life-changing: you can live a longer, healthier and happier life by reassessing stress as helpful.

Stave off stress.

Even better than rethinking how stress affects you is preventing stress in the first place. To reduce the stress in your work life, try the following:

Soothe stress.

No matter what you do, some stress will still come your way. Cope effectively! The following ideas--all of which are included in the current version of my card game that teaches the science of thriving at work--may help you soothe your stress:
  • Don’t Stress About Your Stress: Don’t compound your stress by stressing about your stress! Excess stress can trigger a stronger "freeze, flight, or fight” response, which can limit your brain’s ability to find solutions.
  • Get On The Ball: If possible, sit on an exercise ball instead of a chair for part or all of your working day.  This works your muscles, and the physical activity may result in reduced stress, improved cognition, and even improved mood.
  • Post Puppy Pics: If you love your pet, post a picture of him or her at the office. Experiment with pictures of favorite pets, people, and places. Studies show a glance at your furry friend may lower stress and improve performance.
  • 4-6-8 Breath: Whenever you need a little rejuvenation, take a big deep breath for four seconds. Hold that breath for six seconds. Exhale for eight seconds. This slow breathing triggers a relaxation response, helping you manage stress for best brain function.
  • Super You: Pose like a super hero—hands on hips with elbows out for example—for two minutes or more. Research led by Amy Cuddy shows this stance increases testosterone and assertiveness and lowers cortisol and stress reactivity.
  • Batch Your Email: Pick 2 or 3 times of day to check email, and shut it down other times of the day. People that check email at specific times of day experience less stress throughout the day.

Will you reassess, stave off and soothe stress for success?

I'd love to hear how this is working - or not working - for you.  Simply reply to this email, or better still leave a comment on our Facebook page, or tweet to @ScottCrab so others can learn from you as well. I also answer audience questions on the Happy Brain Science blog. And if you are interested in learning more about my game that teaches this and other science at work--currently in development--please let me know. 

To getting the best from your brain,
Scott Crabtree



Upcoming Events

Below is the list of organizations and events where I will be teaching people to apply the science of happiness over the coming months.

Unless otherwise noted, these events are exclusively for members of the organization, but you can contact me with any questions, to find out about public events, or to arrange a presentation or workshop at your organization.

Oregon Department of Revenue, Salem, OR
Engaging Employees To Do Great Work, Happily! & Choose Happiness: The Game

Oregon Judges, OR
Engaging Employees To Do Great Work, Happily!

Prestige Care, Inc., Vancouver, WA
The Science of Being Happy and Productive at Work

Oregon Public Management Association
Engaging Employees To Do Great Work, Happily! & Choose Happiness: The Game 

Our Mission

Happy Brain Science delivers increased creativity, productivity, and profits by applying neuroscience and psychology to boost morale and engagement.

Contact us to boost your organization by making brains happy through a workshop or coaching.
Copyright © 2015 Scott Crabtree, All rights reserved.

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