These 5 Little Things Can Calm Anxiety In An Instant & They'll Fit Right On Your Desk

by Caroline Burke

Feelings of stress and anxiety can often balloon into something that seems totally out of your control, to the point of derailing an entire day. Although stress can obviously come from a variety of sources, it could just be that you need little things to calm your anxiety while you're at work, when you're suddenly feeling overwhelmed by that ever-growing to-do list. Sometimes, it really is the smallest thing that can make the biggest change in your overall mood, and for all you know, it could be the difference between being productive and being totally unable to get a single thing done.

Most people don't have the luxury of leaving their place of work every time they feel stressed out, so the best thing to do is to bring the relaxation into the office, rather than seek it elsewhere. A yoga class is an excellent way to relieve stress, sure, but a stress ball could be just as effective, and one of these two things can be accessed without having to get up from your desk — see what I mean?

Generally speaking, when it comes to dealing with stress, it's best to have more than one strategy in your pocket, at any given time. So, if you can't leave your office today, but you're still feeling super stressed, consider looking into any of these strategies to help you calm down.

A Stress Ball

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According to a 2006 study published in the Journal Of At-Risk Issues, squeezing a stress ball can help increase your attention span, and even your memory capacity, which might allow you to complete a work assignment with less stress than usual.

Consider taking a few minutes from the task at hand to mess around with a cute, cat-shaped stress ball that, if nothing else, will make you smile a little.

Your Favorite Succulent

Surrounding yourself with greenery is an excellent way to decrease your heart rate and, in turn, reduce your overall stress when you're in an office, according to a 2015 study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology.

Adding a few succulents to your desk, and taking care of them with a few spritzes of water each week, is an amazing way to stay centered, even if you're stuck in a fluorescent office.

A Reminder For Gratitude

A 2009 study done by researchers at the University of California Los Angeles revealed that looking at a photograph of someone you love can actually reduce sensations of pain.

Invest in a couple of nice frames, and prop up a few photos on your desk of the people you love most in your life. Every time you look up from your work, you'll feel a little burst of happiness, even in the most stressful situations.

Noise-Cancelling Headphones

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Sometimes you need to plug in in order to unplug from your stressful environment. Loud noises can lead to stress, Psychology Today reports, and if you're already feeling a little bit overwhelmed with everything you have to do, lowering the sensory impact of the universe around you might just be the best thing you can do without having to leave your desk.

A List That Puts Everything In Perspective

If you feel overwhelmed by all of the potential problems that need solving in your life, then you might just want to sit down for a moment and make a list to clear your mind, according to psychiatrist Edward Hallowell, M.D.

In an interview with Prevention, Dr. Hallowell suggested dividing a paper into three columns: List all of your worries in the first column, then in the second column, write down the worst case scenario outcomes if those worries come true. In the third column, write down a handful of strategies for dealing with those worst case scenarios.

Writing out your fears logically, Dr. Hallowell explained, will help you face your worries head-on, without feeling totally helpless in the process.