What You Can Do against Stress

Meditating, laughing, exercising, healthy eating – many things help against stress at work. A practical guide.

Almost all of us have stress at work, at least some of the time. Add to that the stress at home. Stress has been proven to damage your health. That's why you should do something about it.

The Stress-response Cycle

Stress doctors have found that stress episodes have a specific sequence: alarm, resistance, exhaustion.

Stress is triggered by an event or pressure and first puts us in a state of alarm. Once the "danger" has passed, our nervous system puts on the brakes. The tension subsides, but we remain on alert.

Closing the Stress Cycle

If this state continues, we become exhausted. We can gradually become ill from this. This can range from insomnia to heart problems to burnout.

However, you have the possibility to intervene in the second stage and avoid exhaustion. You close the stress cycle by actively doing something that makes your brain stop releasing stress hormones. For example, laughing, crying, running, gardening....

Increase Your Stress Resistance

In order to avoid being "knocked out" by a stressful situation, you can improve your stress resistance. This is especially recommended for the workplace.

In the following, we'll tell you what works best for you.

Work on Yourself

"The experience of stress has a lot to do with one's own personality," says physician and head of the Institut für Arbeitsmedizin (institute for occupational medicine) Dieter Kissling, MD. Stress patients are often highly committed and willing to perform.

"Exercise should be about health, not performance."

Dieter Kissling, MD Occupational Physician

You too? Then think about whether you really have to sacrifice yourself all the time and how you can lower the demands on yourself.

Exercise Regularly

Do exercise, but don't overdo it. "Exercise should be about health, not performance," warns Dieter Kissling.

He recommends half an hour of everyday exercise every day, such as walking. Plus low-to-moderate impact exercise three times a week.


There are countless relaxation methods. For example, Tai-chi, autogenic training, meditation, yoga or laughter yoga, etc... Pick something that suits you and makes you feel good.

Practice Mindfulness

"Stress can be reduced through mindfulness," explains Béatrice Heller, director of the Zentrum für Achtsamkeit (Center for Mindfulness) in Zurich. Mindfulness can be cultivated through various meditation exercises and then applied to everyday life.

Put Work Aside

Do you take your work home with you in the evening in your head or even to bed? Then it still haunts your dreams!

Let go of work during your free time. Admittedly: It's easier said than done. Mental training can help you.

Sleep Enough

People who get by on three or four hours of sleep are medical special cases. You need seven to eight hours. Give them to yourself!

If possible, go to bed at the same time every day. Darken the bedroom and put your cell phone far away.

Take Micro-breaks

"Every hour, we should do something different for five minutes," advises Dieter Kissling. During these micro-breaks, you'll recover so well that you'll be able to get on with your work much faster afterwards.

Eat Healthy

Eat a light, healthy meal in the evening and nothing more for at least two hours before going to bed. Stop drinking caffeinated beverages in the evening and avoid alcohol if possible.

Keep Working Hours and Take Your Vacations

Everyone needs rest. Make sure that you don't have too long working days and weeks. Take the vacations you are entitled to every year.

Work Methodically and Efficiently

You cannot make the time longer than it is, but you can use it better. With a good work methodology and skillful time management, you will work easier, more efficiently and more relaxed.

Take a look at our course program, where you will find appropriate training.

Eliminate the Cause of Stress if Necessary

If you continue to suffer from severe stress despite all countermeasures, address its cause.

For example, if your workload is impossible to manage, discuss it with your supervisor. If available, you can contact the social or occupational health service in your company. Otherwise, contact your family doctor.


Hansjörg Schmid

Hansjörg Schmid