OK, we have all been there at work – stress, overwhelm, despair even. If you are having a work crisis, or just staring at your to-do list with a complete sense of overwhelm you need to change your state – fast.

Since you haven’t exactly got time to go home, run a bath, go for a run, read a book, or sleep you need to get out of your state of crisis and negativity into a more creative, problem-solving state, and you have like, 2 minutes to do it. Here’s how:

1. Put your two first fingers on your ear, about half way down, grip gently and pull out. Keep your finger parallel to the floor. Do for about 2 minutes. This disrupts your neurology and is distracting.
2. Do the happy dance. Not joking on this one. Stick your index fingers up in the air, look up, put a smile on your face and shuffle round in a circle. You might feel like a lunatic, but it is hard to cry or panic in this pose.
3. Breath. Properly. Take those deep calming breaths you know you should. Try to make your belly push out (naturally) because you are breathing so low down in your lungs. Do at least five. For advanced skills start this one by just breathing out in a whoosh. There is a reason a stressed-out parents first instinct is to shoosh their child in this way – pretend you are shushing, but you don’t need to make a noise, just expel the air.
4. Power pose. Ideally in front of a mirror if you can, but don’t worry if you can’t. Stand bolt-upright, and strike a power pose – hands on hips, or fist in the air like a warrior. Think superman. Keep your chin up and smile (with menace) if possible.
5. Squats. Do 5 squats and swing your arms up while you do them.

All of the above are things you can do in 2 minutes in the toilets at any workplace, or at your desk. The purpose of all these things is simply to disrupt the negative bio-feedback you are experiencing due to the stress-stimulus you are under. They all harness a more positive bio-feedback mechanism to change your state.

When you go back to thinking about your work problem you should be in less of a panicky flight-or-fight mode and more of a creative state – solutions should flow a little easier, and you should be able to focus more on the problem itself, and less on your own emotional reaction to it.

The other good news is that with 5 easy things to try you should be able to find the one which is most effective for you, or that you enjoy most, so tell me below please – which of these techniques did you find effective? Is there anything else I should have put on this list?

Let me know, and please leave a comment below.

Until next time!