Work stress: how to keep your head cool with mindfulness


WORK STRESS IS SOMETHING we are all familiar with. A report which must be completed tomorrow; a presentation which must blow away that all important client next week; a business trip that must result in long-term contracts – we are used to experiencing stress, and every day we work through a huge list of urgent tasks.

Work stress in figures

In the US 75% of employees and business owners suffer from burnout or chronic stress. 48% report their stress to have increased significantly over that past 5 years. 48% say that stress causes them to fight with people close to them. All in all work stress costs 300 billion USD per year due to absenteeism and physical and mental medical care.


Download my free ebook and discover how my no-nonsense mindfulness approach can help you keep work stress at bay. You’ll feel more balanced and resilient within just a week.

Meet the work stress veteran

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Hi, my name is Marisa Garau and I help people around the world to effectively deal with work stress.

For many years I ran my own advertising agency and ignored the stress that came with my work. I was always working against deadlines, arranging for meetings with clients, keeping my team on top of their game, and doing all the extra tasks that come with leading a company.

When I burned out, I decided I couldn’t keep undermining my health and changed tack. I followed the mindfulness training and started a new life as mindfulness teacher. I now inspire thousands of people worldwide with my meditation-free, down-to-earth mindfulness approach.

Tip: this in-depth stress article offers valuable insights into the impact of stress plus some unorthodox but highly effective exercises

A never-ending to-do list

Work stress has a different root than other kinds of stress. When we experience work stress, we feel exhausted but what keeps us going is the promise of a great reward once we reach our future end result. We believe that once we have completed our work project, we will be perfectly happy for the rest of our lives.

Unfortunately, things are quite different in real life. Because when this major project is finally completed, you’re already deeply involved into the next major project. And so you’ll actually never get to enjoy this rose-colored reward of sunny satisfaction at the end of the deadline tunnel.

The reality of life consists of an endless stream of important and less important intertwining tasks, without the clear beginnings and endings you so long for. There is no end to it. Each tasks bleeds into the next one and keeps you on your toes every single day.

It’s a reality you can’t change. But what you can change, is your attitude and expectations. You must let go of the end result and that promise of fulfilment, happiness and relaxation once the work is done… since the work is never really done anyway.

Make sure you don’t miss the big picture

You can compare it to being on a boat and staring through binoculars, wishing you were in the harbour already, while all around the boat dolphins, seals and whales are frolicking in the water. You can’t see the beauty around you because you’re only focussing on that one goal which promises you that only there you’ll find perfect inner peace and happiness.

You have to come to terms with the fact that there is no reward as long as you’re only looking through binoculars and simply missing the big picture.

The good news, though, is that there is a reward… and you’ll find it in your attitude while you work on your different projects.

Ease your work stress today

If you now suffer from work stress and long to get that awful project done, just sit still for a while and realise that once this monster project is done and dusted, there will be other projects. Of course you’ll be relieved once this project is completed, but you know that you will live on and will get involved in other projects.

Step 1: Think of all your future projects

Just think at all those future projects, tasks and assignments which will undoubtedly cross your path in the coming years and decades. It’s a massive amount of work that is waiting for you… far too much to get your head around now. Understand that this is your life: an endless series of events which will demand your attention and energy, just as the waves in the ocean will keep forming.
Step 2: Realise that you live now

Now you return to thinking about the project that you are working on now. Let go of all your anxiety and stress and consciously decide that you live now. Decide that there are dolphins now, and seals and whales playing around your boat who all deserve to be noticed. Decide that you can enjoy all the goodness of life now. Remain seated for a while, breathe in and out. Accept your project as it is, with ups and downs and hopes and fears. Now let go of your blind striving. Let go of your work stress. Let go of your impatience to complete the project as quickly as possible. Take a deep breath in. This is how you can let go of feeling stressed.

Step 3: Trust in life’s tempo

Trust life itself, which always completes its projects right on time. Never too early, never too late. The flower blossoms when the flower is ready for it. It doesn’t need our interference, impatience and stressful expectations. Simply do your work with dedication. Of course you are free to take up the binoculars to check if the harbour is in sight already. But don’t forget to put the binoculars away regularly and allow yourself to look around and experience life in all its beauty and grandness. Now.

Marisa x


Download my new ebook for free. With my unique approach you’ll learn how to avoid mindless stress reactions and become more resilient, focussed and emotionally balanced. 

Marisa Garau