How to Reduce Stress at Work

In 2020, 77% of workers in Australia and NZ experienced burnout.

When it comes to reducing stress, we often hear well-intended but often unhelpful advice such as “Try to reduce your stress” or “Learn to say no!”, which leaves people feeling disempowered. According to Mindset and Resilience Expert, Alison Earl, most people have the desire to be responsible for their wellbeing themselves, and it is up to companies and organisations to arm their people with the right tools to be ‘able’ to respond to the stresses and uncertainties of life.

Amongst her many talents, Alison is an author, international speaker, trainer, and is dedicated to solving the most complex problems in behavioural change. ThinkTank was fortunate enough to chat to her about the role of stress and how we can reframe our attitude towards it.

“Stress will kill you…but only if you think it will”

Alison points out that we are not failing when we have a stress response, it is there to help us and alert us. Through research, Alison shows that our beliefs about stress are more dangerous than stress itself and she has come up with the following new approach to stress management.

  1. RESPOND: How our bodies react to stress
  2. REBOUND: Quick ways to bounce back
  3. RELEASE: Ways to release past emotions


  1. Our bodies respond to stresses the same way for life-threatening situations as a perceived threat, which means we are in a heightened state of awareness when surrounded by modern triggers. The key is to move into a challenge-response with a simple mindset intervention. Alison recommends priming ourselves for the positive aspects of stress and reframing the way we think of it. For example, define your role through the way you help others.
  2. We need to become state shifters and find easy ways to regulate our minds.
    • Nature: Taking a walk in a green space is a perfect way to drop your heart rate, and even just looking at a picture of a beautiful outdoor setting will have a positive impact.
    • Breathe: Alison also suggests notice your breath and breathe deeply to regulate. A quick exercise it to breathe in for 4 counts and out for 6.
    • Smile: Not only do people find you more attractive when you smile, but it is also a quick and easy way to release feel-good hormones.
    • Pose: Adjusting the way you stand can release tension and change your reaction to stress. Try standing in a strong superhero pose for 2 minutes.
    • Music: When we listen to music that we like we release dopamine which can relax and positively change our mood.
  3. Carrying negative emotions is very bad for our brain so Alison recommends offloading our thoughts onto paper in the form of unfiltered writing. Expressing ourselves in this way changes our brain activity around stress to help us think differently.

If you are wanting to reframe your stress belief system and begin leveraging and even thriving from stressful situations, we believe Alison’s practical tips above are a great way to start. If you would like to know more about changing your mindset get your hands on Alison’s new book Tripowerment or sign up for her 19-Days of Resilience Boosters, featuring 19 highly practical tips from her upcoming book Response-Ability: You Have More Control Than You Think. Of course, feel free to contact Alison directly here.

ThinkTank specialise in delivering inspiration and ideas to help you reach the top of your career and stay there. Check out our Corporate Health & Wellbeing Summit Calendar.

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