It’s normal to feel overwhelmed at the office what with all your deadlines, reports, and responsibilities, but it’s also possible that your mind is just playing tricks on you. According to a study published in the Journal of Marketing Research, emotional conflict or feelings of guilt or fear may cause you to think that you're way in over your head.

Case in point: Researchers asked participants to think about completing a set of tasks, then asked them to imagine those same said tasks in conflict with each other—whether because of competing time or resources. Results showed that the participants felt anxious no matter what the reason for the conflict was.

Sound familiar? Here are a few tips to help you get a handle on your stress levels at work.

Stanford graduate Melanie Rudd found that breathing is the easiest way to combat stress, so whenever you feel it creeping up on you, take deep, slow breaths as you try to find your center. “Focus on meditative, cleansing breathing—that means counting to five as you inhale, letting your diaphragm expand, and counting to six as you exhale,” reports Real Simple.

Divide your to-do list in quadrants.
Are your responsibilities playing a game of tug-of-war with you? Settle the internal dispute by making a proper to-do list. Fold a clean sheet of paper into four and label the sides with Urgent, Not Urgent, Important, and Not Important. This way, you can categorize which tasks are important and urgent at the same time, which ones are not important but still urgent, and so on and so forth.

Reverse your negative emotions.
Feeling anxious about today’s workload? Try this trick: Tell yourself that you’re excited instead. It’s all a matter of perspective! Don't psych yourself out before you've even started.

PHOTO: Ray Smith/Flickr Creative Commons

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