How do I deal with stress at work?

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How do I deal with stress at work?

Six months ago, when asked how I dealt with stress at work, I would have responded with an emphatic, “I don’t,” or, to be more accurate, “I can’t stop being stressed” I genuinely tried, but the nature of my work-from-home data entry job, combined with the intense pressure from my boss and family, made stress management an insurmountable challenge.

My boss demanded that I be glued to my desk for eight hours a day, completing a specific amount of work per hour, while my family believed that I was simply playing on the computer. Amidst the burnout, I wondered: How could I remain composed and stress-free? Is it possible to reach a point where I don’t need to worry about anything? Is stress real, or is it a mindset imposed by society?

During my struggle, while searching for stress-relieving strategies, I stumbled upon a powerful quote.

“Stress Is a Fact. Being Stressed Is A Choice”

This quote reminded me of Marcus Aurelius, whom I first heard of in a college philosophy class but had never deeply explored.

Marcus Aurelius was a Roman emperor known for his Stoic philosophy and his book “Meditations.” He rules during a challenging time and is admired for his commitment to duty and justice. Many people haven’t heard of him, but the more I learned about Marcus Aurelius, the more I realized something important.

Take a moment to read this piece that I took from Daily Stoic: “When Marcus Aurelius said that he could choose not to feel harmed and then he wouldn’t be? That’s what he meant. When he talked about discarding his anxiety, that’s what he meant. Stress was a fact of life. Being stressed, feeling stressed, acting out in response to stress—that was a choice.”

So what do I get from it? 

Through Marcus Aurelius’s wisdom, I discovered Stoicism, a philosophy of comprehension and action. It required active application rather than passive acceptance, especially in dealing with workplace stress and family conflicts.

Stoicism emphasizes that while external events are beyond our control, we can govern our perceptions, judgments, and responses to them. This realization holds immense significance.

In my personal experience, the relentless demands of my job and misinterpretations by my family are external factors beyond my direct influence. However, my emotional reaction to these stressors—namely, stress itself—is within my control.


For those unfamiliar, Marcus Aurelius was a practitioner of Stoicism. As I shared before, discovering Stoicism was life-changing. It taught me about self-control and resilience, aiding me in navigating the challenges of my remote data entry job and the misunderstandings within my family. It was like a panacea for the struggles I was facing.

Stoicism emphasizes living in harmony with nature and understanding that the sole true good lies in virtues such as wisdom, courage, justice, and moderation. Meanwhile, external events beyond our control are perceived as indifferent.

man in gray shirt sits on cliff - a picture that I choose to talk about how do I deal with stress at work with Stoicism.

Discovering Stoicism marked a pivotal point for me. As I delved deeper into its teachings, I embraced the idea that while stress is an inevitable part of life, how we respond to it is a choice we make.

Coping with stress

Stress, our body’s natural response to perceived threats, can be optimal in moderate amounts but extreme levels can lead to problems. While no one wants to deal with chronic stress, it’s important to recognize that stress is a natural part of life.

To address stress effectively, I started my Stoic journey with simple, yet impactful practices. Five minutes of deep breathing in the morning brought a sense of calm and refuge, transforming the once stressful morning air into a peaceful space. This simple change demonstrated the practical applicability of Stoicism in my daily life.

Delving deeper, I incorporated evening reflection into my routine. Each night, I dedicated time to journaling about my day, focusing on moments where I could have responded more Stoically. For example, when faced with a surprise work deadline, I reminded myself of Marcus Aurelius’s advice to only worry about what’s within my control.

This nightly practice not only helped me stay calm in chaotic situations but also gradually reshaped my approach to stress, making a calm Stoic attitude second nature to me. Here are five key meditation tips from the book “Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius that have been particularly helpful for me:

  1. Focus on the present moment: Live in the moment and concentrate on what you can control now, rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.
  2. Accept events as they come: Embrace events as they unfold, acknowledging that many things are beyond your control. Instead, focus on how you respond to them.
  3. Practice self-discipline: Cultivate discipline in your actions and thoughts, aiming to act with virtue and integrity in all situations.
  4. Maintain inner peace: Seek inner tranquility by realizing that external events cannot disturb your inner state unless you allow them to.
  5. Remember your mortality: Reflect on the transient nature of life and the inevitability of death. This can help put problems and setbacks into perspective and motivate you to live meaningfully.


My journey into Stoicism started when I hit a low point, feeling burnt out. But now, it’s like a guiding light for me, helping me stay strong. Thinking about Marcus Aureliu’s wise words, I don’t see a finish line, but a way forward. With Stoicism, I’m not just getting by–I’m doing well. I encourage you to try these ideas in your life too.

Let’s decide to not let stress beat us down, but to feel strong because of our inner power.

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