How to Stay Calm at Work: 5 Lessons for Reclaiming Peace of Mind in the Workplace

Looming deadlines.

Endless to-do lists.

Conflicts with colleagues.

Late nights worrying about that next promotion.

Whether we love or loathe our jobs, these experiences are common among working people. According to a 1999 National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) publication titled Stress…At Work, 40% of workers reported their jobs to be very or extremely stressful and 25% of workers viewed their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives. These numbers demonstrate that staying calm at work has become a major challenge.

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Spire In Real Life (IRL): A Work Break

Welcome to Spire In Real Life (IRL), a blog series where we show you how Spire works in real-life situations.

Today’s Spire IRL post highlights our intern Radhika who was wearing Spire to track her state of mind at work. Here, we illustrate a sliver of her day where her breath rate changed from a resting state to a working state. (The way we work often results in tension, which can manifest as muscle tension and an increase in breath rate.)

Radhika was on a short, 5-minute work break. During this break, her breath rate was an even 14 cycles per minute (illustrated below as “breaths per minute”, bpm). Then, she started her work, coordinating between different suppliers. As anyone who has had to coordinate between suppliers already knows, this is not an easy task.

So, what happened?

radhika gif

Radhika’s steady 14 cycles-per-minute (cpm) jumped up to 20.5 over just 20 minutes of working.

While 6.5 cycles per minute may not sound like a big difference on the face of it, consider that the average adult’s breathing rate is 12-18 cpm when at rest. So, while working, Radhika’s breath rate was above average. The animation above illustrates this a bit more clearly. Try breathing along with each animation – inhaling as the circle expands, exhaling as the circle contracts – to feel just how big a difference there is between the two breath rates.

For this first Spire IRL post, we looked specifically at breath rate. In future posts, we’ll be digging deeper into the connection between breathing patterns, health, and state of mind. The Spire IRL series will demonstrate how Spire works and can help you in real life. If you’re curious why breathing patterns are so important to health and state of mind, check out Breath & Spire: A Few Key Questions and Why Your State of Mind is Critical to Your Health.

Got an idea for a Spire IRL post?  Please email us at

P.S. Don’t worry about Radhika! We allow her at least three minutes of sunshine and recreation every day. 😛