Our lifestyles have become more and more chaotic and stressful over the years. So much so that it is becoming a serious problem for Corporate America. Job stress is estimated to cost American Industry $300 billion a year. Think about it. $300 Billion! That is a sobering thought.
As one very stressed-out person, I know how it feels. There are so many different sources of stress that we all face on a daily basis. Coping with life in general these days, and carrying the the weight of the world on our shoulders can quickly suck all of the little joy and happiness out of our lives. We all have our reasons why we let stress weigh us down.
There are many ways to manage stress, and hopefully we can eventually erase it from our lives completely. I’ll try to illustrate some of the ways we can painlessly conquer our stress.
1. Change the Way You View Stress
Stress can be your friend! Because our bodies are designed with the natural “fight or flight” instinct, that burst of adrenalin will enhance your performance when you need it. I’ve never seen a pro athlete completely relaxed before a competition. Have you? You can use stress effectively to give yourself that little push when you need it the most.
2. Avoid Stress Whirlwinds
We all know at least one Stress Whirlwind. He or she blows through your life literally emanating stress and chaos. Stressed-out people infected everyone around them with the stress bug!
Protect yourself from these swirling stress-infectors by recognizing them and limiting your contact with them.
3. Find a Rock
When people around you are pulling their hair out and losing their minds, look around. Who always stays calm? What are they doing differently? What is their mind-set? What are they saying?
Figure out what their secret is and start doing what they do. If you can’t figure out how they manage to stay so calm – ask them! Learn from the strong and steady “rocks” and do what they do.
4. A Little Heavy Breathing?
This is something any athletic coach or instructor will tell you: You can fool your body into relaxing by breathing heavily. Breathe in slowly and deeply for a count of 10 then breathe out for a count of 15. Repeat this over and over, slowly and deeply, until you feel your heart rate start to slow down, your head stops spinning and you start to feel normal again.
5. Give Stress Thoughts the Boot
I’ve done it myself a million times. I actually manage to get myself all tied up in a stress knot all by myself. It’s the “what-if syndrome.” “What if this happens, then that will happen and then and then and then…” From my experience, these dreaded what-ifs never actually happen, so I’ve learned to stop worrying about them.
Recognize your stress thoughts and stop them in their tracks. Realize what is and what is not a realistic possibility.
6. Identify Your Hot Spots
Speeches, interviews, confrontations, presentations, dealings with certain people, tight deadlines… I’m getting stressed just listing them!
Make a list of your own stress triggers and hot spots. Try to be as specific as you can. Is it only speeches for a certain audience that get you going? Does one type of deadline cause more stress than others? Do you consume too much caffeine or other stimulants?
Identifying the causes of your stress is powerful knowledge. You can use that knowledge to control your own stress levels and identify your needs. Do you need more training? Do you need more resources? Do you need to change jobs? Cut back on the coffee?
7. Know your Limits
Lack of sleep, too many late nights, poor nutrition and lack of exercise is hard on our body and our mind. A sleep-deprived malnourished body and brain cannot be expected to deal with any added stress. Take proper care of yourself.
Stress is inevitable. But it doesn’t have to be unbearable.