05 Mar How To Stop Stress Before It Gets The Best Of You!
Stress impacts everyone. It impacts every disease, every sleep problem, and every cell in the body. Stress spreads far and wide and consumes the lives of our family, friends and colleagues. In the work we do with small, medium and large businesses, I often ask people to rate their stress on a 10 point scale. I let them know that a rating of 10 means the stress they’re feeling is hindering their daily functioning, causing severe anxiety, panic attacks, sleeplessness and more. What’s remarkable is that it doesn’t matter the amount of revenue, the number of employees or the quality of the work environment . . . people consistently rate their daily stress on average between 6-8! An average stress rating of 6-8 is a BIG problem.
But the demands of work and home life aren’t going anywhere so what can we DO about this stress epidemic? Read below for three strategies I’ve found to help manage stress so that it doesn’t get the best of you!
- Take proactive measure at the start and end of the day. Stress rarely just pops up on us. Typically, we tend to feel a general unease in life that then causes our body to experience a greater response to a stressful situation. The more proactive we are with stress-mitigating practices, the calmer we’ll remain in the chaos. Start every morning with simple, slow, deep belling breathing. Take 5+ minutes to pray, meditate, or just be still as you listen to inspiring music. Practice gratitude by writing down 5-10 things you’re grateful for that day. And make time for daily movement. You can repeat these practices as often as you’d like and especially before sleep.
- When the going gets tough, turn inward. The day is full of constant stimulation; the hum of the refrigerator, the sound of the garbage truck, horns beeping, doors closing, music playing, people talking, notifications buzzing away at you…it’s endless. Throw in a stressful situation and suddenly, your body is on overload! External events can impact our level of happiness. Joy and contentment, however, reside within. In a stressful moment, get quiet, center yourself, envision the chaos flying around you like a tornado while you sit protected in the calm of the storm. This will provide you time to turn inward, consciously decide how you’d like to move forward and address the situation with grace and confidence. It is possible to experience joy and contentment in troubled times; you must, however, practice, practice, practice.
- Shift when necessary. Be aware of patterns; if the same stressful situation pops up every Monday morning, it’s worth exploring ways to make it better. Assess your personal routine, the processes at work, the communication you’re having with your team, and the potential need for revamping something in one or more areas to alleviate the root cause of the stress. As a great mentor of mine always says “no change = no change”. Be open to the possibility that better does exist and act on it. Sometimes even making ONE small, simple change can have a huge impact on a particular scenario causing you stress.
- Now, take a deep belly breath . . . in . . . and out . . . Repeat.