First of all, it’s not about getting rid of stress. That won’t happen. Stress is a part of real life – always has been, always will be.
Just as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, stress (and sometimes tons of it) is a part of our existence as humans.
So what is the difference between successful people, who thrive, even while faced with stressful circumstances, and those who crash and never get back up?
One component is resilience. A high degree of resilience is simply required in order to be successful over the long run. We all fall and we all fail. Getting back up is the key. Learning to rise again after the fall is a habit, and it takes courage.
The other part of the formula for success is managing and dealing with stress while it’s happening. Stress is real and it can do crazy things to our brains and bodies, if we let it. Stress can keep us awake all night and make us grouchy and irritable during the day. Stress can trap us in a state procrastination, feeling like we have so much to do and so little time.
Stress can take over our lives, but it doesn’t have to.
You are stronger and more powerful than your stress. Tackling your stress is a skill, and you can become better at managing it over time.
Here are some of my best stress-busting tactics.P
- Practice Self-Care. I am not talking about getting a massage or taking a long bath. While those things are great, what this means is giving yourself a break. Forgive yourself. You’re human. You’re bound to make mistakes and we’ve all made them. We’re imperfect and we goof up. I do. You do. It’s part of life and it’s ok. Cut yourself some slack and simply try to do better next time
- Surround Yourself with Positive People. Choose to hang out with positive, optimistic people who encourage you to grow and be the best you can possibly be. If you’re stuck with co-workers, or even extended family members who bring you down, quietly start to distance yourself. Limit the time you spend with negative people.
- Celebrate Your Progress.If you’re faced with looming deadlines at work or a mountain of paperwork at home, and you’re feeling overwhelmed by the work to be done, celebrate the work you have already completed. Maybe you’ve just finished a big project at the office, or you reorganized the garage; take pride in your accomplishments. Honoring the good things you’ve done can provide you with the encouragement to start another project. Be good to yourself and remind yourself that you’re doing many things right.
- Exercise and eat right. These are probably the most obvious, but they often go right out the window at times of stress. Exercising, especially outdoors, and eating a balanced, sensible diet can help tremendously with stress and anxiety. Get your heart pumping and your body moving! If you don’t know where to start when it comes to your diet, try adding a fruit or vegetable to every meal (white processed potatoes don’t count)!
- Sleep. We know sleep is crucial, but we don’t typically prioritize it. We also don’t always make sleep come easy. If falling asleep can be difficult, limit your caffeine and always skip the news and social media surfing before bed. If you can’t sleep, read to relax and unwind your mind.
- Meditate. Over the past five years, I’ve developed the habit of daily meditation. I’ve noticed that this is helpful in lowering my sense of stress. There are dozens of meditation techniques and tools to use, and getting started is easy. I’m enjoying an app on my smart phone called Calm. I recommend you try it!
If you’ll do these six things, I’ll bet that you can get a better handle on the stress in your life, and watch yourself to not only start feeling better, but also get a whole lot more done.
Here’s to winning your personal war against stress!!
Brett Blair – Executive Coach