by Simon Reynolds
Any business person aiming high is going to be stressed at times.
But surprisingly few have learnt smart ways to reduce their stress.
Below are 6 highly effective ways to keep your stress under control, no matter what is happening in your business and personal life.
1. REMIND YOURSELF OF WHAT’S GOING RIGHT.
Usually people are stressed about just one or two areas of their life. If they only took a moment to look at the big picture, they would see that the vast majority of their life is going well. Grab a pen and some paper and write a list of all the stuff that’s going well in your life. (You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how long the list becomes.). Now stick that list next to your computer, so that you see it all day long. Watch how quickly your perspective changes and your mood lifts.
2. GET ULTRA CLEAR ON YOUR TO DO LIST.
Clarity enhances serenity. If you’re stressed by how much you have to do, get precise about exactly what tasks must be done (You’ll often realize it’s less than you thought). Once you’ve created your list put a circle around the truly crucial tasks. Most of the time stressed executives have exaggerated just how much they have to do. Getting it down on paper helps you see that mountain of work may be smaller than you thought.
3. TIDY YOUR ENVIRONMENT.
The renowned personal development guru, Wayne Dwyer, says you can tell the state of a person’s mind by the state of their car. I agree. if you’re feeling overwhelmed one of the most effective strategies is to create order in your immediate environment – car, office, home. As you take charge of your surroundings your feelings of control will increase. And as the esteemed behavioral psychologist Martin Seligman has shown, there’s a strong correlation between feelings of control and well being.
4. TRY THE 3 BREATH RELEASE.
I mentor executives and entrepreneurs from all over the world. Whenever they come to me complaining about stress I get them to do this simple exercise:
Take a deep breath. Then as you exhale imagine all your problems and stress leaving you. Do this just 3 times and I bet your feeling of stressed has dissipated significantly.
5. FOCUS ON HELPING OTHER PEOPLE.
One of the most effective techniques for reducing your stress is to take the focus off yourself. When you start devoting time to helping others around you inevitably spend less time thinking about your own problems. There are several studies from the University of Pennsylvania linking happiness with service to others. It may seem strange to connect the two, but the truth is many people who are stressed in the corporate world are so partly because they are incessantly thinking about their own issues and situation, rather than others. We need to balance the two.
6. TAKE MASSIVE ACTION.
There is a concept in psychology known as Learned Helplessness – failing to respond or act to improve our circumstances. Originally discovered in rats, learned helplessness is also evident in some humans who feel overwhelmed by their roles and responsibilities. They feel that things are so bad there is little that they can do to change things. We have all felt this at some point in our business lives and it is a depressing feeling to say the least.
The cure though is simple. Take action to fix things. By proactively acting to improve our circumstances we regain a feeling of control and possibility. If we continue acting we soon get a change in our situation. Soon our situation improves, which encourages us to act further. A virtuous cycle develops which usually quickly improves our predicament.
The key is to act greatly, taking multiple steps to change things, even if we’re not sure if they’ll work. If we act enough, we will usually see vast improvements in almost any area we focus on.
So next time you’re feeling stressed at work, try one or two of these techniques. You’ll find every one of them is highly effective in both reducing your stress and improving your performance.