When it comes to entrepreneurship, leadership, or just being a solid part of a team, it always pays to have control over your emotions. Stress and pressure is a part of any career, and everybody will experience inevitable go through many stressful scenarios over the course of their career. Perhaps the worst part about stress is its negative long term effects. Prolonged stress can damage parts of the brain necessary for self control, potentially creating more stress in the long run in a vicious cycle that can be difficult to escape from.
The start to dealing with stress is acknowledging when it’s becoming a problem. Stress is an absolutely normal emotion, and in limited amounts, is crucial to strong performance, oddly enough. However, keeping it under control is critical for anyone looking to achieve peak productivity and lead a happy life. The key is determining patterns that may indicate that it is negatively affecting you. Examine any changes in your physical or mental activities that may be caused by anxiety.
If you’ve found that you’re facing a great deal of stress, don’t hesitate to deal with it. In addition to the effects mentioned above, highly stressed individuals can suffer from increased risks of heart disease and obesity. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to cope, and many can be done even in a workplace.
The first step? Letting go of anything you can’t change. The natural temptation is to replay every mistake and every error repeatedly, imagining a way out or an alternate behavior that you simply can’t affect. Look back on these mistakes, but do so through a lens of self-awareness so that you can avoid them again. Assess, and then advance your life. On the physical side of things, letting go involves finding a quiet place to sit and focus. Start by taking deep breaths, and then systematically examine your environment. Go through your senses and take time to consider what you are seeing, hearing, smelling, and touching. Breathing should be circular; in through the nose and out through the mouth.
Additionally, consider cutting off all communication for a short period of time. Between texts, emails, and social media, we are subjected to a constant barrage of communication that can contribute to stress. That’s not to say that you should completely go off the grid, especially if you have others depending on you for help. However, if you can, avoid work-related communications when out of the office; this will make your evenings and weekends more pleasant and allow you to separate your duties from your leisure time.
Speaking of scheduling off time, getting a good night’s sleep is important. It’s an old cliche for a reason; a consistent sleep schedule improves emotional intelligence and reduces stress. In fact, sleep deprivation can lead to irritability and negatively affect performance. It may be tempting to stay up to finish a project that is causing you stress, but often, doing so can make the situation worse. Oh, and avoid using caffeine to stay up; it can compound the issue and make you more prone to poor decision making.
Now, of course, changing your routine can only do so much. Sooner or later, you will have to face the things that have you stressed. When doing this, it is helpful to reframe everything that you are facing. Remember that you can control how you respond to stressors even if you cannot change the stressors yourself. Think through the ways that you plan on responding to each issue, and make a schedule for tackling them one at a time. Stay positive and quash negativity; rather than believing that nothing will work out, ponder ways that things can work.
Don’t be afraid to get others involved when it comes to dealing with issues. A support system is critical to dealing with many stress-related problems, and even just talking about what’s on your mind with others can be cathartic and help you reframe what you are facing.
Stress may be tough to contend with, but you must also accept that it is a natural part of life. Instead of bottling up your concerns, be adaptable and learn to live with them. These tactics may not work for everybody; after all, different people have different needs. They do, however, offer a great starting point for anyone wishing to make a difference in their lives both in and out of work.