In these days of 7X24 availability via smart phones, emails, texts, etc., it is easy to fall into a perpetual state of mind-numbing stress. I hear from an awful lot of people that they just cannot seem to break the grip that stress has them in. So how can you break out of the grip that stress has you in? Here are five good actions you can take to break the cycle of stress.
Time For Me — Schedule time every morning just for you. Get up earlier in the morning each day if you need to in order to accomplish this, it really is THAT important! Spend this time wisely by working out briefly, stretching, reading a good book, whatever will be a great investment in YOU! Too often, when the relentless activities of life’s whirlwind begin to wear us down, we fall into bad habits, and one of the first things we forget to do is to take care of ourself. Start each day by doing something smart, and invest in a few minutes of quiet solitude where you take a first positive step for yourself. If you don’t take care of yourself who will?
Have A Plan— Make sure early in the day, that you set aside a quiet five minutes that you devote to reflection on the day ahead. Get rid of all the distractions and relax. Breathe in and out, slowly and deeply, and focus your attention on thinking calmly about the day ahead. The day ahead may bring disorder, calamity, and chaos, but during these five minutes, you remain calm. While you have yourself relaxed and calm, think about what is most important today. Prioritize. If you carve out enough time on your busy calendar to invest an hour or two to working on what is most important, and most constructive to your future success, you will quickly become proactive. Research shows that when we’re calm and proactive, we’re usually at least 30-40% more productive than when we’re stuck in the tempest of urgency, reacting to events at the last minute all day long.
Choose Your Attitude — Don’t laugh, this is super important, isn’t it? How many times have things gone wrong in your life and upon reflection you had to admit to yourself (usually later when you had time to reflect) that your attitude had gotten away from you? Life is a series of choices. Business is a series of choices. Someone has to make them, and it makes sense that it might as well be you, right? And if you’re going to be making a bunch of choices, don’t you want them to be good choices? Of course! So, start yourself out of the starting blocks with a great attitude, expecting the best. A great attitude probably centers around abundance, gratitude, great intentions, believing the best in others, and working hard to make the most of the opportunities. Great attitudes can carry us through a great many hazards in life, and a terrible attitude makes the work more difficult and costs us the trust of our colleagues.
Make Common Sense Common — In your life, you can leverage things that work for others. You just have to make up your mind that you’re going to add working smart to your working hard mantra. I tell folks frequently that just because something makes common sense, doesn’t mean it is commonplace. It’s pretty easy to do the right things, like eating right, and getting some sleep, and getting some exercise each day. Sadly, it’s just as easy NOT to do those things and to live life on the edge of disaster. It’s a choice. It doesn’t take long for a series of small positive actions to become habits. Make common sense a habit, and watch your prospects get better.
Relish — Great word, relish. It means to appreciate something that spices up your life, whether food, drink, music, experience, etc. Practice relishing the good stuff. Enjoy your work. Enjoy your workout. Enjoy a walk with your dog. Relish driving to work a different way today, or drive home tonight via a new route, and smell the flowers! Meet a friend for lunch and get caught up. Be present in the moment, and notice the little things that make life worth relishing. Then relish the experience!
I hope these five simple ideas make a difference for you. I know what it’s like to struggle and to suffer from inordinate stress. Let’s be frank, stress sucks! Once you have a little talk with yourself and give yourself permission to choose to reduce the stress and stick to your plan, it begins to happen. Let’s respect the fact that nothing we do in life removes all unfortunate events and challenges. There will be stress in your life, no matter what, but you DO get to CHOOSE whether you’re going to let it RULE you, or whether YOU are going to rule the stress and send it packing. Here’s hoping that the coming day and weeks are less stress-filled for you!
Michael is a Business Consultant and Executive Development Coach in the Twin Cities and works with companies and business professionals who want to raise the level of their game. Check out Michael’s YouTube channel and his blog at www.michaelbeachcoach.com. Michael Beach Coaching & Consulting “Delivering Ambitious Results!”