Do you think your pup is worried that his doghouse isn't as big as the neighbor's doghouse? Or that his bark isn't as the Scottish Terrier down the road? Do you think he cares, or is perhaps scheming a treat or long walk?
We all want to be successful in whatever we choose to do in life. But, finding the right path can lead to tearing our hair out with all the frustration, grief, anxiety, and yes, stress. It's a state of mental conditioning that may be causing us to lose our sense of self, and worse your sanity. Just thinking about it can drive anyone to a feeling of doom and gloom.
As one stressed-out person to another, I know how it feels, and believe me there are many variants when it comes to stress. Coping with life, and carrying the problems that may or may not belong to you can scratch away the little joy and happiness that you experience once you head out that door.
There are many ways to manage stress. Here is a seven-day roadmap for you. I promise it's not going to be too draining on the body or the mind. Just a few simple steps!
1. Acknowledge Stress is Good
Make stress your friend! Based on the body's natural "fight or flight" response, that burst of energy will enhance your performance at the right moment. I've yet to see a top athlete totally relaxed before a big competition. Use stress wisely to push yourself a little bit harder when it counts most.
2. Avoid Stress Sneezers
Stressed people sneeze stress germs indiscriminately and before you know it, you are infected too!
Protect yourself by recognizing stress in others and limiting your contact with them. It may sound awful, but you can't let others create stress in your life. When people see that you aren't going to fall prey to their stress trap, they may likely stop.
3. Learn From the Best
When people around you become collectively stressed, who keeps calm? What are they doing differently? What is their attitude? What language do they use? Are they trained and experienced?
Figure it out from afar or sit down and chat. Learn from the best stress managers and copy what they do.
4. Practice Socially Acceptable Heavy Breathing
This is something I've learned from a gym instructor: You can trick your body into relaxing by using heavy breathing. Breathe in slowly for a count of 7 then breathe out for a count of 11. Repeat the 7-11 breathing until your heart rate slows down, your sweaty palms dry off and things start to feel more normal.
5. Give Stressy Thoughts the Red Light
It is possible to tangle yourself up in a stress knot all by yourself. "If this happens, then that might happen and then we're all up the creek without a paddle!" Most of these things never happen, so why waste all that energy worrying needlessly?
Give stress thought-trains the red light and stop them in their tracks. Okay so it might go wrong - how likely is that, and what can you do to prevent it?
6. Know Your Trigger Points and Hot Spots
Presentations, interviews, meetings, giving difficult feedback, tight deadlines…. My heart rate is cranking up just writing these down!
Make your own list of stress trigger points or hot spots. Be specific. Is it your children, during the first 30 minutes they get home from school? Is it only presentations to a certain audience that get you worked up? Does one project cause more stress than another? Did you drink too much coffee?
Knowing what causes you stress is powerful information, as you can take action to make it less stressful. Do you need to learn some new skills? Do you need extra resources? Do you need to switch to decaf?
7. Burn the Candle at One End
Lack of sleep, poor diet and no exercise wreaks havoc on our body and mind. Kind of obvious, but worth mentioning as it's often ignored as a stress management technique.
Being under stress can be incredibly draining, but that should not hinder us from finding inner peace. Take it one step at a time, enjoying life along the way!
Live, Love, Chat & Eat,