Combat Stress with these easy, practical methods
Stress has become the number one reason why people have time off work sick these days. Business owners, especially small business owners, are definitely not immune to stress. The problem for them is that they can’t afford time off work to deal with it.
Most business owners, especially men who don’t like to go to the doctor anyway, live in denial about stress. A very dangerous practice because stress can lead to many other health problems such as high blood pressure, heart attacks and depression. That’s just the health problems ! Translate these into the affect they have on your business and we can add lack of productivity, lack of concentration, ineffectiveness and lack of focus. In turn they lead to more stress, financial problems (personal and business) and more depression.
Everyone Suffers From Stress At Some Time
The first thing we have to recognise is that there is no shame in feeling stressed or depressed. Everyone, at some times in their lives, suffers from stress and/or depression. I know I have and everyone I know has. At one stage my depression was so bad I could hardly function at all. Not good for someone who had always prided themselves on being able to cope with anything. I couldn’t even tell you why I dropped into such a depression. Read about the symptoms of stress and depression here. You will even be able to take an individual stress test there.
Luckily, I recognised what was happening and sought treatment which has helped me recover. I also did a lot of research into why we suffer from stress and now offer you these 12 simple techniques to preventing it in your life.
Tips to Help Prevent or Relieve Stress
1.Be Happy. Laugh hard and loud. If you don’t have a sense of humour, find someone else who has. Laughter releases endorphins (happy chemicals) from the body, and it helps boost your immune system.
2. Take Control Over Your Time. You’ll be much more able to deal with stress if you have a good handle on your job, relationships, and other activities.
When you are in control, you are more inclined to stay focused and calm. Plan your time wisely. To learn more about managing your time see my blog post here.
3. Work Out. Get into the habit of doing exercise such as brisk walking, swimming or whatever appeals to you. Play a sport you’re interested in. Aerobic exercises can considerably reduce the stress factor as well as improving cardiac and respiratory functions of your body. Work outs improve sleep, giving you time to think and focus on other things. They also promote the release of natural soothing chemicals in your body.
4. Search For A Support Group. You’ll be able to manage stress much better if you have other people helping and supporting you. Did you know that happily married people and people who are outgoing (always meeting with friends), have considerably low levels of stress in their lives? Choose positive friends who are not worriers. Friends who continually put you down or talk gloomily about life will increase your anxiety. Don’t bottle things up because that in itself is stressful. Invite a good friend to help you talk out a problem and get it off your chest. Pardon others instead of holding grudges. Don’t expect too much from other people because perfectionism is not the means to happiness. Others may not see the world as you do. Become more flexible and adaptable to your environment.
5. Eat Properly. Never skip meals, especially breakfast. Take time to eat no matter how busy you are. Take nutritious snacks to the office, or even the shopping mall. A nutritionally balanced diet is essential to your health and lifestyle. For example, researchers have found that even small deficiencies of thiamin, a B-complex vitamin, can cause anxiety symptoms. Pantothenic acid, another B-complex vitamin, is critical during times of stress. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and large amounts of sweets, which can worsen symptoms of stress.
6. Think Optimistically. Count your blessings, particularly when everything seems to go wrong. Believe that many other people are living in worse conditions than you are. Don’t exaggerate the complexity of your problems. Every problem has a solution. All you need to do is find that solution. Learn to be happy and to enjoy life’s blessings. Live one day at a time.
7. Anticipate Problems Before They Occur. This takes some planning and preparation. If you are going to another city for an important meeting, carry your presentation materials and dress suit on board the plane. Keep your car in great condition and gassed up to minimise the risk of it breaking down at the worst time. Keep food ready anytime at your house so you can fix a fast meal without going to the store. Keep food, medicine, and toiletries on hand so you never have to feel stressed when they run out.
8. Enjoy The Good Things That Life Has to Offer. Grant yourself some physical pleasure and enjoyment to help your stress slip away. Indulge yourself with a professional massage, or trade massages with a loved one. Give yourself consent to enjoy a movie, watch a concert or sports event, listen to music, or read a book. Take pleasure in a soothing cup of chamomile herb tea with a little bit of honey. Anything to relieve the tension you’re feeling.
9. Have a Definite Goal or Purpose in Life, and Strive for it. Plan ahead to meet your most desired goals in life. You should always wake up with a sense of purpose. Time management experts highlight the importance of writing down your important goals. Break big projects down into a series of small steps that you can work on every day. Want to change jobs? Contact one prospective employer today. Is writing a book your dream? Commit to writing one page a day. Word by word, slowly but surely, you will get to your ultimate destination. Knowing that you are striving toward your dreams relieves frustrations that mount when you feel stuck in a situation that seem to have no direction.
10. Move Away to Recharge Your Spirit. Make a schedule for some private time alone every day. You deserve it. Unplug the telephone and enjoy a quiet evening alone or with your family, or even 15 continuous minutes in the shower or bathtub. You may want to spend a few minutes writing your feelings out in a journal. It can help you find a new viewpoint in life and relieve internal conflicts.
More Tips to Recharge Your Spirit
Wear earplugs for instant peace anytime, anyplace.
Meditate. Two methods: Observe your thoughts as they pass through your mind. Or, repeat a word or phrase with an uplifting meaning. You can read more on meditation here.
Practice progressive relaxation for 20 minutes twice a day to relive high blood pressure and other physiological responses to stress. Tighten and release each muscle group in turn, starting with the soles of the feet and slowly working up to the scalp.
Schedule a weekend activity that is a change of your usual routine. If your week is a lot scheduled activities, relax and enjoy other activities you enjoy. If you are never able to finish anything during the week, choose a project that you can complete in a few hours on weekends. I Iove photography and, whenever possible, I take one day each weekend to take and process photographs
Take time out for a little relaxation in the middle of your workday. When the pressures of completing a project are too great, your productivity can drop. Take a walk or eat lunch outside the office.
11. Use Visualization and Affirmation Techniques. You can conquer something you fear by going over the event in your mind. Imagine the scene in clear detail and visualize the best possible result that may happen. You can also reduce an imagined fear down to size by picturing the worst possible outcome. Visualize describing this worst case to your best friend the next day and the sympathy you receive. Imagine telling a group of friends the next month, who contribute with their similar experiences. Finally, imagine joking about your unpleasant experience with a complete stranger a month later. If you carry this exercise through to the end, your stress will become something to laugh about. Replace negative self- talk with affirmations. Don’t let your mind be filled with gloom: You’re too ugly. . . you’re too old. . .you’ll never achieve anything. And things like: What if I fail the exam? What if she doesn’t like my gift? What if we get lost? These things haven’t even occurred yet. Nourish your mind with a constant stream of “I can; therefore, I will.”
12. Get Sufficient Sleep. Settle on how much sleep you require for best possible performance. Lack of sleep worsens the body’s responses to stress and lowers the immune system. I’ve found that as I’ve got older, I can only sleep for 3 or 4 hours at a time. I’ve accepted that and learned to have some sleep during the day to recharge my batteries. I don’t get any more than 8 hours a day but I take those 8 hours when I really need them.
I hope that you have found this post informative and helpful. Stress is a modern problem which affects everyone and if you know how to control it you will enjoy life much more. Take care of your physical and mental health and you will be more productive in your work, happier in your relationships and altogether more efficient.
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Have a really happy and stress free day.