Stress, along with taxes, is one of the few guarantees in the life of any business owner, entrepreneur, or executive. With a never ending – and ever growing – to-do list, long hours, and the constant struggle to balance work and life, it’s not hard to let the pressure and stress of being one of your organization’s key decision makers get to you.
With that in mind, the side effects of becoming overly stressed can be dire if allowed to go unchecked. Not only do high stress levels make it difficult to concentrate on the tasks we have at hand, and stifle our productivity, but can actually lead to a number of physical symptoms, ranging from a weakened immune system to long-term and serious cardiovascular issues.
As a result, it’s crucial that any professional consciously takes steps to help alleviate the effects of stress in their lives, not only to enhance their mood, and feel better in general – but to ensure peak job performance, and ultimately, heighten your level of success.
Below are 5 simple stress reductions tips:
1. Set an “Unplug Yourself” Time – and Stick to It
In a world of e-mail enabled smart phones, tablets that fit on even the smallest of night stands, and easily accessed wireless Internet, it’s growing increasingly difficult to step away from the digital forms of communication that dominate the modern business world. While that can be convenient during the working day, it can also give business responsibilities an avenue to leak into our personal lives, make it difficult to balance work and life, and even lead to late-night email sessions that prevent a good night’s sleep.
By consciously setting a concrete time each evening to step away from your inbox, and shut the laptop down, you can help preserve a solid separation between your professional and personal life, and help ensure that your mind and body have the time to rest and recuperate each night. It might be easier said than done, especially for those of us that work on a global scale, but there are rarely things that absolutely can’t wait until morning.
The connection between the mind and the body is often taken for granted by many fast-paced professionals. While it might seem like a difficult time constraint to exercise regularly, and pay attention to nutrition, a healthy and well fueled individual will always be more productive, and feel better, than one who’s hungry and lethargic.
With as little as 30 minutes of light exercise every other day, you can release an increased level of endorphins (the chemicals that trigger “happiness” in the brain) that can go great lengths in reducing the reactions in the body that cause stressful feelings.
“In essence, if we want to direct our lives, we must take control of our consistent actions. It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently.” – Tony Robbins
3. Learn to Forget Failure Fast, and Instead, Focus on Your Next Success
A bad memory is one of the greatest traits a professional looking to avoid stress can have. No matter how well prepared, intelligent, or talented you are, it’s guaranteed that you’ll have at least a few major failures in your career. It isn’t a comfortable truth, but it’s a truth nonetheless.
However, allowing those failures to linger with you will only cause negative feelings, a lowered overall mood, and an increase in your stress levels. While it’s definitely a talent that requires some practice, one of the best ways to avoid stress is to always keep your mind focused on your next task or opportunity. After all, all it takes is one success to regain your momentum again.
4. Keep Your Friends Close, and Your Family Closer
Our close friends and loved ones typically provide us with support, smiles, and help us feel good about ourselves. Unfortunately, we often allow our work to keep us from them, which can lead to feelings of guilt and strain those valuable relationships as well. For these reasons, maintaining relationships is the most important facet of walking the tight rope that is attempting to balance work and life.
For obvious reasons, failing to invest our time into these relationships, can lead to often-insurmountable levels of stress in our lives. As a result, schedule time with those closest to you with the same diligence as you would with prospective clients or important business associates. It might get difficult sometimes, but the emotional benefits of healthy relationships will always pay dividends when it comes to managing stress levels.
“Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family: Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.” – Jane Howard
5. Always Remember to Reward Yourself
Ambition and drive are both great things, and they’re often what cause us to pursue professional success in the first place. However, when they keep us from ever slowing down to enjoy the fruits of our labor – and lead us to push ourselves too hard – they can turn into one of the biggest causes of stress we face.
With that in mind, when the going gets tough, be sure to always reward yourself with some time off for a mental or physical vacation, a purchase that relates to one of your hobbies, or an indulgent treat from time to time. Not only does this practice help enhance your overall mood and reduce stress, but helps you remember why you’re working so hard in the first place, and provide strong positive motivation as well.