12 Ways to Thrive Under Stress
Talking about stress is stressful. It’s one more problem to solve. But, ignoring it never resolves it. Stress builds up.
Disproportionate reactions indicate stress build-up.
Mary says, “Would you mind handing me that pencil?” Bob responds in anger, “You’re always asking for something. Get it yourself!” “Sheesh!”
Over 50% of the workforce feels:
- Overwhelmed by workload.
- Too many tasks prevent them from completing tasks.
- There’s no time for self-reflection.
Beware! Stress manifests physically, relationally, emotionally, and mentally. It’s not all bad, however.
4 Stress benefits
Healthy doses of stress:
- Energize and motivate.
- Enhance concentration. But, too much distracts.
- Produce great results. Stress brings out your best.
- Make you feel you matter.
Stephen Covey said, “Our ultimate freedom is the right and power to decide how anybody or anything outside ourselves will affect us.”
12 stress tips
- Acknowledge that it eventually becomes, “I can’t take any more.”
- Make lists. Anxiety that something fell through the cracks causes stress.
- Take ownership. Blaming is stressful.
- See it. Seeing stress helps solve stress. Listen to feedback from your body, for example.
- Manage don’t control. Controlling stress creates stress.
- Welcome stress that brings out your best. It’s your friend.
- Engage in stress relieving activities.
- Accept what won’t change. Don’t fight it.
- Say no.
- Find support.
I don’t want to cause more stress, but it kills you if you don’t deal with it.
Which stress tips are most useful?
How do you deal with stress?
It’s important to know what your team defines as stress…it’s different for different people. What I experience as stress and try to manage in the workplace or at home, can actually stress out my team or wife. Intentional communication about stress is critical.
It also helps to keep in mind that tension is what becomes stress. And tension can’t be eliminated, only managed.
So true Eric. I was in a meeting last night where I said I liked the stress of a deadline… everyone just looked at me and laughed because they know me and don’t always like what I like.
Stay open to possibilities. Stress sometimes means you are not working on what’s most important.
Thanks Karin… I do believe stress makes us feel life is closing in on us… and prioritizing sets us free… very useful.
Love love it. Priorities are key.
For me, laughing is the best stress reliever. Training hard is a close second. 🙂
It’s too bad that stressed out people lose their laughter… I know I do. Thanks Stuart…
Stuart, I am so with you this one. I was on a spa cruise while on vacation recently when. A bunch of us where comparing notes on the treatment we were having. The jokes started, and we didn’t stop laughing all afternoon. I can tell you the laughing did way more good than the treatments. And as I tell you this, I am transported back to those moments. I have a smile on my face, my posture is better, my shoulders are down from around my ears. I feel good.
Laughter truly is the best medicine!
I like the bonus tip best-laugh. It’s best to put into perspective what you are stressed about. I often times find that work stress is much smaller in comparison to what I could be stressed about. My mantra- we are building widgits, not doing brain surgery. It calms me and my employees so that we can work on the problems more effectively.
Thank you Tom… I see the idea of perspective… Nothing like stress to cause us to lose perspective… good one!
You have the name for it, Mr. Laughlin 🙂
Saying no is the best stress reducer for me. And, that’s because I like to say yes. I love being involved. So if I’m not careful, I can easily over commit.
Same here Todd. Same here.
Oh Yeah! so true. We don’t say no… which leads to too much to do… which leads to not meeting deadlines… it’s all stress causing… thanks for sharing.
Making lists is the best stress buster. It reminds us of the agreements we have with ourselves. Not keeping them – or worse, not knowing them – is what causes the most stress, since our subconscious mind already keeps tracks of it and doesn’t let go.
Thank you Subodh… agreed… that nagging feeling is our subconscious mind… additionally, after a few things get missed we anticipate missing more….glad you shared.
I deal with stress best by confronting it head-on. Investigate the problem or issue, separate the fact from the fiction (or fear), stay open to new solutions, choose the next do-able step forward no matter how small it may seem at the moment.
In down-times- music, dance, laugh. Life is short and precious.
Thank you Martina… Nothing like getting something done to alleviate stress. BTW, procrastinating is a nasty cause of stress…
Practicing compassionate acts towards others (write thank you notes, give up your seat on public transport, offering to bring, compliment someone on something they did) – tells your brain that the world can be place of kindness. Exercise: it wasn’t that long ago when (metaphorically speaking) it was us against cheetahs – and the use of our large muscles and related hormones helped end the stress event in a couple of minutes (one way or the other). Their still that need to do something relatively soon after getting the ALL CAPS email (or the like).
Powerful Allen! What a great add to the conversation. Be nice…stress makes us not nice…
When I read the first tip I automatically thought – “and get out of your own head.” I find when I’m stressed, I internalize everything and the best way for me to relieve the stress is to acknowledge it – to someone else. The act of sharing what is causing me stress puts it all into perspective and I find that I can easily eliminate half of the things that have been causing me stress.
I am a recovering person as I think I have mentioned before. Much to my delight I have done a lot of research in my going on 29 years sober and clean. I have looked into into the creation of AA with much interest and found very interesting stuff! Bill Wilson was quite a character. Loved by a very few and strongly disliked by many. Actually he was my kind of a guy, a drunks drunk! This may seem off topic but I am gonna tie it in, promise. Telling a story to make a point or two!
When AA was moving along there was some interest in writing down what they were doing….the Big Book cometh.
It was thought of till Bill thought he could make a business out of this thing and met with Rockefeller to finance the dealio. Then the book needed to get to print asap. By the way Rockefeller ended up giving very little money cause he felt money would mess up this AA thing.
One of the things Bill did during this time was he thought things needed to be a bit more organized. AA had no leaders but Bill was much bigger than his pants, often. He made a list of 61 rules and sent them out to all the fledging groups.They would all be singing the same song, the book would be in place and the centers all over the country and make Bill rich!!!!!!! Can’t you just see what he saw?
The Big Dude in the sky had a different idea, apparently. The only response Bill got back from the folks he sent his list of 61 rules to was simple. He got a peice of paper that only had 7 words and two numbers. They were, “Rule 62, Don’t take yourself so damn seriously”!
Now THAT is a great stress reliever, that is what I am talking about! Turn around kiss myself(James Brown reference). See I am on topic!
I also suggest anytime anyone is really feeling overwhelmed watch The Big Lebowski and let The Dude, Walter, The Purple Jesus and The Stranger help change up the upsetting paradigm you got going that is stressing you out. Know this is unorthodox but PROMISE it will work if you DO it instead of dismissing it as silly.
Two other things that have always helped me. One when I take myself too seriously I get in my birthday suit and stare at myself in a full length mirror.What a glorious sight! A few seconds of that and my upsetting paradim shifts. Rule 62 in all its agrandized glory! The other is VERY difficult for me. Go do something for someone else without telling anyone. As a partime egomanic, the other time I spend displaying my insecurity complex I find it incredibly difficult as the egomanic to do something for someone else without wanting to tell as many people as I can so they know how awesome I am!!!!!!!! When I am ever able to be truly selfless even if only for a second it does seem to pop the stress balloon and let all the stressful air out. LOL
Anyway, that is my two cents worth!!!!! Great topic Dan!
Scott(shifterp)hey anyone notice today is 12/12/12?
Scott, I am feeling the love.
Thanks for this heatfelt, let-it-all-hang-out, admit you’re human, reach-for-the-best post. Bonus: thinking of you in your b-day suit to gain perspective had me giggling. There’s a big part of acceptance and joy in that action.
It was all quite humbling at the same time. I get the ego-maniac-struggling-to-be-generous thing. I think we both have T-shirts from that store.
Hi Im or is it Cassie? hehe
Feelin the love back at ya!
Glad I could make you giggle even though the thought of be sharing myself in front of a mirror is what it took!
Take care and hope the best for you.
Scott, your spot on. People do tend to take themselves far too damn seriously as though there will be a major gap if they aren’t here. Stick your hand in a bucket of water and take it out, What’s missing ? or better still a definite cure for stress is stick your head in the bucket of water 3 times and only take it out twice !! 🙂
Seriously though, breathing has got to be one of the most important aspects of living through stress. People are rarely taught how to breathe their way out of difficult situations and if more attention was given to it – this is natures own natural remedy for controlling our emotion long enough to allow our logic to kick in. Remember emotional response runs 60,000 times faster than logic, and some peoples reactions will always be on fast forward while their brain is on rewind.
The response says more about the individual it comes from and their mental state at that time, than the recipient in the firing line.
I had a serious belly laugh when I read stick your head in a bucket of water three times and take it out twice! You have any idea how many people I know that doing that would help the world tremendously????? LOL
Thanks so much for the info on emotional responses. Many times I try to slow down and respond instead of react. Now I see how my emotions are wired to have me react. Thanks.
Such a non stuffy response was really refreshing!
Another thing that helps me is making a gratitude list and reading The God Memorandum(Og Mandino) Breathing slowly, calming down, remembering out of all the possible gene combinations the Big Guy chose only one combination that is uniquely ME is a special way for me to be thinking about me and the whirlwind of activity I can find myself in fretting!
One other way I deal with stress is to think I or the people I come in contact with are going to be dead at midnight! So if 10:32 am , right now, and it all ends tonight at midnight how would I want to spend my last hours on earth? Put things into their proper persepctive how bout it?
One last thing and I know I am bloviating but if I am going to be gone at midnight tonight, why not? hehe Remember I am aware, like everyone else of about 7 to 10% of what is actually going on, I can pretend the pretend person I am playing is real and acurate OR I can spend my time like Robert Fulgham realized…..Be aware of wonder! If 90% of what is really going on in this human condition I am completely oblivious to, I can be aware of wonder instead of pondering dispair! The choice of my thoughts is mine and only mine.
Another of the thoughts mentioned in The God Memorandum, Choose Wisely, that goes for thoughts too!
Well I always find the biggest challenge in being human is dealing with other humans and accepting that we are each perfect in our own imperfect way.
Depending on circumstances and objectives to be achieved it would be sometimes so much simpler if people all sung of the same hymn sheet, came from the same level playing field and open honest communication so that productive respectful progress could be made so much quicker !!
So I guess each of us works on a different TIME allocation and wonder why it takes some so long to catch up or disclose relevant information in a manner in which each individual can absorb it on their own level.
Those magic moments when it does happen are synchronicity and by goodness, no matter what, they are actually worth the pain of not getting there sooner sometimes. Who really knows at the end of the day – personally I think the diversity if the key factor that keeps us hanging on – if we all thought the same, acted the same, could anticipate the response, well Dan’s blog would be null and void – and just think off all that fun interaction and communication that would be lost 🙂
Connections, it is all about connections, good, bad, indifferent, trying not to label them, now that is the challenge.
No. 2 – Make lists is THE key tool for admin professionals to deal with stress. That, and make sure we getup from our chairs(no. 7) at least twice a workday. Great post!
Not just breathe, but breathe deeply…get a bit more O2 into the system, that helps and gets you out of a faux fight/flight mindset
Lots of good tips. I think they work together. You take on too much work or emotional burden (either outside or self imposed), you blame others, stress changes your perception of things, you choose to feel worse. Recoginzing it happens is the first step to getting better. You sort out what’s going on, make lists, change things, look for what you are bringing on yourself, have gratitude for all the good things you could think about instead, focus your energy on one thing and get it done, get some exercise, laugh and love, help someone. Then you feel better. I think yesterday’s post is a good tip. Be aware of what’s going on around you, and within you. Keep them in balance, project your best self to others, and to yourself.
Some of my team members thrive under the stress of an impending deadline, while others go into a tailspin if they are behind. They key is to figure out which one is which.
As for me, stress is good and bad — much like the examples you set forth in your blog. The right stress brings clarity and energy — while the wrong type makes me physically ill.
Stress – where would we be without it? I am convinced there are two types – good stress and bad stress. Good stress energizes us and makes us do things. Bad stress is thought based – we think about something over and over but don’t do anything. If we are doing things, it’s fine. The problems come when we are rehearsing in our heads… Always love your blog Dan!
I deal with stress by listening and reading positive tips for coping and reducing stress. Also, I try to take time to slow down and think about what’s happening. Then prioritize the must haves -vs- the nice to haves.
Stress surrounds us and can’t be avoided if we are engaged in this life. Some stress is good and some not so good. Self-care is key if we are to truly thrive. Acupuncture tops my self-care list. Our bodies hold on to stress that we believe we have let go of. Acupuncture gets rid of it.
NICE RIGHT UP, KEEP IT UP
After reading this post, I thought it would be helpful to mention a major 7 year study that we just completed entitled the Strategies for Enhancing Performance program. What is unique about the experimental/control design study is that we examined what workers are doing to direct their stress in positive ways.
One of the skill sets that proved to be very beneficial and worth mentioning is Bright’s 2M Simultaneous Focus Quick Charge. Bright’s 2M Simultaneous Focus Quick Charge is practiced by keeping in view the larger perspective, or the macro, while simultaneously operating in the immediate situation, or the micro. By imagining a camera lens, you can adjust your focus so you see both the Macro and the Micro perspective simultaneously.
When you are able to see the macro picture you may realize that you are not dealing with life and death issues, or consider reminding yourself that five years from now this deadline will not significantly affect your life. With this realization in mind, the intense pressured feelings you are experiencing will suddenly lessen and you will be able to better direct your energies and move into action.
Keeping both perspectives in mind when working in rapidly changing environments lowers frustration levels as energies are directed in productive ways. Without a 2M Simultaneous Focus, everyone easily loses their focus and perspective for a number of reasons: changing priorities, varying opinions, time pressures, technical complications, etc. When this happens, motivation levels drop, energies are misdirected and the project suffers.
So remember these steps:
1. Develop a proper focus:
• By determining specific short- and long-term “wants.”
2. Keep a proper focus:
• By consistently linking smaller tasks to the larger picture.
• By asking yourself, “What’s the purpose?”