Stress is unavoidable, it is a fact of life and although I believe it can and should be managed, short term stress is not always a bad thing.
Sometimes it’s what motivates and drives us to get things done. That old saying “no pain, no gain” is true if we want to grow and develop and be successful it is necessary to stretch our comfort zone and that can cause feelings of stress.
However, when we feel stressed it’s easy to just let our emotions take over and to start to listen to that little voice in your head that is saying
- “you can’t do that”
- “you’re a bad mum for wanting that”
- “who is going to listen to you”
What we think affects how we feel which affects how we behave so if you think you can’t do something you will feel like you can’t do it. Once you feel like you can’t do something, that in turn affects your behaviour so maybe you don’t even try or maybe you just don’t do as good a job as you could have done if you were better prepared both mentally and physically.
Next time you are in the middle of or coming up to a stressful situation remember this easy ABC to keep the stress manageable:
A is for Affirmation
It is important to drown out your inner critic. We all have one, it might be your voice that you hear or it might be a parents or ex-partners voice. It might be loud or it might be just a whisper. Next time you are aware of that inner critic have an affirmation at the ready to drown it out and to help you stay focused. An example is:
“I am calm, I can do this”
Just repeat this silently to yourself over and over and eventually, you will start to believe it and feel it.
B is for Breathing
When we get stressed our breathing changes and we start to take fewer, shallower breaths. Doing this heightens the stress and keeps you on edge. Taking deeper breaths sends oxygen to your vital organs and releases toxins, including those caused by stress. It also calms the nervous system and settles those negative thoughts which help you to cope with anxiety and improve your mental clarity
C is for circulation
I’m sure you know that sitting at a desk all day isn’t great for stress management but when the pressure is on and deadlines are approaching you probably think you haven’t always got time for a break. Personally I think if you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed a 5-minute break and a cup of tea (not coffee) will make you more productive. But if you really can’t take a break then find ways to get your circulation going. Sit up straight, shoulders back, stretch every now and then. Encourage stand up meetings in your office, people will pay attention more and the meetings will not last as long so it’s a win-win. Start to stand up when you make a telephone call and roll up and down on the balls of your feet
There are lots of ways to manage stress but I’ve given you an ABC of ideas that you can try that take seconds and that you can do even in the middle of a busy office.
What’s your favourite way to manage stress leave a comment below.