Imagine how life would be if you had no stress or obstacles to overcome– dull and miserable. Like the ‘use it or lose it’ theory – we become stronger and are able to overcome more stress by our ability to deal with stress.
We experience stress from various angles e.g. emotional stress, physical stress, financial stress, mental stress.
As far as you’re alive – stress is one thing you face daily. In fact, some environments and situations make you more prone to particular kinds of stress that people never exposed to such environment might never experience such kind of stress their entire lifetime.
Stress is a matter of perspective
Since we all experience one form of stress or another; what matters is our perspective towards such stress. It’s a matter of perception and communication.
“I’m learning a lot” “This is what I signed up for”
Are different perspectives of experiencing stress. And you guessed right, the latter perspective eventually learns more and gets better the next time.
How you choose to interpret the challenge or prevailing problem matters.
You’re more stressed when you choose to worry and focus on things outside of our control.
How you talk to yourself – your internal monologue – about it. Both aspects are well within your circle of control.
I started prioritizing my diet and fitness at a point in my life when I realized diet played a very important role to physical health.
The bottom line is dealing with stress is something we all must go through daily. Getting better with it is more of an intentional process than something that just happens.
What we hate often is not stress but distress which kills brain cells and on the other hand we should welcome eustress.
Good stress is Exercising, having hard conversations, setting a goal & working to achieve it.
Bad stress is worrying, focusing on problems, not solutions; trying to control what you can't control.
Learning how to deal with stress is a life hack both physically and emotionally.
So what can you daily to handle stress?
Exercising daily helps you stay fit and also deal with stress as it is a form of mind training.
You have to push your mind beyond its limits. Most times, it’s not the body it’s the mind that always hold us back.
So why not engage in any form of cardio or strength training to gain endurance and build strength respectively.
You can overcome a good amount of stress with physical activity such as long walks, walking in nature, running and lifting.
2) Upgrade your diet
Eat real food, physical activity & decrease unnecessary stress.
Watch your energy, testosterone and sleep go up.
You don’t want to eat a bowl of cereals for breakfast & then go for donuts at lunch while washing it down with a coke and wonder why you’re feeling low energy all day.
3) Asking for help
Building a network and investing in genuine friendships you can seek out when stressed out helps.
You could find a Virtual assistant, employ a lower staff. When you feel overwhelmed the most, it might be time to direct someone else to take the responsibility.
4) Taking a break
You can take a break to find solutions to your problems instead of making rash decisions you’ll end up regretting. The most regretful decisions were actually preventable if you had just paused a while.
A proactive process could be starting your day with a form of relaxation technique including prayers, meditation or breathing exercise. It’s also by pausing we can find clarity – when there is a lack of clarity about what you & your team stands for including your goals and roles; you waste time and energy on the trivial many and experience confusion, stress and frustration. When there is a high level of clarity, on the other hand people thrive.
5) Breathing exercises
One of the most important thing we stop doing when stressed out is breathing properly. Instead of breathing deeply through our bellies we breathe shallowly through our chest. When you're feeling stressed breathe deeply for 3 - 5 minutes. This takes you out of fight or flight & helps you feel calmer in the moment. So find time to take deep breaths daily by including breathing in your morning routine or during breaks.
6) Eliminating non-essentials
Are you stressed out or overly committed? You could learn to apply the Zero-based thinking in certain aspects of life– “knowing what I know what would I NOT engage in again?” Because these situations cause intense stress - how do I get out and how fast? Practice Courage and cut your losses. It could be as simple as going off social media for a particular period and as difficult as getting rid of liked but incapable people to achieve your goals. One secret of living longer is living a low stress life.
Avoid people who take energy from you. You get to a point where you prioritize working with people you enjoy working with over making more money. Because it’s more fun, less stress, and more fulfilling. The money will come and is never the end goal.
7) Have a power nap
A protocol as simple as 20 minute power naps really clears the head. Hack your naps and optimize your work and creativity. Stressed out and exhausted, too much to do – just take a nap.
Realize that whatever is stressing you out the most – you could actually survive without eat. The best things in life are free and do not necessarily involve effort – almost all of us can easily afford food, clothe and shelter. 90% of what stresses you the most except health – someone else is living in another part of the world without it and has never been bothered. Always remember that 9/10 of your stress is optional. Gratitude is the sign of noble souls – Aesop.
9) Stop making excuses for your Indulgences
You can use stress as an excuse to drink, binge eat, have random sex ...then realize it has the exact opposite effect on your anxiety.
What matters is how long you indulge to realize this.
Media and society glorifies the wrong things and that is why 99% of people are miserable.
10) Do the work – stop postponing
Most time what stresses us the most is not the problem – but we know we should be doing. The more you put off the important things – the more stressed you feel. 9/10 we think we have a system in place to deal with stress; but it’s often after taking a lot of hasty decisions we realize we should have taken a break, paused and taken deep breaths before moving forward.