I have not met a single person in my life who has not experienced stress at least ONCE in their life! Deadlines, financials strains, investor expectations, career decisions, problem children, spousal demands…the causes may differ for each of us, but the effects are the same. Stress damages our health, our cognitive capabilities, our relationships, and yes…our business and professional success can also be hindered. Medical and holistic practices have been created to address stress, books have been published, and podcasts discuss it, all offering remedies on how to deal with stress. So, when I meet with clients and executives who are stressed out, there are a few basic tips we go back to time and time again, when we are bubbling over due to the demands of life and work.
1. The 3 S’s: Stop. Slow down. Be Still. It is almost always the first thing to go…taking time for and by ourselves. Yet, without it, we will burn out and burn up. Try to find time to be quiet. Take a walk – in silence. Turn off the car radio. Silence the iPhone – for a few hours, at least. I began to mediate for just 10 minutes a day – and my blood pressure is now lower than it has been in years!
2. Reintroduce yourself to you. This can be challenging for many especially when your hair is on fire. Many who are climbing as hard and fast as they can are so busy posturing and positioning that they forget who the “real me” is! This may sound silly to some, but I can assure you, it is standard practice for many. My clients know that I believe self-awareness is the critical step to alignment. And I also believe when we are aligned we are at our most powerful. Thus, we need to take off our masks and truly look at ourselves in the mirror.
3. Stay healthy in body and mind. This is all about breaking a sweat a few times a week. Stay connected to our physical body and our mental state of mind. Take a warm bath or sauna or a nap!! Work out in a mind/body/spirit ritual like Pilates or Yoga. Embrace the holistic elixirs such as Siberian ginseng (1/8 teaspoon, 3 times a day) which can calm your nerves and help you to cope. I drink Turmeric and Ginger tea at least 2-3 times a day.
4. Breathe. Here is what I mean: breathe in DEEPLY for 4 counts. Breathe out for 8 counts – ALL OUT, mouth open, empty your lungs. Do this 4 times. I have started doing this – every chance I get – when I am waiting for the coffee to perk, holding for someone on the phone, waiting at a stop light, etc. It is amazing the energy and clarity I get. I find myself consciously doing this 4-5 times each day and the energy I get (not to mention the peace) from this is clearing and purifying.
5. Continue to keep perspective. “Changing the frame” has become a common cliché. Yet, it takes time, thoughtfulness, and an open heart. When icky things happen or a change of events upsets the apple cart, how can we view this through a lens of abundance versus scarcity? This can be tough – I get it. But I also believe that when we view these situations as working for us versus against us, and we embrace what we can learn through the experience, it is amazing how we relax into the moment, and know that this, too, will turn out okay.
6. Say thanks. The concept of the gratitude journal has gone viral thanks to Oprah and others. My executive coach stimulated this formal practice with me many years ago, and it truly changed my life. Most of us are grateful for many aspects in our lives, and many say thank you early and often to those in our lives. However, there is something miraculous that happens when we write down – even just one thing – on a daily basis. It forces us to take a deep, genuine appreciation for even the smallest blessings. Some days, when the day has not been the greatest, the only thing I may be able to muster is “thanks for Lulu, my precious puppy” or “thanks for my morning walk”…and amazingly, that is enough to put a nice yellow bow on the day. Try it!
Sure, stress and anxiety are part of the human condition, yet these 6 baby steps have helped me keep perspective and stay aligned during very challenging times. What tips do you have to share?