How to reduce stress and perform better
Do your stress levels get in the way of your ability to excel professionally or in your personal life? If the answer is yes, you are most certainly not alone.
Stress is a normal function of life. It can be a scary, frustrating, and often unwelcome guest in our lives, but one that always finds a way to crop up at the most inconvenient times. It finds ways to derail our motivation and focus, unravelling our successes in a way that can make anyone feel a bit overwhelmed.
While eliminating stress altogether is an unrealistic goal, there are ways to gain control by learning how to manage it better.
In your personal or professional worlds, difficulties with managing stress can look a variety of ways. It can be missing a deadline, having difficulty focusing on a task, or getting frustrated with yourself or a colleague. Funnily enough, it can look pretty similar in your personal life: forgetting plans with a friend, having trouble focusing on what chores need to be done, or (again) getting frustrated with yourself or your friends and family.
Our bodies naturally respond to stress as if we are being faced with a threat. Biologically our instincts put us into fight or flight when stress hormones emerge, even though you’re not in actual danger when your boss adds a new task to your to-do list. These instincts are there to protect, but they can feel like more of a hindrance in our modern-day lives.
Even the idea of stress management can feel overwhelming, but like any other life skill, with enough practice, you can build up your arsenal of tools to strengthen your responses to stress. We’ll walk steps to help you find stress relief and build your confidence as you navigate a world that offers a host of opportunities for stress.
1. Find the source of the stress
This may seem like a reasonably common-sense place to start, but it is easy for us to get wrapped up in the feeling of being stressed that we sometimes ignore the why. If you can identify the core reason you’re feeling stressed, you’ll be able to better plan how you will handle the situation.
For example, if you’re panicking about a presentation for work and it’s making you procrastinate actually completing the task, ask yourself what you’re really stressed about. If you’re actually feeling stressed because you’re nervous about presenting, not actually creating the presentation, now you have a point of focus. After identifying, you can work towards separating the act of creating the presentation from the presenting, helping you finish your work so you can have ample time to practice and prepare.
2. Set yourself up for success
While some people thrive in a stressful environment, many people do not. It’s hard to be successful when you’re not at your best. Stressful situations tend to take our plans and calm, cool, and collected thinking and throw them right out the window. A great way to avoid losing your clear head is to make sure you’re set up to appropriately deal with your stress.
If you know you have a busy time coming up, make sure you’re doing things in advance to prepare. For most people that means making sure they’re getting enough sleep, exercise, and time doing the things they love so that they’re in a good place when the stress hits.
3. Find the right systems for you
We often get stressed when we don’t have the proper tools in our repertoire. If you don’t feel confident completing a task, you’re far more likely to get nervous when you have to do it. If you don’t have an idea of what works best for you when you’re trying to prepare for a task or get your thoughts organised, you might find yourself starting to spiral towards feelings of stress and anxiety.
Once you find what works for you, you’ll have a starting point for what to do when you’re starting to feel stressed. For example, if you’ve discovered that your thoughts start to get jumbled in moments of stress, you might make a long list of everything that’s stressing you out that you need to do or handle.
Once you have it on paper, write down the top three things you could or should do first. With a system like this, you can use it in your everyday life or as a tool to cope in moments when you need to ground yourself.
4. Create a routine
If you’re prone to feeling stressed, once you’ve pinpointed what caused it, develop a routine that you can fall back on to help manage the stress. As human beings we crave structure, so developing something that you can rely on when everything is feeling unpredictable is an excellent way to bring yourself back.
An example of a routine could look like this: take a 10-minute break. Set a timer on your phone, complete a five-minute meditation, write down three things you’re grateful for, and three things you need to do in the next hour to alleviate some of the stress. Sometimes instead of pushing through the stress, it is more effective to take a break and come back refreshed.
5. Hire a coach
Do you research first and hire a life coach. A well certified life coach may use different approaches including NLP, clinical hypnotherapy, EFT and life coaching to help you reclaim your life and create peace of mind. Looking at the root cause and changing any unwanted behaviours and creating life long healthy success habits.
Ultimately, it’s not about getting rid of the stress you might be feeling. Life will always provide you reasons to feel stress, but you have control over how you respond and what steps you take to move past it. Once you’ve built up how you respond to stress, you’ll find yourself becoming a better version of yourself.