Unfortunately “stress” is built into our modern culture.
All the busyness of life, work, family, money; it all adds up to what we call “Stress.” Stress is simply the body’s response to changes or environmental influences that create demands mentally or physically.
Contrary to popular belief not all “stress” is bad. There are two kinds of stress, Eustress, and Distress. Eustress is short-term and perceived by us as “copable.” It’s the kind pressure we put ourselves under when we do things like workout or have a tight deadline that pushes us but is possible. This is good for us, it helps our body develop strength and resilience, it can motivate or focus us, thereby improving our performance.
Distress is the kind of stress people are typically referring to when then talk about “stress” in the generic term.
This kind of stress is not okay. Can cause anxiety, concern, can be long term, and is perceived outside you coping ability. In other words, it feels that overwhelming and decreases your overall performance. Long term this kind of stress can lead to some pretty significant issues.
In a lot of circumstances, there is not a lot you can do about stress itself. External factors, family, job, things like these create stressful situations you can’t just avoid. They are part of your life.
So what can you do about it?
Since you can’t just give up and crawl in a hole, you need to learn how to manage the stress as best as you can. Here are the seven things that I have found are the most efficient at battling this fact of life.
Number 1 – Meditate regularly. This is so important. In a survey of 100 of the top executives in the world today, most of them spent time every day in simple relaxing meditation. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy with chanting, and bizarre retreats, a simple 5 min meditation mid-morning can radically lower the cortisol production in your body.
Number 2 – Foster Relationships. So easily overlooked, but spending time with friends and talking through life’s challenges is powerful. I’m not talking about crying on some poor friends shoulder about how your life is hard. It’s more about just enjoying and sharing life with others. 30 mins for coffee with a friend once a week can make a huge impact on your overall stress load.
Number 3 – Breathing Deeply. Taking 90 seconds 4 or 5 times a day to stop, pause, and breathe deeply will make a surprising, yet a dramatic difference. This is something that is easy to overlook, and VERY easy to skip, but I have found the practice of “pausing” for 2 min a 4 or more times a day makes a dramatic difference in my life.
Number 4 – Regular Exercise. This is obvious of course, but so important. Getting your blood pumping, breathing the fresh air (if possible) will improve your overall health in a very short and effective amount of time. Lowered stress is one of the many great benefits of regular exercise.
Number 5 – Crank up your favorite mix tape. Music, yep music, (the non-stressful good kind) can make a pretty dramatic impact as well. Research has shown that listening to soothing music can lower blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety.
Number 6 – Laugh! Seriously one of the greatest stress reduces is laughing, this is a good one to practice with number 2. Get together with some friends and share stories and jokes. Laugh a little; it’s super good for you!
Number 7 – Be grateful – Ok this is not so obvious, but taking a few moments to “be grateful” about specific things has been shot to reduce overall stress and anxiety dramatically. I spend time thinking about what I have to be grateful for both in the morning and the evening. This focused time has proven to be an important part of my daily routine.
Not matter what, at the end of the day, you are not going to escape stress. It’s built into the core of our modern culture. However, how you “deal” with it can make a radical impact on your overall health. Long term stress can cause a myriad of health issues, so it’s important to take this seriously.
If you feel a significant amount of stress, I have two suggestions. First, you may want to see professional help. Counselors and phycologist can often help dramatically reduce stress depending on your particular circumstances. Second, I encourage you to try our-our product EQ. It’s been a lifesaver for both myself and my wife. As entrepreneurs running a half dozen small companies, while homeschooling four kiddos the stress is a daily battle for us, and EQ has helped both of us significantly.
Thoughts or questions? Shoot them over!
Entrepreneur, Advisor, Author, & Pilot who loves business getting outside the box & inventing new ways of doing the impossible.