As the owner of a company with a decentralized business model, my days are chaotic, never lending themselves to a simple pattern or system that I could easily follow for organization, predictability, or even knowing when some of my days will start—or end.
I may be dealing with an unexpected website issue first thing in the morning or I may need to make an unexpected 2-3-hour commute to meet with an important client, all the while having the burden of some ongoing contract negotiation looming overhead. Sound familiar? This is a complaint only as much as I know that entrepreneurs and business owners everywhere are dealing with the same set of problems.
This chaotic, hard to systematize lifestyle lends itself to very high levels of continual stress. Fortunately for me, my line of work is in athlete development. As a sport scientist, I work with a variety of athletes and high performers to help them take their game to the next level; one of the big pieces of this is stress management. So, in the pursuit of building better athletes, I’m constantly at the forefront of the science of stress-reduction strategies.
The stress an athlete will accumulate during intense training, anticipating a big competition, or while locked into battle with a competitor utilizes the same biological pathways and is based on the same set of hormones that an entrepreneur is exposed to. Because of this, the strategies for dealing with stress–regardless of the cause–can be mitigated by the same set of scientifically-backed techniques.
Though there’s plenty of gimmicks, quick-fixes, and products all touting their ability to reduce stress, I’ve AB tested dozens of theories and variables. Some of these strategies do, in fact, work while others may not.
Here are three time-tested strategies for reducing stress, regardless of the cause:
1. Get Adequate, High Quality Sleep
I know this is boring and you’ve heard it a thousand times by a thousand people. This doesn’t need to mean 8+ hours for busy individuals that can’t make it happen. At the very least, you should be sleeping long enough that your executive function isn’t adversely affected the following day. Mid-day yawns, lethargy, and caffeine cravings means that your current volume and/or quality of sleep isn’t getting it done.
Just as in sports, caffeine is definitely a friend of the boardroom, corner office, or fledgling garage-based start-up. But ultimately less is more, and you’ll want to minimize consumption as much as possible. Caffeine creates a vicious feedback loop of poorer sleep quality leading to greater volumes of coffee, repeating day after day. Strive to keep caffeine consumption more than 9 hours away from bedtime. This will facilitate more restful, higher quality sleep, even if the duration isn’t as long as you might otherwise like.
But remember, though you may be successful at work, if you can’t afford 8 hours of sleep, you may be time-poor.
“Happiness consists of getting enough sleep. Just that, nothing more.” – Robert A. Heinlein
2. Pay Attention to Your Response to Food
As an entrepreneur, you may have dozens or more causes of stress: deadlines approaching, payroll, burn-rate, personality conflicts, etc. But one more source of stress that you don’t need is through the food you’re putting into your body.
60% of the immune system is found in the gut. This protective mechanism is so entrenched in the gut because of the very permeable structures that allow for the diffusion of nutrients and waste products into and out of the blood. But our current food system is not designed with this in mind. Rather it is designed for stimulating the reward-pathways of our brain through systems that have served us well in the past, but are now our undoing in a world of readily available calories.
Contrary to the findings of industry-backed research, all calories are not equal. Differences in the thermic effect of food, fiber content, processing agents, and more all have an effect on the body. And with each body having a different set of genetics and gut microbes, the ways in which each food affects each body is going to be different.
Ignore the adversarial findings and dogmas spouted from competing health authorities. There are some basics to follow which can get you 80% of the way to a great diet. More vegetables and less liquid calories are two concepts to start with.
Beyond that, you’ll need to pay attention to your body and you need to recognize the massive implications of food on health. Try relating back any abnormal deviations in health to your diet, if the variables match up, you may want to eliminate that item from your diet.
Abnormally fatigued? Rash or itchiness seemingly out of nowhere? Unexplained jitteriness or anxiety? These may be an autoimmune response to a food that does not agree with your physiology. These deviations to your health may be hindering your higher-order thinking and can cause even more stress than your job requires.
3. Active Recovery
After intense bouts of physical training, one would think that complete rest and relaxation is the best tool for recovery and stress reduction, but this is only part of the equation. Intense training brings about stress, as does running a company, and as we’ve explained, stress is stress regardless of the cause or causes.
We are fortunate in that we have in-built processes for lessening the damage stress does to the body, but a complete cessation of stimuli—even in the case of something as valuable as mediation is incomplete in its ability to reduce stress.
Active recovery is an extraordinarily powerful tool for stress reduction. This can be accomplished through brisk walks, recreational sports, yoga, or low-level cardio work like a light bicycle ride or row. This works in a few different ways; by engaging the muscles, you’ll better engage the lymphatic which pushes lymph—a carrier of waste products brought about by stress, this concurrently elevates the heart rate which similarly circulates byproducts of stress for uptake and reutilization by the muscles.
Light exercise can also down-regulate the production of stress hormones; this is a biochemical switch which is hard to trigger in the absence of active recovery.
“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” – Maya Angelou
Stress is stress, but it does not need to be the permanent fixture of your life that you might think it to be. By treating your body like you’d treat a company and allowing for sufficient employee vacation days (sleep), examining and adding only positive inputs (diet), and utilizing appropriate logistics and supply chain management (active recovery) you’ll be better equipped to lead your business to the next level.
How do you manage stress in your life? Share your tips for our readers below!
The 7 Things that Are Preventing You from Enjoying Life to the Fullest
If you’d like to learn how to live each moment to the fullest and succeed in all aspects of your life so you can be happy, sign up for the free 90-Day Master Class hosted by the founder of Addicted2Success.com, Joel Brown.
To some people, life is unfair. To some, life is good. And to others, life is great. It all depends on your perspective and how much responsibility you take for your personal development and income. (more…)
How to Harness Your Own Uniqueness
If you’d like to learn how to harness your own unique personality traits so you can be successful in pursuing your passions, sign up for the free 90-Day Master Class hosted by the founder of Addicted2Success.com, Joel Brown.
No two people are exactly alike. Yet, we were all created in God’s image. Each one of us has their own preferences when it comes to things that they hold dear to their heart and things that do not matter to them. (more…)
Read This If You Are Tired Of Finding Excuses For Your Inconsistency
If you’d like to learn how to build strong and consistent habits so you can achieve your goals, sign up for the free 90-Day Master Class hosted by the founder of Addicted2Success.com, Joel Brown.
You are the main factor limiting the growth of your business because of your fears, limiting beliefs, inability to focus, and inconsistency. Three years into running my first business, one thought sits deeply with me: I might have the best strategies, yet nothing would work until my habits (or the lack of those) stand in the way. (more…)
8 Ways A Digital Detox Will Increase Your Productivity
There is a downside to being constantly plugged in. We all know that spending too much time online can be tiring and dulls our focus. A trade-off we must make for the benefits of living in a more connected world. If we aren’t careful however, the amazing technology that helps us to reach more people, be more informed, and do better business can really hinder our productivity. (more…)
Why Body and Mind Harmony Are So Necessary for a Successful Life
Take the Time to Answer These 3 Questions if You Want to Be Successful
Why Working Faster Matters Even When You Make Mistakes
5 Reasons Why Self-Motivation Can Prove to Be Your Strongest Armor to Stress
7 Self-Discipline Tips That Will Help You In Business
55 Inspirational Quotes That Will Change Your Life
(Images) 52 Motivational Picture Quotes For An Epic Year Of Success
30 Famous Quotes That Will Inspire Success In You
72 Positive Thinking Quotes For More Inner Strength & Growth
40 Rare Motivational and Inspirational Picture Quotes
3 Prince EA Videos To Change Humanities Path To Greatness
(Video) What Is Success? An Entrepreneurial Story To Inspire You
(Inspirational Video) What If Today You Knew You Were Going To Take Your Last Breath?
How To Make Enough Money From A Blog To Quit Your Job – Kate McKibbin
How Finding Your Passion And Becoming An Entrepreneur Can Lead To Happiness – Chiquita Searle
- Quotes4 weeks ago
50 Quotes From the Best Leadership Books of All Time
- Success Advice4 weeks ago
3 Things That Highly Successful People Do
- Motivation4 weeks ago
11 Success-Boosting Motivational Tips You Need to Hear
- Success Advice4 weeks ago
How to Make 6 Figures on YouTube and Keep Your Day Job
- Success Advice4 weeks ago
4 Things That Are Keeping You From Achieving Greatness Right Now
- Success Advice3 weeks ago
16 Everyday Habits to Boost Your Creativity
- Life3 weeks ago
5 Stress Management Techniques to Find Bliss in Life
- Life3 weeks ago
5 Essential Tips for Dealing With Uncertainty