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6 Stress Management Pillars to Bust Your Stress and Boost Your Performance

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Stressed Man

One of the biggest threats to productivity is stress. It saps your creativity, tires you out, and just generally sours your mood. Along with the personal problems that are involved with stress, there is a bevy of professional ones as well.

Excessive stress can lead to absences in the workplace, poor performance on the job, and even a dismissal. In fact, a survey of some of the largest employers concluded that stress is the number one reason that people quit their jobs.

Main Source of Stress in Today’s Modern World

There is no denying that it’s become increasingly common for employers to require their staff to stay later while not being compensated for their time. For instance, in Australia, there has been reported that three in five workers work more hours than they are actually paid for. This is what you might think of as a compounded stress, too, when you consider the fact that the person is not being paid for their time and will miss out on precious time with their family.

With all of this being said, there are ways of dealing with stress that you can employ in your daily life.

Here are 6 things you can do to bust your stress and boost your performance:

1. Focus on your attitude

When you’re looking at how to deal with stress, it’s quite common that you might look to things like changing your environment. While this is definitely important for figuring out how to deal with stress, it’s perhaps even more important that you maintain the proper attitude.

We can’t always affect what happens in our lives, but we most certainly have a say in how we choose to think about it. Reacting in a negative way to stress tends to make it worse and can lead to a domino effect where the stress only gets worse and worse.

“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.” – Elbert Hubbard

2. Become aware of the physical signs of stress

One of the ways that you can start to get a handle on your stress levels is to figure out what triggers your stress. You can make a list of these things and then assess how they physically make you feel.

Our body’s fight or flight response tends to activate in times of great stress, and that can result in symptoms like shortness of breath, a pounding heartbeat, panic symptoms, and even being irritable or angry.

Unfortunately, it’s common that employees will attribute some of these symptoms to illnesses in their body. While there are illnesses that manifest some of these symptoms, it’s just as common for anxiety and fear to bring them on.

3. Know what works for you

Try to think about what it is in your life that makes you happy and quickly decreases your stress level. Of course, this is going to be different for everyone, but it could include things like going for a good run, reading a good book, or maybe even meditating. Whatever it is, it’s a good idea to prioritize this thing and make it a daily part of your life.

4. Open up

The more stressed we are, the harder it tends to be for us to open up to others. Being able to reach out and get the help you need from someone you trust is crucial, though. Think of your stress as a boiler with a valve. It’s crucial to open that valve every now and then so the whole thing doesn’t blow.

5. Take responsibility

While blame is toxic and just tends to get you spinning your tires in place, taking responsibility for your actions and then moving on is the best and only way to ensure that you achieve positive results in the future.

There’s a very good chance that someone else contributed to whatever situation you find yourself in, but it’s important to acknowledge your role in whatever it is that happened. This is an important method of stress reduction because it allows you to put aside past results and work towards more positive future ones.

6. Exercise is important

It’s been well-documented just how important exercise is for our physical health, but it’s just as necessary towards our mental health as well. It’s best to make a regular routine of exercise as opposed to doing it every once in awhile. Habits and routines are important when it comes to decreasing your stress.

“Much of the stress that people feel doesn’t come from having too much to do. It comes from not finishing what they’ve started.”
– David Allen

While this list isn’t exhaustive, it should definitely get you well on your way toward finding what works best for you. Considering just how insidious and dangerous stress can be when it comes to the workplace, it’s that much more important that employees protect themselves against its negative effects.

Keeping busy is very important in this ever-changing, interconnected world, but it’s also just as important for people to get themselves as healthy as they can possibly be.

What has helped you manage your stress? Please leave your thoughts below!

Yazi Jepson is an inspired writer who researches and writes content for several companies, including Carter Capner Law, a progressive law firm specialized in work-related stress compensation. She loves to read, write, and learn over a cup of coffee. Yazi believes ‘learning and sharing’ has no end to it and this is what inspires her to continue learning something new and contributing good content.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. seattle motivational speaker

    Oct 20, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    In fact, what we should do on our minds. The focus is going to be responsible for the work, which can carry a lot of weight. Best practice and hard work to reach the highest peak of success. In fact, learn to love the work that you are doing will not feel any day.
    Thanks a lot, Yazi.

  2. Payden

    Oct 17, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    There are a few things that really help me bust stress. The best for me is really reconnecting with my “why.” I’m often most stressed when I lose sight of that. It makes everything a little harder, every obstacle a little larger. Really reconnecting with why I’m doing these things helps me see the big picture and realize that in the grand scheme of things, this stress will pass. On the physical level, eating well and exercising can do wonders.

    • Yazi Jepson

      Oct 19, 2016 at 9:13 am

      Hey, Payden. Thanks for stopping by. Stress is one of the biggest problems facing the modern workers like us. That’s the reason to why claiming over work-related stress is becoming a growing trend in the workforce. In your case, I think it’s another good way to bust stress. I guess when you find the meaning for what you’re doing, you start to enjoy what you do, and that lessens your overall stress. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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3 Simple Hacks That Can Recharge Your Willpower and Help You Perform Better at Work

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How many times did you wake up feeling like you could conquer the world? You set ambitious goals for the day, you put on your best attire and walked out the door with a big smile on your face but eventually, life took over. Traffic, emails, work, family, and everything else you have around slowly but steadily started to drain your energy and made you feel exhausted.

You run out of battery, and the only solution that seemed viable was to rely on more caffeine. When that stopped working, all the temptations around you started to look much more appealing, and that sense of drive and commitment you had before slowly faded away. This is you running out of willpower.

Willpower: what is it? Why is it limited?

The American Psychology Association describes willpower as “the ability to resist short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals.” In the book “The Willpower Instinct”, Dr. Kelly McGonigal, explains how every person’s willpower is limited, and slowly depletes throughout the day. The more “willpower challenges” you face, the quicker your reserve drains. Dr. McGonigal divided the different types of willpower challenges you might encounter in three categories:

  • I will: We face this type of challenge whenever we should do something, but we simply don’t feel like getting it done right now.
  • I won’t: We face this challenge when we try to resist temptation, or we try to keep cool in stressful situations.
  • I want: This is a particular type of challenge where we keep track of our long term goals, dreams, and desires. In this instance, we feel like we should take action right now to come one step closer to the goal. 

It’s easy to recognize it when you face a willpower challenge because you literally “feel it in your body.” Imagine being really hungry and walking in front of a bakery. The sight and the smell of pastries quickly triggers an “I won’t” type of challenge, and it takes a severe amount of effort and energy to walk away.

Every time you manage to win one of those challenges, a little bit of your willpower reserve gets used. The more challenges you face daily, the harder it will be to stay true to your goals.

Can you train or recharge your willpower?

A growing body of research suggests that willpower should be considered a muscle. To strengthen it, you should exercise it regularly, but you should not overwork it. Therefore, we shouldn’t try to “be good” at all times. Instead, we should learn how to relax and recharge our willpower.

The general advice on how to improve willpower involves sleep, proper nutrition, and regular exercise. This broad and general recommendation is often not downright applicable by most, because it consists of changing various daily habits. Luckily, three very effective hacks have been discovered, that have an immediate effect on our willpower and take just a few minutes to apply.

Here are the 3 ways to refill your willpower reserves:

1. Focused breathing

Breathing, when done correctly, can stimulate the release of calming hormones while reducing the release of stress hormones like cortisol and catecholamines. To make this effective, you should deeply and slowly inhale through the nose for at least five seconds. Fill your belly with air first, then your chest, and when there’s no more space for air, still try to do tiny inhalations through the nose.

You should feel a pulling sensation around your neck and trapezius muscles. Once your lungs are full, try to hold the breath for five seconds, then slowly exhale through the mouth for at least five seconds. If you repeat this process ten to twenty times, you should feel dramatically more relaxed. Use this method several times a day, especially when you’re experiencing high levels of stress or anxiety.

2. Reward yourself when you accomplish a micro goal

According to a recent study, frequent instant rewards can boost motivation, and therefore, willpower. Creating your own reward system can help you to accomplish your to-do list, and also resist temptations. Since every individual has different tastes, you should come up with creative ideas about the small and frequent rewards you will give yourself upon winning any willpower challenge.

You can see this hack in practice in Apps like the popular Duolinguo, where after completing each lesson you get presented with a chance to open a treasure chest. This rewarding system seems to keep the users much more likely to keep learning new lessons.

3. Taking cold showers

Your body has an autonomic response to cold water. Getting into a cold shower is a difficult (but minor) willpower challenge on its own. As I previously mentioned, winning a willpower challenge strengthens your willpower muscle. Having a morning cold shower, on top of having multiple health benefits, will set you up for a positive winning streak of further challenges.

High performance is the sum of many small habits. Successful people don’t have an unlimited reserve of willpower, but they do have a set of daily rituals that made them succeed. These three hacks are some of the most effective techniques to develop willpower, but some of them may not fit every individual. You should try to find the perfect mix of daily practices that best fits your lifestyle and likes, so that you can strengthen your willpower muscle and perform better at work.

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