Running and building a business can present us with some challenging situations. How we handle those those situations doesn’t just impact our results but also our health. Think: stress and overwhelm. While we can’t avoid stress altogether, we can certainly manage it better. Learning to stay calm under pressure is the key to managing stress and avoiding overwhelm. Over the years I’ve developed a number of key practices that have helped both myself and my clients to remain calm under pressure. Here are the basics: Pause before you react
This is key. Once we react to the situation or source of stress, then it’s a slippery slope into overwhelm. Just pausing at the moment when you receive that difficult email or at that moment when someone says something to make your blood pressure shoot up, is the key. This is the first step in awareness and the first part of any CBT approach to changing your behaviour. If you can practice pausing before you react to something that is difficult, you will have more choices. This is one of the most powerful things that we can learn, not only to better manage stress but to transform our choice and lives. It makes us more self-aware or what is also termed “conscious”. Take a few deep breaths
This tip ties in with the pause tip just mentioned. It helps create that pause but it also creates other benefits. Taking the time to take 3 deep breaths will not just give you more time but make you more aware of your inner body. Temporarily you focus on something other than the problem. Focusing on your breath will actually help to calm you as it takes out out of your mind (your thoughts) and brings your focus into your body. As our muscles naturally tense when we’re stressed, our breathing also shortens. When you take deep breaths it helps to slow your heart rate and increases the oxygen in your blood. Watch your thoughts
All stress is created in our minds. It is on our minds that things begin as a slight irritation and grow into a huge problem that overwhelms us. So it’s important to watch your thoughts. Notice what you are thinking after you read that horrible email. Notice what you are thinking about your workload. Is your self-talk creating a bigger problem? With practice, you can notice the thoughts that come up. For example: “I have no time for this” or “I’m never going to get this finished” etc. Being able to notice your thoughts is a big step in being able to better manage your stress. Once you notice your thoughts you can ask yourself a simple but effective question: “Does this thought serve me?” If it doesn’t, simply let it go.