Today, I want to talk about stress. This past week, I gave a presentation to Camden National Bank employees and tomorrow I will be doing the same for Penobscot County employees.
My presentation, “How to Manage and Reduce Stress in Your Life,” talked about six actionable strategies and I wanted to share those with you today.
Stress is something we all deal with.
Stress can be a good thing. It can challenge us. It can push us to new heights. Without some sort of stress, there is no growth.
Stress can also be a bad thing if it becomes chronic and is not dealt with appropriately.
The biggest stressors according to the American Psychological Association are (in no particular order):
Some of these should resonate with you.
The good thing about these stressors is they are mostly preventable and can be dealt with.
Here are the top six strategies for reducing and managing stress in your life:
I’m a systems guy. I believe that systems are the key to productivity as they allow us to be more efficient and effective. We have systems in business and that’s how the business runs. Without good systems in business or our personal lives, we lack structure and without structure, there is more room for chaos. Examples of systems in your personal life are your morning and nighttime routines as well as exercise routine. All of these routines are systems in your life and when these are dialed in, I guarantee you are feeling better and less stressed.
2. Morning Routine
One of the systems I referred to is your morning routine. What does it look like? Are you pressing the snooze button and want to stay in bed all day or are you up and ready to go attack the day? If you’re the former, that’s a problem. The snooze button is just delaying action on your day. Plus, you don’t actually get great sleep even if you doze back off.
The way you start your day sets the tone. Starting it with a healthy breakfast and exercise if you’re a morning exerciser are just two ways you can get your body and mind ready for the day. Stop hitting snooze and rushing out the door. Instead, take control of your morning and this will help you take control of your life.
I love exercise. It’s blessed me with a career I love. Regular exercise has so many benefits and is a stress-buster. Not only does it help control weight, build muscle, improve the cardiovascular system, boost immunity and stimulate brain health, but it is also for everyone! Stop with the excuse that you’re not an exerciser. While I love having people come to my studio, I understand it’s not for everyone. That doesn’t mean you can’t be active. Hiking, walking, dance class, swimming, outdoor sports, weight lifting, yoga, and the list goes on. Exercise comes in so many different forms so there is something that you can enjoy.
4. Stress Breaks
You’ve may or may not have heard this expression before, but what fills your cup? That is your emotional cup. What activities make you happy? You need breaks from day-to-day life to do things that make you happy. I love life. I enjoy it very much. However, not everything is peaches and cream and that’s normal. That’s why you need to find activities that make you happy. For me, it’s spending time at camp, reading a book, going for a run, getting a good weightlifting session in, going to conferences and even grilling some steaks! These things make me happy. What is on your list that fills your cup?
Does anyone have people around them that suck the energy out of the room? These people find the negative in everything. It could be the most gorgeous day of the summer and they find one small cloud in the sky and point it out. On Monday, they complain about Mondays. On Friday, they complain about it being Friday. This can be difficult but you need to surround yourself with great people. Personal development expert, Jim Rohn, said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Does your top five lift you up or bring you down? If it’s the latter, you need a new five.
The opposite of negativity is positivity. Negativity kills. Just like that energy vampire sucks the life out of the room and starts infecting everyone else, positivity can have the same effect but in a good way. Stop complaining because no one wants to hear it. Smile, laugh, do nice things for others. Heck, fake it until you make it. If you’re a positive person, you will have a better outlook on life, be in a better mental state and attract great people.
How do you stay positive? Let me first ask, “what do you feed your mind with?” If it’s the 24/7 news cycle, there is your first problem. There are a lot of great journalists out there but networks need to make money so the negative stories sell. The catastrophic weather, political craziness and overseas violence always rock headlines because it attracts viewers. Stop watching the news or even cancel cable. It’s a life-changer.
Instead, start reading books. There are so many good books out there on every topic imaginable. Whatever you are interested in, there is a book on it. Want to improve your mindset? There are plenty of self-help books (SHAMELESS PLUG: HERE IS A ROUGH DRAFT OF A CHAPTER FOR MY UPCOMING BOOK). Listen to podcasts. If you want suggestions, please reach out to me. There is no trouble finding information these days. It can be had almost instantly. You just need to take action and listen.
Now that you have six strategies to manage and reduce stress in your life, it’s time to take action. Don’t just let it marinate in your head. Instead, take the first step. Take action on one of these and start implementing it in your life today. You control your own life. If you want to live a happy life, you hold the keys. If you want to get promoted at work or find a new job, you can do it. If you want to be a millionaire in your lifetime, you can do that as well. You hold the keys. Put them in the ignition and start taking action.
What is one strategy you are going to start implementing into your life today?