With all its moving parts, life is a stressful situation.
The part of the world you live in, the habits you developed as a child, your work environment, your financial situation, your health profile and many other factors all affect how much stress you feel and how you handle it.
Important to note here that I’m talking about bad stress (distress) such as being over-worked and not good stress (eustress) such as working on a new business project that is challenging but enjoying.
Like everyone else stress has a big impact on my life and so I put a big effort into doing 2 things:
- Removing as much of it as possible
- Increasing my ability to handle the stressors I cannot completely remove or don’t have direct control over
Here are some of the biggies for me when it comes to managing my stress.
- Being grateful (aka, don’t be a moaner)
When I look at some of the crazy shit going on in the world I’m always grateful that I’ve never really had a bad day. There might be some annoying things happen on a daily basis or some unexpected situations but I always remind myself that in the grand scheme of things, they’re really insignificant.
2. Exercise and sleep
Having a physical release and healthy sleeping patterns are 2 of the best stress relievers possible. No matter what’s going on, I’m always able to process it much better when my exercise and sleep routines are consistent.
They also gives my mind a break from thinking of problems which has a very powerful effect on my ability to come up with solutions to any stressors that arise.
3. Nourishing food
Like almost everyone else, healthy food is probably my biggest challenge. It doesn’t come naturally to me so I must make a conscious effort to nourish my body.
Your ability to handle stress always decreases when you live on processed foods that are void of nutrients. No energy, lack of focus, headaches, low confidence, excessive weight gain, etc. aren’t exactly your best friends when it comes to handling stress.
Taking a few minutes every day to sit still and focus on my breathing and thoughts is a staple in my day. I won’t go into the whole ‘how and why to meditate’ thing but if you’re under a lot of stress then I strongly advise you to start.
A big stressor for me and my wife was having over €50,000 of personal debt. We decided this had to go and we cleared it in 18 months (a stressful thing to do in itself!).
Do you think I was less stressed after that?
Engaging your brain and growing as a person is such a vital part of stress management. Getting lost in your music, cooking, painting, photography or whatever your chosen hobby is will recharge your brain and provide a regular, worthwhile escape from stressful events. You’ll come back more focused and solutions to problems will come easier to you.
7. Work/life balance
I put a lot of time into my business but I will never do it at the expense of my family life. I’m a big believer in the saying ‘you only live once’ and when I don’t want to look back and say “I wish I had worked more’.
Get the balance right.
8. Helping others
If you have the opportunity to help someone who wants to be helped then you need to take it.
Many people have been gracious enough to lend me a helping hand over the years and I’m always looking for opportunities to pay it forward. Do this but don’t make a big deal out of it,
9.Have a compelling vison for your life
Bit of a deep one but having a vision for what I’d like to achieve with my life pulls me through stressful times and says ‘What about that vision? Was it only a joke? Are you going to let this situation put an end to it or are you going to deal with it and carry on?’
Get clear on your compelling vision and use it to motor on.
Take home golden nugget of wisdom- you can remove a lot of stress from your life if you’re willing to put in the effort. For the stressors that are outside of your influence you can massively increase your ability to handle them so they don’t beat you down.
Obviously I don’t know everyone situation but these are some of the things that work for me. I hope they can work for you too.
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