Many of us spend our working lives in a state of perpetual overwhelm. The feeling that there are more things to do than we have the time or resources for, combined with financial uncertainty, health concerns, relationship issues, and an overflowing inbox, means life can be pretty stressful.
Stress will always be there – but by using a few techniques listed below you can transform pressure into performance. And remember: “It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye
Appreciate the costs of stress: physical, emotional and mental, and acknowledge stress sometimes needs managing.
Look out for symptoms of stress: feeling overwhelmed, making bad decisions, impulsivity, tiredness, disrupted sleep, elevated heart rate, stiffness, indigestion, or craving sugary foods.
To manage stress, begin by regulating your physiology:
Notice and regulate your breathing. Notice your rate of breathing and where you are breathing from. Stressed breathing tends to be quicker and from your chest. Relaxed breathing is from your stomach.
Practice progressive relaxation, before bed or when you get home after work or at the beginning of a stressful day.
Then develop your emotional resilience:
Notice what gives your energy and do more of it.
Develop your locus of control, and challenge how much energy you give to things that currently frustrate you.
Appreciate the importance of emotional welling and make time for things you love
Finally, manage your cognitive state:
Do regular brain dumps and create a working system that prevents overwhelm (and that you trust!).
Be more conscious of your relationship with your phone and other digital technology.
SOURCE: Phil Dobson
Author of The Brain Book