To stop stressing out now and learn to manage your stress, first, you must recognize triggers and reinforcements. Typical excuses include, “It’s…part of the job, it’s just the way I am, it’s only temporary, and others cause it.” Regardless of how real these may sound, excuses for feeling stressed seldom help, they only reinforce the stress. Regardless of its legitimacy, anything used to justify your stress is an excuse and, therefore, a source of stress.
Stop Stressing Out Now!
How to Take Away Your Stress Excuses
One of the best ways to take away excuses is to analyze your stress by keeping a stress journal.
How to Keep a Stress Journal:
- Track the cause of stress.
- Note how you feel and your emotional state of mind.
- Recognize how you responded and how you reacted.
- Consider what makes you feel better.
AAAA to Relieve Stress
The Avoid, Alter, Adapt, and Accept system is one of the most effective tools for reducing stress. By keeping AAAA in mind, one can learn to understand stress and how to channel it towards more productive emotions.
- Say no—learn to say no when you already are at your limit or it’s not your field of expertise.
- Avoid destructive behavior—drugs, alcohol, tobacco, overeating, too much TV, anger.
- Avoid people who create stress—we all know them. A few weeks ago, a good friend and I went hiking. We talked about her awakening in 2012 to the people in her life that were causing her stress and how cutting them out (so-called friends) and cutting some back (family) improved her life.
- Control your environment—for example, if you hate the evening car crash and house fire fest, more popularly known as local TV news—turn it off.
- Avoid hot buttons—such as controversial topics. Politics and religion get most people going, so don’t start it.
- Distinguish must do from should do.
- Let feelings out –Try this. How to Use the Pinch Theory of Conflict Management
- Compromise – Don’t be like Congress; compromise for the good of all and to relieve stress.
- Use good time management. 4 Time Management Hacks That Are Like Putting Time in a Bank or How to Add 30% More Time to Your Workday
- Reframe, for example, change road rage to mindful driving.
- Look for the big picture. At the end of the day, how critical was it?
- Adjust standards—you don’t always have to be perfect.
- Focus on the positives and be appreciative.
- You can’t control the uncontrollable.
- Forgive—forgiveness isn’t about others; it’s about you and the stress it relieves.
- View stressful situations as learning opportunities.
- Share with a trusted friend—face-to-face.
- Write it out and then throw it away.
Other Stress Relievers
There’s more to relieving stress at work than those mentioned above. Stress at home and lifestyle choices affect work. If you want to improve stress at work, you must improve how you handle stress in your life.
- Spend time in nature
- Spend time with friends
- Create—arts, crafts, write
- Enjoy a pet
- Plant a garden
- Find the humor—make fun of yourself
- Read a book
- Listen to music
- Schedule time to relax
- Do something you like every day
- Eat healthy
- Reduce caffeine
- Be around positive people
- Stop worrying—Any worry can be put in one of two categories: you can either do something about it—so do it, or you can do nothing about it—so quit wasting your time and causing stress.
- Tell your inner voice no. Our inner voice is there to protect us. It will take limited information and project possible destructive outcomes. As helpful as it may be at times, our inner voice can be a negative source of stress. Occasionally, you must tell the voice, “Thank you, but, no, I got this!”
A Call to Action
Are you ready to tackle stress? Are you tired of being stressed out? It really is up to you. It’s time to take your first small steps towards stress relief. Are you ready? Here’s a place to start.
Identify your top two sources of workplace stress.
Understand what’s reinforcing the behavior. What excuses do you make for stress?
Plan an action to relieve stress. There are 32 listed above.
Choose a lifestyle stress reliever. What can you do at home to relieve stress?
Pick a stress buddy. Someone you trust, who you can talk to face-to-face, and who won’t allow you to turn it into a gossipy bitch session.
Let me know how you did. I’d really like to know. I mean…you don’t want to stress me out worrying about you, do you?
You Can’t Talk Stuff Done, It’s Been Tried
Nope, you can’t talk stuff done. Talk without action doesn’t accomplish much. Throughout history, it has been those who have taken action who have changed the world. It’s the same with your industry, and your business. Are you ready to add action to your words or do you want to talk about it some more?
From weekly updates to companywide mission statements, businesses fail when there is too much talk and not enough action. If you’d like to learn more about why this happens, how to fix it, and actions to take, read my book, You Can’t Talk Shit Done.