De-stress for success with these 6 tips
Why is a stressed mind bad for your success?
Learning to de-stress is a very important skill for your success. Why? Stress narrows your bandwidth, because a stressed mind is focused on survival. Your thinking skills diminish, your ability to make clear decisions is hampered and the way you communicate under pressure. Instead, doubt, fear, worry, anxiety, frustration, anger and procrastination take over.
It’s sometimes hard say to what makes you stressed or anxious. We can get so used to stressful situations we deal with on a day-to-day basis that being stressed and tense becomes just normal. Stress can build up over time if you don’t find ways to let it go. You may not even notice at first, but it’s draining. It’s often only when you stop for a moment, you notice how exhausted you really are.
Stress can be a real challenge for you and your health. There may be days when you feel like you’re unable to cope with things, even things you do all the time. You just try to keep going. You may experience physical symptoms like headaches or sleepless nights. Stress can express itself in negative emotions, from self-doubt to feeling sad and depressed. You’re procrastinating or sabotaging your health. Your relationships at home and at work are under pressure. Stress is running the show.
Learning to de-stress
Learning relaxation techniques can help you to reduce those feelings of stress. Like with all skills, you will get better at it with practice. Be patient with yourself and keep an open mind. To start, make some time for yourself, even if it is a couple of minutes.
Here are some ways to get you started.
- Breathing. When you feel anxious or stressed, your breathing is probably quite shallow. Find a quiet space, where you can close your eyes and taking slow deep breaths. Just follow your breathing in and out. If you’re not used to breathing deeply, this can feel quite awkward in the beginning, but it will get easier.
- Get in touch with nature. If you like walking, that is also a good way of de-stressing. Breathing in the fresh air, again slowly and deeply. If your mind is still doing a 100 miles an hour, focus on your walking, notice how your feet touch the ground, how your body moves instead. Be patient with yourself, every time your mind wanders, that’s ok. Just come back to your focus.
- Declutter. Remove clutter around you at home, in your office… Get rid of things of some old things that you no longer need or things that have negative links. If your environment is clear and tidy, it can bring order in your mind too.
- Exercise. Choose an exercise activity that will demand your complete attention. Exercise helps to release ‘happy’ hormones to reduce stress and anxiety. Or take a yoga or tai chi class. You get some great exercise and it is good for relieving stress.
- Mind what you feed your mind. Does watching the news at night cause you stress? Although it may be good to keep up with current affairs, if it is causing you stress, worries or anxiety, perhaps you need to re-think how it is affecting you and watch something lighter, like a comedy.
- Laugh! Laughing is the best way to shift your state of mind. Laughing can instantly de-stress. What makes you laugh out loud?
How would learning to relax help your life and work?
Stress, worry and anxiety has become a way of life for many people. Learning relaxation skills can help you to deal with the stresses of daily life. It doesn’t mean that stressful situations will completely disappear from your life, but you will be better prepared to handle them when they occur.
If you’re used to stress, it can be difficult to get into the habit of relaxation and make it daily practice. The real question is however ‘What matters most?’; Are you going to settle for just getting by, from day to day in survival mode? At which point do you make the decision that you no longer accept being stressed all the time? That you want to create a life at a higher level? That you want to feel interested, curious, resourceful, in the flow, calm and relaxed? How would things change for you?