This has been a really stressful week.
It got me thinking about how people manage stress, the effects that stress has on you and why some people are better equipped to handle stress than others.
A lot of my stress comes from expectations; having unrealistic expectations of others in particular. Expecting people, colleagues, clients, friends and family to act, react or behave a certain way (my way) and when they don’t it creates tension and stress as I have a difficult time understanding, accepting and taking a pragmatic, impersonal and unemotional approach to how I respond and handle these types of situations.
Alternatively, I intentionally put myself in stressful situations every day, physically. In this manner my body and mind respond very well to processing stressful physical situations: in the water, on a mountain, in the weight room, in a ring. I’m able to control my breathing, heart rate, temperament and demeanor much better. I can identify and work through these types of stressful situations much clearer and naturally.
For me, the physical stress helps me to reduce the mental stress.
I have one friend that still plays X-Box and goes online with his Business School buddies.
Another has a studio in his house where he plays guitar and records music.
A few take yoga.
What do you do to reduce stress?
One of the reasons I've been stressed out over the years is that I had been putting myself in places and situations I was uncomfortable. I thought this was what I "had" to do. What I "needed" to do to get better”. I allowed myself to be in uncomfortable situations, around uncomfortable people, clients, meetings, business ventures, partnerships, teams and even succumbed to a schedule that was uncomfortable.
Much of this came down to fear of not conforming, of missing out, of not doing things the way everybody else does them, or that's just the way things go, that's the way we do it here. That's the way it should be done. That's the norm.
I spent so much time and energy trying to fix my weaknesses and failures and be something I’m not rather than focusing and putting all my energy and time into capitalizing on the strengths I do have and thriving in places and situations where I feel comfortable.
So I'm asking different and better qualifying questions upfront now. I'm managing expectations a lot differently. I'm seeking out certain types of people in certain types of industries who want to work a certain type of way.
Is avoidance always the best way to manage stress? No, not necessarily.
Are there still uncomfortable situations that I will find myself in? Absolutely.
There is a lot that I cannot control, that I have to get over and get past that causes stress, inhibits growth, limits productivity, and has an adverse effect on my physical and mental health but I’m taking the steps necessary to reduce the frequency and severity of the flare ups.
Here are a few articles on managing stress that you may find helpful:
8 Mental Habits That Derail You From Success These not so obvious habits you can engage in separate your from the success you seek.
GETTING THE RIGHT TOOLS IN PLACE
How Men Handle Stress Differently