Exhausted, forgetful, losing hair, gaining weight, starting and ending the day feeling overwhelmed and irritable.
This is what too much stress does to you.
While we all experience stress in different forms and to varying degrees, managing stress effectively is a skill many people are yet to develop.
Stress is a serious problem that impacts not only your mental and physical health, but also that of your loved ones and your business.
Over time, chronic stress leads to many physical and emotional symptoms.
The latest Stress and Wellbeing in Australia survey 2015, conducted by the Australian Psychological Society found that anxiety symptoms were the highest recorded since the survey began five years ago.
Stress may be triggered by an external source, yet it’s the way we interpret these external pressures that determines how stressed we get.
In other words, if you can change your response to stress, you can take control and stop it controlling you.
“If you can change your response to stress, you can take control and stop it controlling you.”
The first step is identifying the signs of oncoming stress – the common symptoms are things like:
A short fuse
Feeling overwhelmed and anxious
When you notice these symptoms you can deploy a range of stress-busting tactics to help you get through the day.
Here are five I use:
1. Harness stress so it spurs, not hinders, productivity
Do you roll over to-do-lists to the next day, and then the next, and so on?
Try this instead: write a list of everything that is stressing you.
Then ask, ‘If I could achieve just one thing on the list, which one would I choose?
What can wait or be re-assigned?’
Focus on resolving one source of stress at a time, rather than being overwhelmed by everything at once.
This way, you allow stress to drive – rather than derail – your productivity.
2. Prioritise and eliminate the non-essential
Many people operate under the false notion that being busy and stressed goes hand-in-hand with being important and successful.
Greg McKeown, author of Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less explains that being trapped in the ‘busyness bubble’ is actually a signal that we lack focus and fill our time with non-essential tasks.
When we can’t see what’s most important, everything becomes important.
Decide what is essential – your clear purpose or goal – and suddenly you can eliminate a thousand other options.
Tim Ferriss, author and champion of The 4-hour Workweek has another tip: Don’t email first thing in the morning or last thing at night.
Checking your email in the morning scrambles your priority list for the day.
Dealing with emails at night gives you insomnia.
Email is the new snail mail – it can wait.