Stress is something that constantly accompanies us and which becomes more and more difficult to deal with every day. Stress does not care who you are – a young office worker or an experienced leader of a large company. The trend is that the more responsibility you have, the more stressors surround you. And this is only if we talk about work, but there is also a family, constant traffic jams and tens of thousands of unexpected events that can happen to you every day. Even if you’re a great leader, you can’t control every circumstance, but you can control how you react to it. How to develop stress resistance in yourself if stress is part of your job?
The source of stress may be outside the office chair
In order to deal with a problem, you first need to determine its source. You can stay up at night, be irritable at work, thinking that the main reason for your stress is a drop in sales. In this case, the main reason for your irritability may be the child’s poor performance at school. How you respond to stress depends on your priorities, on how you perceive the factors that cause it.
Sources of stress can be divided into two broad categories:
a) personality-driven – how you respond to stress. These factors are mostly up to you.
b) event-driven – how stressful events affect you. These factors are usually out of your control. What causes stress in some leaders may not even be noticed by others. Accordingly, your stress resistance depends on your reactions, which are largely determined by your personality type. However, resilience is also a skill that can be developed.
You need at least less coffee
There are many simple and more complex methods of coping with stress. For ease of perception, we divide them into 2 groups: biological and emotional-cognitive. First, let’s deal with biological methods.
1. Royal dream
Getting enough sleep improves self-control, concentration and memory. Sleep deprivation, in turn, increases blood levels of stress hormones such as cortisol, even in the absence of stressors. With prolonged lack of sleep, irritability eventually increases significantly, and this leads to inadequate reactions to even minor external stimuli.
2. Proper nutrition
Foods that are high in dietary fiber and low in saturated fats have a positive effect on overall well-being and increase the level of B vitamins. Vitamins B9 and B12 are especially useful in this regard, which help maintain a stable emotional state. They are found in spinach, romaine lettuce, chicken, meat, fish, poultry and dairy products.
3. More water, less coffee
It may seem strange that water affects stress resistance, but it is true. The human body produces the hormone cortisol, which is responsible for stress, and dehydration leads to its increased content in the blood. A large amount of water allows you to control its level. Excessive caffeine consumption also contributes to dehydration and causes hyperactivity and anxiety, which increases susceptibility to stress.
4. Proper breathing
Breathing is a seemingly trivial, but very important factor in the fight against stress. When you feel overwhelmed or irritated, focus on your breathing for a couple of minutes. Put everything aside, abstract from everything that distracts you, and just concentrate on how you breathe. If you find it difficult to concentrate, count each inhalation and exhalation until you reach 20. Repeat the cycle several times. A sharp distraction will allow you to calm down.
How to be comfortable making difficult decisions
If we talk about emotional-cognitive methods of coping with stress, then here are some tips:
1. Avoid Doubt
Doubt is an eternal companion of any decision, and leaders know this better than anyone else. Opportunity versus risk is something that CEOs face on a daily basis, and the fear of missing out is a constant source of stress for them. The more time they spend in worry, the less time they have to find a solution to the problem, and as a result, to eradicate the source of stress.
2. Distract yourself with something positive.
Positive thoughts can reduce the impact of stress on the body. The nature of thinking is such that the more you focus on negative thoughts, the more they will become important to you. By interrupting the flow of negative thoughts, you can regain your rationality of thinking, and more objectively assess the situation without exaggerating the importance of stress factors.