13/10/2010

Continually Drink Down The Stress

By Mark Fritz

Managing stress and not letting stress manage you!

Now, this is not what you think! It’s not about grabbing that pint of beer or glass of wine to relieve your stress. There are other ways…

Let’s use the analogy of a glass of water, with water representing the stress that pours into your life. As your stress grows, more water is being poured into the glass. If water keeps pouring until it overflows, then that’s the time stress has now driven you to say something you wish you didn’t say. That often means you have impacted a relationship that might take months to recover to the same level of trust that you had.

Successful people, who manage stress well, don’t really have low levels of stress. In fact, their stress levels can be quite high (with a glass that’s two thirds full of water all the time). It’s just that they have found ways to either stop the flow of stress (the pouring of water) or to reduce the amount of stress they are carrying (drinking the water down).

Here are some ideas to help you both stop the flow of stress & reduce the amount of stress you carry.

1. To Stop the Flow of Stress — Break the Pattern

It’s about stopping the stress from building, and often it is something that doesn’t take a great deal of time and is simple to do. When you find the stress building during your day, you could…

• Take a quick coffee break (get out of the office & stop by the local café)
• Listen to your favourite song (it takes your mind to another place)
• Picture yourself enjoying your last holiday (it creates a different feeling)

This is about changing your thoughts or taking a small action that will break your current pattern of thought (and change your feeling at the same time). It’s really stopping the stress from building within you…you have broken the pattern!

2. Reduce the Amount of Stress You are Carrying - Recharging the Batteries

This is about putting into your life those activities that will “drink down the water (stress) in the glass” and to make room to you to handle more stress that will always come. To reduce the amount of stress you are carrying, you could…

• Visit your health club (the endorphins always make you feel better)
• Have dinner with friends (it takes you mind away from the stress)
• Go for a run (it helps clear the mind)
• Call a close friend for a chat (talking with others releases our stress)

The above are just a few ideas. The most important thing is for you to understand what activities work best to both break the pattern and reduce the amount of stress you are carrying!

Now, here’s the difference that makes all the difference…the successful people who manage their stress well, plan these activities each week. They do two things very well…

1. They have thought ahead and have a selection of activities they can do quickly to break the pattern of the stress that’s building within them. Then, they call on these activities throughout their day to stop the flow of stress (the glass filling with water).

2. Each week they look at their calendar and see where their most stressful days will be. Then, they decide what activities they can plug into their calendar that will reduce the stress they are carrying (their stress busters).

As you can see, they are taking a pro-active approach to managing their stress and you can too. With this approach you can take control of your stress, and not let stress control you.

Mark Fritz is an international speaker and Managing Director of Procedor, an international consultancy focused on helping international business leaders to achieve even greater success in leading across distances & cultures. He has lived & worked across the world and speaks regularly on the Power of Ownership in leading today’s organizations.


Watch a video of Brian Chernett, Founder of The Academy For Chief Excecutives, explaining how The Academy For Chief Executives inspires business leaders.

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