a_015-SMIt is an acknowledged fact that stress can be a “killer”. It creates chemical reactions in your body that, if they become “chronic”, can be very detrimental to your health and welfare. Managing it is just as important as managing your business. Here are 12 “stress reducing tips” to help you manage stress.

  1. Spend time reflecting on your life – look at the big picture. (When stressed, we tend to develop tunnel vision.)
  2. Exercise regularly – it relieves tension. Asking a friend to exercise with you will provide accountability and make it more fun.
  3. Talk difficult issues over with a trusted friend or trusted advisors.
  4. Journal – write down all your concerns and how you feel about them, then throw the paper away and let it go.
  5. Take time out to meditate, pray or go for a walk and observe nature – the trees and flowers, listen to the birds, and watch the ever-changing cloud formations. Spend time with people, get to know them and develop deeper relationships. In other words, break up your routine.
  6. Get adequate sleep and rest at night.
  7. Plan time for fun – laughter is good medicine. Taking time out to relax and play should not be considered a luxury.
  8. If you face a stressful situation that is beyond your control, put it in perspective by asking yourself how it will feel and what impact it will have on you five years, or even six months, from now.
  9. Focus on what is positive and see the glass as half full, and filling. Turn your attention to things that have gone well and praise yourself.
  10. View stressful situations, large and small, as opportunities to learn. Stop, step back and think about ways you could benefit from them. Velcro® and Post-It® notes were invented as solutions to frustrating problems.
  11. Take ten-minute vacations. Stop work for ten minutes, relax, breathe deeply and think about something fun and pleasant. This can refresh your mind and you’ll return to the project with new clarity.
  12. When you’ve completed a stressful task, reward yourself with something you enjoy.

Stress is generally a reaction to events, and you have choices of how you respond. List the things that cause you stress and ask yourself if eliminating, or at least minimizing, each of these stressors is even within your control. If it is, then brainstorm and write down possible solutions, making note of how you’ll handle them differently in the future. If the stressor is beyond your control – you just can’t do anything about it – remind yourself that getting upset over it is a waste of your energy and let it go. Take action that will lead to peace of mind.