Stress is an innate part of almost any job, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to conquer stress and still stay motivated and highly productive throughout your work week.
Stressful situations aren’t bad in and of themselves. But if you’re not careful, the way you respond to these situations can completely derail your work. While it’s true that short-term anxiety can boost your brainpower and increase your motivational drive, prolonged stress can have a negative outcome on your ability to enjoy what you do and keep you from producing top-notch work that will help you along the path to success.
If you’re not careful, allowing stress to chronically overwhelm you can even harm your physical and mental well-being.
So what can you do to keep stress from getting out of hand? These four steps are essential to helping you conquer stress in a positive manner so you can take back your work week.
Exercise has long been known to be one of the best ways to conquer stress and anxiety—and you don’t have to be a fitness guru to enjoy its stress-busting benefits, either!
Exercise helps you overcome stress in several ways. By focusing on your physical movements—whether that be in yoga, basketball, or running—your mind naturally sheds the stress associated with the other activities that have followed you throughout the day. Exercise causes your brain to produce endorphins, which improve your mood and help you feel good.
Consistent exercise can also help you sleep better—another proven way to reduce stress. Even a short daily exercise routine can improve your health and help you regain your optimism.
Far too often, people turn to junk food, caffeine, or alcohol in an attempt to deal with the stress in their lives. While eating or drinking can sometimes temporarily alleviate the symptoms of stress, this is actually one of the worst things you can do over the long run.
Consistently turning to food and drink to deal with your stress can result in obesity and alcoholism. Research has even found that alcohol actually contributes to symptoms of anxiety, essentially making your stress-related problems even worse.
Even “The Simpsons” has noted that there’s a certain irony in using “a depressant to chase the blues away.” Do your mind and body a favor, and don’t turn to junk food, alcohol, or caffeine to try to relieve your stress.
Control what you can control
One of the hardest things for us to accept—especially in the entrepreneurial world—is that there are many things which are simply beyond our ability to control. As hard as you work on your sales pitch, you still can’t fully control whether or not a potential customer will actually make a purchase.
As an entrepreneur, focusing only on tough market conditions or things that are seemingly unfair is nothing more than a waste of time that will leave you feeling even more stressed. But no matter what the outside world may be like, you can always control your attitude, your effort, and your process.
This isn’t always easy, but as you actively try to replace negative thoughts with positive thinking, strive to give your best effort, and think critically so you can adjust your process to the shifting marketplace, you’ll be much more likely to achieve success. Even more importantly, you won’t let things you can’t control—like the choices of your sales targets—get you down.
For many people, one of the best ways to conquer stress is to focus on helping others in their community. Because many volunteer opportunities involve physical work, your body can produce endorphins that boost your mood. But that’s far from the only way volunteering can reduce stress.
Studies have repeatedly found that volunteering makes you feel “more socially connected, thus warding off loneliness and depression.” You can build a support network among other like-minded people as you focus on helping others solve their problems, rather than worrying about your own struggles.
Volunteering can make you more grateful for the many great things you have in your life and give you an added sense of purpose. Quite simply, volunteering will make you feel good! If you want to relieve stress, finding local volunteer opportunities could be one of the best things you’ll ever do.
Other ways to conquer stress
The tips outlined in this article are by no means a comprehensive list of the way to conquer stress. You can probably think of many more possibilities. But hopefully this list will get you pointed in the right direction.
And while not all of these tips may seem to tie directly into your business life, they certainly can all play a crucial role in helping you deal with your stress in a healthy way.
When you take proactive measures to ensure that stress doesn’t overwhelm you, you’ll be able to avoid burnout and produce better work—but most importantly, you’ll be able to feel happy and fulfilled as you do so. And isn’t that what entrepreneurship is all about?