In many jobs, stress and pressure seem inevitable. Deadlines, expectations, presentations, targets to meet—there are a lot of work-related situations that cause stress.
What if you could not only handle that stress better, but learn how to use it to motivate you and drive you to be better?
Today we’re sharing three things you can do to turn a stressful situation into something that benefits you.
The first step is to take ownership over your own mental and emotional state. When you’re anxious or depressed, it is very difficult not to react negatively to a stressful situation.
Start with the easy stuff: make sure you’re sleeping enough, getting exercise and eating enough wholesome, nutritious foods.
Next, work on your communication skills so you know that you are communicating effectively at home and at work. Miscommunication is a major cause of work and relationship stress!
Then, when you are feeling balanced and focussed, shift your attention so you are working proactively. This means looking ahead to potential opportunities or concerns and working to meet them before they arise. This will help take the sting out of any sudden changes and give you the energy to deal with new problems effectively.
Another key way to help reduce stress and become more proactive in your approach is developing better time management skills.
Create a realistic schedule for yourself. Don’t take on more tasks than you can reasonably accomplish, and learn to say no. Focus on what is most important first, and make sure to leave time for breaks to refresh your mental energy.
It’s also important to manage your time outside of work. Give yourself some time in the morning so that you don’t arrive late or feeling flustered from rushing.
Look for moments where you can reduce small stresses throughout your day. Have you ever noticed how some very successful individuals wear the same thing every day? Steve Jobs in his turtlenecks, Mark Zuckerberg in his T-shirts, Karl Lagerfeld in his black suits… They all turned to a ‘work uniform’ so they don’t have to waste time and energy deciding what to wear every day, freeing up valuable decision-making energy.
Stress doesn’t come from our circumstances, but rather from our thoughts—and they can become a self-perpetuating machine.
At one of his business coaching events, Tony Robbins helped one business owner named Travis isolate the cause of his stress.
Travis desperately needed more staff to help grow his business, but when Tony asked him what was most stressful to him, Travis said hiring new people because “new people bring new problems.”
When Travis believed this thought, he became stuck. He knew he needed more people, but believed they would only bring more problems to his business. So what happened when he had these conflicting beliefs? His brain got confused and he did nothing—which only made the problem worse.
With Tony’s help, Travis was able to see that his thoughts were sabotaging his success.
“Thoughts don’t hurt you,” Tony said, “it’s the thoughts that are stressful that you believe that hurt you.”
In this instance, Travis was curbing his own success because of his limiting beliefs. Not only was he apprehensive about hiring new people, he was coming up face-to-face with his own insecurities.
Tony explained it like a thermostat set to a certain temperature. The temperature gets lower and lower until a certain threshold is reached and woosh, the heater turns on. Then the temperature climbs and climbs until it gets far too hot and the heater turns off—this is how our beliefs and our thoughts work to keep us in our ‘comfort zone.’
They keep us from falling too far, but they also cap our success. Travis believed he was just a stupid farm boy from Ohio and that deeply ingrained belief kept him from doing what he needed to do to achieve success.
“The strongest force in any human being’s personality,” says Tony, “is the need to stay consistent with how we define ourselves.”
So what does this have to do with stress?
Stressful thoughts are like little beacons, alerting us to the fact that something is going on that is either holding us back or reinforcing a negative situation.
“You need to master your mind, and the way to master your mind is to start to question the thoughts you’ve been accepting and stressing about,” says Tony.
Learn to see your stress this way and you have the key to unlock your true potential.