I have been dealing with a lot of stress lately! No surprise being a young business owner, that my days can tend to add up pretty quickly in the stress column. Being an Individually Designed Fitness coach, in addition to running the day to day business of being an OPEX gym, also gives me some pretty clear insight to the stressors of my clients, and I often times find myself listening, evaluating, and offering up some great solutions and strategies for how to help them best manage their stress. However, the crux of all of this is how easily I get lost in the pile of daily tasks and things that I choose to allow to stress me out. More recently I have tried to find a benefit in these moments, as an opportunity to become more self-aware, acknowledge what it is really about these situations that cause so much emotional distraught, and then try combat that behavior with re-aligning to why it is I do what I do. (Ironically enough--this is the same type of strategy and tactic that I would most likely use with one of my fitness clients! Shocker right?) But hey, even coaches need coaching! Sometimes, that coaching can come from the voices within--and other times I seek the help of my friends, family, coaching staff, and mentors for advice. One piece of advice that has really resonated with me lately is this: Stress is perception. So simple, yet unbelievably elegant and so full of truth and awareness! Our perception of how we see the world around us day to day, moment to moment, is ultimately the biggest controlling factor of our emotional attachment to the stressors we face each day of our journey. Last week I wrote about how trying to develop good habits within a routine in order create consistency and connection to your personal values and priorities could lead to a more successful and fulfilling lifestyle. This week is another brick on the wall of good habits we need to continuously be building to be the best versions of ourselves.
Every human faces stress. This is not only a fact of life, but also can be a solution! (remember, stress is perception!) I have tried to compile a short list below of some really easy and effective ways that have worked for me over the years that you can start using to lower your daily stress levels:
1. As i mentioned above, everyone deals with stress. If you are able to accept this, and view stress as part of life, you can more easily change your perspective around what it is, and why it is really impacting you emotionally. I don't mean that stress isn't important, and I am not naive enough to tell you to "just let it go"... as I know that not all stress is the stress we choose--but we can choose how we manage it. Personally, (and I know this might sound silly at first) I try to view daily stressors as the mini-adventures I take on, on the greater course of my journey! I am really connected to my personal mission statement: "Inspire people to seek their purpose, honor that purpose in living their journey, and create opportunity for my family, and professional team to grow and be fulfilled each day of their life." If I think about these things in terms of the "long game" that we are all playing ... I can really start to put stress into perspective. If something is really throwing me off course, and adding some serious strain on my day, week, or even month, I need to ask myself, "How does this moment fit in to the big picture? And I mean the REALLY BIG picture? How will this moment factor into my life's work? Will it greatly impact my ability to execute my mission statement? Once I find the answers to these questions, I can usually take a few deep breaths, smile (while remembering this is all part of the daily adventure :)), and then get busy executing what needs to get done, having new perspective on the overall timing and emotional draw of the situation. Stress is our perception, and although we cant always control stress in our lives, we can certainly control our perspective. This has been an immensely powerful tool for me, and I hope you can begin to implement in into your lives.
2. Take care of yourself! This means diet, water intake, moving blood around the body (this can be done in a multitude of ways that doesn't involve training for something that looks like worlds strongest man or a tough mudder!) getting better sleep and enough of it, and holding yourself accountable with creating balance in your daily life so that you dont find yourself running on empty sooner than later! It's not rocket science--if you take care of yourself, and make sure you are at your best to perform daily tasks optimally, you will have better daily performance, focus, and outlook on the world around you!
3. Be aware of the daily activities you do that light you up! What makes you happy? What makes you feel alive? These can be great coping mechanisms that help you deal with daily stress, or at the very least, just help you refocus your energy to be able to knock down the obstacles that once seemed too big to take on alone. For some people this is exercise, for others it may be using music to "get in the zone," others need to be alone with their thoughts, and some people choose creative outlets or hobbies like drawing or building something. Pay attention to the things that make you feel the most alive, and schedule some time into your day to do these things--this is a non negotiable-- it will help you be at your best, so that you are more efficient at doing the things you need to "tolerate" in the time frames they need to be completed in (i.e-deadlines can cause stress, if youre more effective at using the time you have, because you are better managing stress levels along the way, your daily tasks wont stress you out so much).
4. Own your choices. In other words, know what you signed up for! The choices we make will greatly impact how we see the world around us. People who are best at managing stress levels are able to acknoweldge these choices, and know that ultimately these are choices they make each day regardless of the outcome, and they accept responsibility for their behavior.
5. Find opportunity in stressful situations. People who manage stress well are able to find a silver lining in every tough situation. Stress creates opportunity--to learn, to grow, to fail and rebuild into something better. It can even be inspiring (after all, this entire blog post came out of some compounding experiences with stress!). The next time stress has you down and out, or ready to bang your head through the cubicle next to you, remember that good things can come from stressful situations. Take a step back, evaluate what is causing you to feel that way, evaluate what can be done to gain something or what the situation is teaching you, and get to work on making yourself, and others around you better for it. Don't forget "If you're not growing, you're dying."
I have one of my favorite quotes from author Jonathan Fields written on the board in my office behind my desk. I make sure I can see this quote every time I walk through those doors, and it says, "The greatest creations, the most legendary relationships, the most treasured and heralded experiences, innovations, works of art, and lives have all come from people who were willing to live and act in the face of uncertainty long enough to see greatness emerge." Stress is perception. Having the willingness to see what causes stress in our lives in a different light, and to find the silver lining in every stressful situation will not only help you live a better life, but may even help you find your greatness.