Stop Being A Stress Victim

We are victim to stress at many points in our life

Whether it’s school, during work or in our personal lives, it’ll shows it’s face uninvited.

I remember a point in my career when I felt deathly stressed.

That morning two years ago I woke up like any other day. The day was new, the air was fresh and I was ready to take on the day.

Work welcomed me gratefully until I received the 2PM phone call. “Nate, I ordered the wrong material.” In my head I was freaking out because I knew what order he was talking about. “I need you to cancel the order and correct this.”

At this point I wanted to curl up and hide. The order was a few sets of commercial airline brakes worth $500,000. We had already spent $150,000 into the work we needed to accomplish this project.

That night I stared at the ceiling, wide eyed feeling angst and worry. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do and my mood and behavior was unpleasant.

This scenario was one of the many stressful periods I’ve encountered in my profession. It has led me develop specific strategies to cope with stress, big or small that I would like to share with you.

Stress from a chasing rhinoceros

Stress is a physical response to events that make you feel threatened or upset your balance. It’s a result of adrenal chaos.

In one way it may save your life, like when a rhinoceros chases you. Your hormones kick in and it helps you run, jump and think better than you normally do. Some people may even call themselves superman, or woman.

Stress is normal in small bursts. A rarity.

Once stress becomes an everyday problem you’ll begin having memory problems, anxiety, moodiness, nausea, and chest pain. The list can continue on to poor sleep, eating too much, isolation, procrastination and even alcoholism.

An ancient stress philosopher once said…”stress is no bueno (totally made this up).”

How to overcome stress

I’ll be honest, depending on what stage of stress you’re in it can be very difficult to overcome. It takes control of your mind and body and you begin losing your sense of self.

Before you do anything recognize you’re stressed and how it’s effecting you. Then take these 5 actionable steps that address your mind, body and soul.

Step 1: Take a break and get away. Leave all technology behind and take a long walk in nature. The fresh air and the smell of the trees has a calming effect. During your walk focus on your surroundings, nothing else.

Step 2: Mediate. By meditating your allowing thoughts to come in and then immediately letting them go. Just focus on your breath. Inhale in, exhale out. Notice the feeling of your breath. Is it in your nose or the rise of your chest? Focus just on that point. Don’t make meditating so complicated, 8 minutes is all you need to get started.

Step 3: Change your eating habits. Stress tricks your body into thinking it needs pleasure foods such as fat and sugar, Snicker bar anyone, for energy. Don’t mistake this desire for wanting to eat junk. Your body isn’t built for prolonged periods of stress. Avoid these urges. Eat a meal with high quality fat, protein and healthy carb. If you want carbs chow on a sweet potato or white rice. Your body and mind will thank you.

Step 4: Get moving. According to Anxiety and Depression Association of America (http://www.adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/related-illnesses/other-related-conditions/stress/physical-activity-reduces-st) a workout of low to moderate intensity makes you feel energized and healthy. It also produces endorphins, a natural pain killer.

Step 5: GET SOME SLEEP. Yes, I’m yelling this at you. Although this is the most important, I find sleep is hard to get when your mind is racing. This is why you must adopt the previous steps first. Get your mind right. Just like fitness sleep produces endorphins and is the only way you can repair your mind and body. Download a sleeping app to see how your doing. I use the sleep cycle alarm clock on my iPhone.

As you can see getting control of your stress is crucial. A stressful you is an inefficient you.

This is a guest post from Nate Anglin. Nate is a business owner who teaches entrepreneurs how to take control of their life. A poor mind, body and soul translates into an ill body and an ill business. He helps change this. You can find him here.

I’m always looking for guest posters. If you would like to guest post, you can find the guidelines at An Invitation To Guest Post.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Excellent post. I would like to add to his list. When I get stressed at work and can’t step away from my desk, I turn on my radio to my favorite station and play it softly. Helps me calm down and focus. Been a tremendous help over the years. Also, I’ve had to make a huge mental process to leave work at work and not take it home. For awhile, I had to mentally lock the work in my desk drawer, this practice dismissing it whenever I thought about it. Thanks for sharing this guest post- excellent suggestions.

    • Ah, the power of music. Music can be a huge help in reducing stress. What’s your favorite station or artist for helping reduce stress?

      • WGTS 91.9 FM which is online too, http://www.wgts919.org- a contemporary Christian station which plays a wide variety of styles from Chris Tomlin to Newsboys- latter being my favorite artist. If I’m really stressing, like a major brain dead stress, then classical music- but don’t need it as often. I keep the Christian station going in my cube to help keep an even keel-

        • That’s a great strategy. And it’s not just music, it’s inspirational, soul touching music.

          Their have been studies that show music can be a distraction when focus is required. The reason being that you’re trying to listen to the lyrics and perform a task that requires your full attention all at once. Studies also show results in favor and against listening to music while working so its a wash.

          I say listen to music as it helps keep my mind relaxed as well.

          Thanks for sharing.

          • I would agree with music w/lyrics being a distraction while working so I don’t keep it very loud – just enough. I used to listen to classical all the time for that very reason but some changes came about that didn’t work- so I changed to the Christian station which has worked great. Thanks for the post!!

            • My pleasure Allen. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

        • Cool Allen. Positive, upbeat music is a real help. Sounds like that’s what you’re listening to.

  • Sleep, exercise, and rest are three major influences on my stress level. I respond much better to the pressures of leadership when these three ingredients are part of my regular “diet.”

    • It’s awesome to hear that Jon.

      What are some strategies you use to get the well needed rest?

      • That’s a tough question. I think part of it involves unplugging on the weekends. I don’t always to a great job at this, but in general, I try to set aside at least a day when I’m mostly disconnected from the network. It also helps to get outside. I work in an office environment throughout the work week. It can be so refreshing to get outside when I have the opportunity. Yesterday, I ran 4 miles on a local trail. These types of activities provide exercise, but they also provide rest for my brain.

        • Man those are excellent ways. I enjoy hitting the trails as well. There’s nothing better than to get outside, smell the fresh air and feel like you’re alive. Especially for us office folks ;-).

    • I think we all do Jon. How do you fit all of that into your regular schedule?

      • This can sometimes be a challenge. I know I probably burn the candle at both ends a bit too closely.

  • Great post Joe. Stress is a problem for all of us I am sure. It is a sneaky bugger. paying attention to the signs of stress is key. I clinch my jaw first. This let’s me know when there is a problem and I need to do some of the steps listed. Good one Joe.

    • A bugger it is indeed.

      Just be careful clinching that jaw. It may invoke aggression whether you mean it or not. A good alternative is a good breathing routine when you feel this way.

    • You’re at least noticing the warning signs that you’re under stress. Keep working at it, it’ll get easier.

  • Great steps, Nate. Sleep is the hardest one for me, but what a difference it makes.

    • Thanks Skip.

      Yes sleep is incredibly important. It’s the only way to be 100% refreshed both physically and mentally.

      It’s been trouble for me in the past as well. If I can answer any questions I’m no stranger ;-).

    • I’ve heard you’re one of those machines that can run on just a couple of hours of sleep a night. That’s amazing. Have you found it ever catches up with you?

      • Well, that is true to a point. After a few weeks, my body stops and needs sleep like nobody’s business! So I am always looking for sleep tips.

        • I can only imagine after running on so little sleep. If you ever come across some great sleep tips, that would be a fantastic post for your blog.

  • Sleep and exercise. If I get enough, I’m top level zen. If I don’t, problems.

    Great points Joe.

    • Those are two great ways to reduce the stress Micah. Do you find you’re able to schedule those activities into your day or is it a struggle?

      • I’m usually a pretty good sleeper. Though I’m thinking about experimenting with these Japanese 8 minute power naps I keep hearing/reading about. Getting to the gym can be a struggle for me when things get busy though. Still trying to figure a way around that one.

        • I hear you. I hit that zen state as well when those you mention and my nutrition are on point.

          Sleep and nutrition are the 2 most important things to accomplish in a day. It’s how we energize and recuperate physically and mentally. Everyone has enough time in the day for each. You’ll accomplish more in a shorter period of time when you can think straight. Productivity tends to rise when business professionals take care of these 2 things.

          The next most important thing is exercise. I hear a lot of people saying they don’t have enough time to squeeze in 20 – 30 minutes a few times a week. Everyone has enough time for this small amount. If you don’t have enough time for the gym, skip it. Work out in your garage, beats having to commute to the gym anyway ;-). I only workout in my garage.

  • Pingback: Stop Being A Stress Victim - Joseph Lalonde | G...()

  • Pingback: Stop Being A Stress Victim - Joseph Lalonde | E...()

  • Pingback: Stop Being A Stress Victim - Joseph Lalonde | d...()

  • Pingback: Stop Being A Stress Victim - Joseph Lalonde | R...()

  • Pingback: 4 Reasons Leaders Should Get Out Of Bed Every Morning - Joseph Lalonde()