"What can I do to manage my stress?", a lot of my executive clients ask me.
Next to neuro-feedback devices I recommend the following 10 ways to create new habits that serve them and support their physical and mental health so that they feel powerful and in control of their life again.
Incorporate these 10 habits to reduce stress in your life:
1. Make a list of the most important things to get done.
Completing important tasks each day makes life easier and less stressful. Most of us wake up each day and spend our mornings trying to ﬁgure out what do ﬁrst. Whether it’s Monday or Saturday morning, know what needs to be done before your feet hit the ﬂoor.
• Before retiring for the evening, make a list of the things that need to be done the following day. Prioritize them and create a plan for getting them done.
• By making your list at night, you free up your mind to focus on other things. Your brain is free to work on solutions while you sleep. You can get started immediately and avoid procrastinating.
Exercise boosts your mood. An intense workout can help to clear the mind, burn off excess energy, and reduce stress. It’s good for your body, mind, and waistline, too!
• Choose a form of exercise that you enjoy. Remember that there are plenty of options for exercising alone or with others.
• Find a way to make exercise a part of your daily schedule.
3. Be grateful.
When feeling stressed, you’re probably focusing on the negative. Everything seems to go south when your stress level is sky-high. But you likely have many things in your life that are great.
• On the drive to work, make a mental list of everything in your life that ﬁlls you with a sense of gratitude. It might be your health, children, spouse, home, or even the song on the radio.
• By focusing on the positive, you will raise your level of happiness.
4. Stay in the present.
When your stress level starts to rise, you may dissociate from your environment and start living more inside your head. Stress has a way of making us fret about the future and focus on the negative. This cycle only magniﬁes the stress.
• Imagining the worst isn’t going to help. If anything, it will make you less capable of dealing with the issue at hand.
• It’s important to bring yourself back to the present moment. Focusing on your environment is one of the best ways to snap back to reality.
• Look around and describe 10 things you see. If possible, describe them aloud. For example, “I’m looking out the window and see a small brown dog running through the grass. He has a red collar and ﬂoppy ears.”
• After you’ve described 10 things you see, go through a similar process with what you hear, smell, and feel. Depending on the environment, ﬁnding 10 items may be difﬁcult, so just list as many as you can.
• By the time you’re done, you’ll be back in the present moment and out of your head. Your stress level will be lower, too!
5. Monitor your mood and self-talk.
Most challenges are easier to prevent than they are to solve. It’s much easier to avoid gaining weight than it is to lose 100 pounds. It’s easier to brush your teeth each day than it is deal with severely decayed teeth.
• If you’re able to notice when your mood and thoughts start to go awry, it’s much easier to bring yourself back to a more positive condition. So when you ﬁrst start to feel stressed, acknowledge it and begin to deal with it.
• It takes time to develop this habit, but it’s critical. You might want to set a timer to remind yourself to review how you’re feeling as each hour passes.
6. Spend some time on enjoyable activities.
If you feel like you rarely get to take part in enjoyable activities, now is the perfect time to start. There’s rarely a better time than the present.
• Think about something you’ve always dreamed of doing and come up with a plan to make it a regular part of your life. Thirty minutes of enjoyable activity is bound to make you feel better.
7. Meditate or pray.
Meditation is one of the best ways to give our brains a rest. Even sleep isn’t as mentally restful because we often spend all night dreaming about work or bizarre situations.
• Many individuals ﬁnd beneﬁt in prayer. It can provide a peaceful perspective and hope for the future.
• Consider adding meditation, prayer, or both into your daily schedule. Check out some resources at the bookstore or online to help you get started.
8. Practice forgiveness.
If you’re unable to forgive, it’s difﬁcult to be at peace. Focusing on old hurts likely gets you worked up. Furthermore, failing to forgive yourself for your own missteps can hold you back from the peace and harmony you desire.
9. Be focused on solutions. Are you assertive when it comes to solving dilemmas, or do you stick your head in the sand and hope they’ll resolve themselves? Although many of us are great at distracting ourselves from unpleasant situations, this is rarely a good solution.
• When something is causing you stress, take the time to examine the issue, come up with the best possible solution, and put it into action. Isn’t this much better than hoping for the best?
10.Choose something to look forward to.
It’s challenging to enjoy life if you lack something that excites you when you look at your future. You could choose to highly anticipate a vacation, the birth of a child, or your ﬁrst book being published.
• We all need things to look forward to. Create a compelling future.
These 10 habits will serve you well. With a little effort, you might even come up with some additional habits that will be even more effective for your personal situation.
What will help you the most to manage your stress? Think about it.
Please share your thoughts in the comments.
Silke Glaab (aka SilkCelia) is a psychologist (MA) who helps executives, entrepreneurs and experts to be more resilient to stress and dramatically improve their thinking and feeling so that they enhance their performance and leave a legacy in their companies, their lives and the world.
Silk uses rapid transformation therapy to help clients to transform the roots of a presented issue within minutes while using neuroscience to boost brain power and emotional intelligence to create mindful behavior and decision making in all areas of life.
Silk holds a master degree in psychology and has worked for over 20 years as a trainer, consultant and counselor in divers industries in Germany, Kenya, and Dubai. She is personally trained by the celebrity hypnotherapist Marisa Peer and the neuroscientist Prof. Dr. Kennedy.