Stress Awareness Month has been held every April, since 1992 to increase public awareness about both the causes and cures for our modern negative stress epidemic. The Stress Management Society says that “millions of us… are experiencing high levels of stress” and that “Stress is one of the great public health challenges of our time.”
According to The American Institute of Stress (AIS) there are a few different kinds of stress: Acute Stress (fight or flight), Chronic Stress (bills, kids, jobs), Distress (divorce, financial problems), and Eustress, which can actually even be positive when its not overwhelming (marriage, a promotion, a new baby).
Left uncared for, stress is linked to physical health problems like unhealthy weight gain, immune system issues, heart disease, and more. And, let’s not forget about our mental health; stress is a significant factor in anxiety, depression, and so much more.
Before I stress you out, I’ve gathered some helpful thoughts from some other brilliant entrepreneurs.
Lori L. Dixon, Ed.S., owner of Walk with Lori, LLD Legacy and its affiliates, and LLD Legacy Publishing (yep – she’s pretty busy!) has studied stress “in real life” first as a Special Ed teacher, as a college Professor and curriculum development expert, and much later on Real Housewives of Dallas! About stress, Lori says,
“Everyone experiences it and responds differently to its impact in their life based on mindset. We are emotional and logical beings, and that duality creates conflict within ourselves and our responses. Stress is required for us to shift with change in a forward thinking and feeling way. Approaching it as opportunity in our life can lead us to feeling hopeful instead of doubtful. Embracing stress and learning to manage its effect is the most powerful focus we can harness. Choose to react to stress differently and you will continue to walk forward in your purpose and mission.”
You can work with Lori directly and learn how to choose to react to stress differently. Meanwhile, I went digging for more.
Rob Levin, a serial entrepreneur and Chairman of Work Better Now tries to avoid stress altogether. Here are some of Rob’s top tips:
- Turning off email notifications and go offline as often as possible. This cuts down the stress of having others influence how my time is spent.
- Not multi-tasking. This is after 20+ years of telling myself that I was a master multi-tasker. Multi-tasking does not work.
- Practicing meditation (almost) daily. While I wish I was “better at it”, it has helped me see the bigger picture and get less stressed-out when things don’t go the way that I would like them to.
- Realizing that just about everything happens for a reason. Whether it is a mistake to learn from or not getting the deal that I worked my ass off for, I have learned that getting stressed out gets me nowhere fast.
- Utilizing my virtual assistant to do my administrative work (as well as other things). Having a virtual assistant has not only reduced stress, but it has also allowed me to focus my time on the things that are important to my progress and important to me.
I love the idea of a virtual assistant, personally! And, having an assistant is more affordable than you think! You can schedule a 15-minute consultation with Work Better Now here.
But even Rob admits that, “The above is simple, but it is not easy.”
So, I went on to find some ideas on how to actually deal with the stress, as written by some other truly incredible entrepreneurs.
“Stay busy. Reach out to others in need and your problems seem small in comparison. It’s empowering to be in a position to help others. It’s a win-win and you meet some positive amazing people in the process.”
Sherry Fine, Chairwoman of the Board, Living Water Children's Fund
And, she knows! In 2008, Sherry Fine, after an impressive career and incredible life of serving others, established the Living Water Children's Fund as a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization (NGO) and developed a Board of Directors to oversee Living Water Children’s Centre located in Arusha, Tanzania, ensuring quality of life for orphans and other children in need. Since then, the fund has expanded its scope to include many projects around the world, primarily in Africa and Haiti.
Stephanie Dalfonzo, an Anxiety Expert who believes that everybody deserves to be free of anxiety and has built her career around supporting others, gave me some very practical tips. She says,
"One of the most important parts to reducing stress and anxiety is consistently practicing easy techniques to continuously empty the stress bucket. By doing this on a daily basis, when life throws an unpleasant surprise, you already have the new healthy habit in place."
Stephanie offers resources and 5 simple tips you can use right now on her website. Full disclosure: Stephanie has helped me so much over the years, and I’m really happy to present you with her wisdom.
I also reached out to Dan Greenwald, founder of ThirtyTenZero, a program which I personally am using daily to help me track the activities that matter to reaching my goals, which I have found helps me control how I respond to stress. Dan says,
“Whenever you feel overwhelmed, stressed, or a dose of anxiety coming on, break out a journal (could be digital) and write down three bullets of things you're grateful for. You can always add more. Studies show that being in a place of gratitude has a physiological impact on our bodies by realigning our EEG (brain waves) with our EKG (heart waves). Bake that into your daily practice for a week and assess the impact after.”
My gratitude practice, "pressing pause", volunteering, and practicing self-care have all helped me cope when the days (and sometimes weeks!) feel like they will never end.
Do you have tips to manage stress? Please leave them in the comments. We’d love to hear them!