How to Make Stress Work Beautifully for You
By Sandy Schroeder
When you look closely at stress you may find it can motivate you to move ahead quickly, or it can damage your health, career and relationships if it surges out of control.
Fast Company urges us to learn how to effectively control stress before it is too late.
“It’s all about how we relate to the events that create the stress response in the body,” says Laurie Cameron, founder and CEO of PurposeBlue, a mindful leadership consulting firm.
Get a Grip on Stress
The secret is to harness the power of stress to create positive results. Employers see "the ability to thrive under pressure” as a valuable job skill. If you stay flexible and move quickly to deal with stress, you may become a very valuable employee in today’s fast-moving economy. This skill can become an integral part of your life helping you avoid negatives such as fatigue, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat and body inflammation.
First, Identify Your Triggers
Consider how you react at work. Do you work along every day or wait until the last minute to power through? Do you carry the job around in your head, creating a 24/7 undercurrent of constant stress? When you develop ways to handle workloads and projects successfully you are making stress work for you.
Second, Use Your Breath to Relax
Take the time to learn how to use your breath to manage your stress. Cameron suggests two different ways to use your breath.
Make a stop - When you face a new project, take a deep breath, observe the situation, and then proceed through it. By stopping, you are giving yourself a sense of space and clarity as you figure out what the situation really is. That may loosen things up enough to help you work well from there on out.
Do three breaths - The first breath looks at the stress. The second relaxes the body, and the third one asks what is important now. As you move through the three breaths, you may feel yourself becoming more grounded and ready to handle the job.
Cameron suggests practicing these breath techniques every day so that they become a natural response to stress that kicks in whenever you need it.
Control Negative Stress Outlets
As we learn how to work better under stress, there is still a natural tendency to unload somewhere. At the end of a long week, that first glass of wine may look awfully good. Or that box of cookies that you have been successfully avoiding may suddenly get eaten as you tell yourself you deserve every bite. As you harness stress on the job, make the effort to monitor the rewards at the end of the job. Everybody needs to unwind. Just know how to do it safely.
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