Want to become more productive? Decreasing your stress levels will increase your productivity and the likelihood of living a longer, healthier life. But, you ask, I run my own business, how can I possibly decrease my stress? How can I find the time to add anything else in? And I ask you, how can you NOT? Stress is an energy zapper so reducing stress will, in essence, add time to your day because your energy levels will be higher and your focus will improve.
We know that multi-tasking, shallow breathing, pre-occupation, physical side effects of stress (heartburn, stomach upset, headaches and shoulder tension are a few of the more mild side effects) and anxious thinking will decrease your effectiveness and productivity exponentially. Did you know that you could regain as much as 40% of your time by decreasing your stressful multi-tasking habits? That's like adding at least 2 days to your work week! Pay attention to how you feel when you are multi-tasking; are your shoulders tight? Is your breathing shallow? Perhaps you have a mild headache and are clenching your teeth? Your body will tell you when it's suffering the side effects of stress.
Here is my list of top de-stressors. Please add to the list!
Meditation – Meditation is proven to intensify activity in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which is associated with happy, positive feelings. It reduces your heart rate, increases your tolerance to exercise and is even being used to facilitate weight loss! Doctors are actually prescribing meditation to their patients. Why not add the practice to your life before your doctor does? If you feel that meditation isn't for you then try taking a short 5-minute break to do some deep breathing and clear your head is a good start. I simply roll my desk chair to the window, facing the sun, and focus on my breathing and nothing else. If you are a beginner, there are many wonderful guided meditation CD's available. If you already embrace the practice of meditation, increase your sessions in length and/or frequency.
Proper Diet – Eating more protein and fewer carbs will decrease your stress because your body and mind will function better. Loading up on carbs can make you sluggish and moody. Take a few minutes every 3 hours to munch on some protein; goat cheese, chicken or fish or a protein drink. After a week or so you will begin to see a huge difference.
Exercise – If you don't feel like you have the time to get to the gym, simply take a brisk 20-minute walk each day. Again, focus on your breathing or something pleasant during this time. Get those endorphins flowing and you will be more clear-headed and attain higher focus.
Natural Products – I have a routine with Young Living Essential Oils that has become very important to me. It grounds me and helps me remain calm and focused. I love it! When things feel overly intense I turn to Bach Rescue Remedy. I also increase my B Complex. Go to your local health food store to find out what products are right for you. Of course, always check with your doctor as well.
Energy Psychology – The Emotional Freedom Techniques and other energy psychology modalities are outstanding resources for stress reduction. There are many videos available on You Tube and many talented practitioners out there. I have been utilizing EFT in my life and business for six years and it has resulted in dramatic change for my clients and for me.
Change Your State – Slipping into a negative thought process will zap your energy, creativity and productivity. If you feel fearful or anxious about something, get out of your chair and consciously shift your state. This may sound a little strange, but it's highly effective. Walk around your home or office in an upright posture and tell yourself in a strong voice that you are strong, confident, on top of the world. Use gestures (ala Anthony Robbins) that feel empowering to you. Your subconscious mind will take to this quickly, reducing the download of cortisol, which is damaging in the short term and the long term.
Kids and Pets – Turning to children and pets in an affectionate, appreciative way is a sure fire way to get your mind off of things. Take a break and give a kid, kitty or dog a hug today!
Join me on my radio show today to learn more about stress busters. I will be taking callers to help you with personalized solutions so be ready to start your week by letting go of your stress!
Of course, if your stress is chronic you may benefit from therapy or life coaching as well. Awareness is the first step. If you pay attention to how detrimental high levels of stress can be you may be moved to do something about it. You're worth it and so are your family and your business!
MARLA TABAKA is a small-business adviser who helps entrepreneurs around the globe grow their businesses well into the millions. She speaks widely on combining strategic and creative thinking for optimum success and happiness. @MarlaTabaka