We hear about stress every day and we can easily admit that we are often under a tremendous amount of it. Still, people often don't consider it a real problem.
However stress is a mental condition. Sure, everyone needs a little stress, but ongoing stress can have some serious consequences. It can result in migraines, nausea, forgetfulness, tremors, change in appetite, and fatigue. Those are bad enough, but it also can cause even more serious issues like heart disease, depression, gastrointestinal problems, accelerated aging, and premature death.
It's easy to ignore stress, but difficult to hide. It is often written all over your face. The right amount of stress can propel you and give you enough energy to accomplish tasks, while too much stress can become debilitating.
Often people will say that stress is in the head, and that would be a true statement. It starts in the brain and manifests itself through physical symptoms. The problem with stress is that you can't will away problems with a contract, make financial problems disappear, or have new clients materialize. So what is the answer to dealing with the many stressful things that can impact a leader or business owner? The answer begins with realizing that you are stressed and owning up to the condition. Often entrepreneurs wear their red cape throughout the day and even to bed, not realizing that they are under a tremendous amount of stress--even when some of the signs are apparent. What makes seeing stress as a warning sign difficult is that many entrepreneurs are Type A personalities and welcome the many challenges. However, too much stress for too long can deteriorate the body and mind. Here are ways to deal with it:
According to Anxiety and Depression Association of America, when stress affects the brain, with its many nerve connections, the rest of the body feels the impact as well. So it stands to reason that if your body feels better, so does your mind. Exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins--chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers--and also improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress.
There are various over the counter pills to help you sleep, but if you find that you wake up feeling tense and anxious there are medications that your doctor can prescribe. What has worked for countless people is Prozac, but there are also natural supplements that you can consider such as chamomile or St. John's Wort. Medications don't make the problems go away, but they allow you to better manage your emotions during the storms.
Deep relaxation throughout the day will alleviate stress. Allow your mind to relax and focus on something other than your issues. What makes meditating so powerful in dealing with stress is that breathing is a big part of meditating. Very often when we are stressed we don't breathe. If you were to stop right now you may see that your muscles are tight and that your breathing is shallow. If you can slow down your breathing and take in air, you will see a difference in how your body responds to stress.
4. Put things in Perspective
This is probably the most difficult thing to do, but the most effective. You should put things in perspective and recognize what is in your control and what is out of your control. Stress derives from our thoughts and how we perceive things impacting our lives. The mind is able to create and recreate what it wants to experience. So you should visualize and believe in the outcome that you want to experience. And let go mentally of those things that you cannot impact.
There are classes on stress management and tons of literature about stress. It is a real source of problems for entrepreneurs that should not be ignored and seen as a badge of honor. If you realize that your stress is causing sleep disturbance, ulcers, or any other symptoms that can lead to other problems, consult your physician.