“I do not Fix Problems. I Fix my Thinking, then Problems Fix Themselves” – Louise L. Hay

According to 2014 US Stress Statistics, 77% of people regularly experience physical symptoms caused by Stress. That’s shocking!! Symptoms such as headache, fatigue, muscle tension, and upset stomach, to name just a few. Then, there is the psychological symptoms such as anger, irritability, sadness & lack of energy.

In today’s fast paced business environment, it seems that stress is growing. In the US alone, stress related healthcare & missed working days totals $300 Billion dollars. Yes, that’s Billion with a B !!

So what can we do about it? A holiday in Koh Samui? Change of Career? Drugs or medication? Sadly, those solutions are only a band-aid, and won’t really address stress at the root cause. In order to significantly reduce the stress in our life, we must learn to become flexible with our Perception.

 
People are disturbed not by a thing, but by their perception of a thing.” — Epictetus

 

You see, we cannot control every single thing that happens outside of us. What we CAN always control, is our RESPONSE to what happens. As we develop this flexibility of thinking, we begin to realise that we have direct control over our levels of stress. Let’s look at a few tips on how all of us can reduce stress..

 

Tip#1 – Don’t Make Assumptions – When we make assumptions, we are ‘imagining’ worse-case scenario’s, mis-truths & massively distorting reality. This causes undue stress & anxiety. Best solution, is to simply ‘Clarify & Verify’. Don’t mind-read what your colleague, client or boss is thinking. Simply ASK them.

 

Tip#2 – Don’t Take Things Personally – Other people’s drama is theirs. Their behavior is directly proportional to the ‘programs’ & habits they operate on. If someone begins yelling at you, blaming you, criticizing you, it only highlights their own lack of self-worth. In those instances, simply smile, knowing that they are projecting their own drama onto the world.

 

Tips 1 & 2 are from a fabulous book titled ‘The Four Agreements’ by don Miguel Ruiz. Suggested reading.

 

Tip#3 – Negativity Detox – we become an average of the 5 people we spend most time with. So take a look at your environment. Do you have ‘toxic’ people in your Life? If so, what can you do to minimise time with them? Also, look at how much media you consume. Is it largely negative? If so, that will definitely create stress. Quickest solution is to simply stop reading & watching negative news events.

 

Tip#4 – What Could be GOOD about that? – This is a super powerful & effective Coaching question that you can ask yourself, or others, to help shift your perspective about a ‘negative’ event. Remember, we cannot control every single event. What we can control is our response to it. So when you initially perceive something to be negative (which will cause stress), simply ask yourself “What could be good about that…”. As you ask this question, your change your perspective, and your mind begins to look for the positive learnings from that event.

 

Tip#5 – Clear Communication – as an Executive or Leader, this is your most powerful ‘weapon’ against stress. The quality of your communication is the response that you get. In other words, if you’re team are not performing as per your expectations, it’s because you haven’t clearly communicated your expectations or desired outcomes effectively to the team. As you become better at clearly articulating your message, your team will respond, and achieving KPI’s will dramatically improve. And that reduces stress for everyone.

 

We hope these tips can support in some small way, to reduce any stress in your Life. The main thing to remember is that you are in control of your RESPONSE to stress. So if it begins to show up, simply do your best to look at that ‘problem’ from a different perspective. As you do so, you will experience greater awareness, deeper understanding, and a heightened ability to manage your emotions.