By Lolly Daskal President and CEO, Lead From Within
Most advice on stress will tell you to breathe your way into calm, but I am going give you the most powerful weapons against stress–because it’s a matter of life and death.
Most of us live with some degree of stress as an ever-present force. Success requires that you cultivate the ability to stay calm when everything around you is stressful and everyone around is stressed out. Stress is worth taking seriously: it’s a known killer. But you can fight back.
Here are six powerful ways you can wage the life-and-death fight against stress:
1. Forego blame. When things go wrong, it’s human nature to seek out someone to blame. You want to find someone to be at fault and teach them a lesson so this never happens again. But blame does nothing to ease stress and doesn’t solve the problem. Forgo placing blame and start thinking of your own responsibility-the things you can do differently next time to prevent the problem or make the repercussions less severe. The day you stop blaming others is the day you begin to feel relief from stress.
2. Put things in perspective. Stress enters when things are out of control and when you lose perspective. Those who are strong and successful tend to throw wider nets and take longer views of their problem to put things into perspective. Try to think not in terms of a crisis but a problem-something that can be solved. And don’t get stuck trying to solve the problem with the same thinking you used to create it; change your perspective and you’ll see new possibilities.
3. Stay available. When stress hits, it’s a natural response to want to run and hide. And some people do literally check out-they physically leave when there’s trouble. In fact, the way to offset the stress is to do exactly the opposite: make yourself more accessible and stay more available. When you authenticate it and deal with it in proximity to your team, you can work through it in collaboration, not around it on your own.
4. Be part of the solution. There will always be problems and stress. To position yourself as part of the solution means becoming the person who stays calm enough long enough to think of ways to make it through. Within every problem, every challenge, there is always a solution. And when nothing is sure, the possibilities are wide open.
5. Tap into your confidence.Especially in stressful times, it’s easy to start second-guessing yourself, to lose focus on your confidence and spend your time comparing yourself to others. Everybody has their own strengths and weakness, and its only when you accept yourself and everything that you are that you truly succeed. When you tap into your confidence, you can stay consistent and focused in your priorities. In tough times, be gentle with yourself and tell yourself you are doing the best you can.
6. Take action. The best way to combat stress is simply to be present with it. When you look stress in the face you can unmask what you are afraid of and begin making things happen. After all, the goal is to succeed-and to succeed takes action, hard work and effort.
The person who can find that calm center in times of great challenge will prevail through focus, perspective and a firm grip on purposeful action.