Want to know how to stay calm and beat stress to become successful?
Dr Travis Bradberry wrote an very intelligent and interesting article on "How Successful People stay Calm". He highlighted some interesting research carried out by TalentSmart who found that out of a million people, 90% of top performers are skilled at managing their emotions in times of stress in order to remain calm and in control and found that some stress can be good.
Can stress be good?
“I think intermittent stressful events are probably what keeps the brain more alert, and you perform better when you are alert,” Kirby says.
The problem however is that life has become generally fuller and therefore more pressures and stresses, such as:- trying to be the best at your job to keep it; trying to prove yourself for promotion; making enough to pay bills; juggling work-life balance; juggling family life; being a good parent; helping kids with their endless homework; cook; cleaner; entertainer; taxi for kids taken them to activities; seeing friends and extended family – Still with only 24 hours and 7 days in a week; a very near impossible task! These constant spinning plates keep that stress going for prolonged periods of time and if not careful most of the time.
Basically Stress taps into our fight or flight response by releasing adrenaline and other hormones to help us take action! Initially when we received stress signals, our bodies produced the adrenaline to help us fight or flee the situation, but both generally required us to be more active in our response in order to survive. However nowadays we experience stress whilst in the car or sat at our desks at work, or worries about our finances. Therefore these days the stress hormones and adrenaline released are not used up and simply stays in our bodies longer than we were designed for giving us the unhelpful and unhealthy physiological responses.
Research from the University of California, Berkeley, reveals an upside to experiencing moderate levels of stress. It also reinforces how important it is to keep stress under control. The study, led by post doctoral fellow Elizabeth Kirby found that the onset of stress entices the brain into growing new cells responsible for new memory. However, this effect is only seen when stress is intermittent. As soon as the stress continues beyond a few moments into a prolonged state, a Yale Study found it suppresses the brain’s ability to develop new cells and can actually cause degeneration in the area of the brain that is linked with self control. Interesting!! Could this be a self-perpetuating issue?
The clients I see with stress problems take a longer time to train themselves to take control of their thoughts and behaviours and prefer to blame everything on someone, something or the situation so they have an excuse not to show self-control themselves. However with coaching we can and do change this process into a healthier way of thinking and being.
Health Issues related to Stress
Stress not only increases our risk of heart disease, depression, and obesity but it also decreases our cognitive performance. The good thing is that we rarely have imminent danger from predators anymore so the bulk of stress is subjective and can be kept under our control. Top performers have great coping strategies that they employ under stressful circumstances. This enables them to lower their stress levels regardless of what’s happening in their environment, ensuring that the stress they experience is intermittent and not prolonged.
So what are the ten most effective strategies that successful people employ when faced with stress?
Some of these strategies may seem obvious, but the real challenge lies in recognizing when you need to use them and having the ability to actually do so in spite of your stress.
How Successful People Control Stress
1. They Appreciate What They Have
Start a gratitude diary today and think of 3 things every day you are grateful for. This will actually help your mind see the positive things in life and a sunnier outlook on life helping you stay relaxed.
2. They Avoid Asking “What If?”
However, “What if?” statements enhance the need to worry as it pre-empts every bad scenario that could possibly happen in relation to a situation. Hence not just dealing the consequences of 1 trauma but many. Remember the unconscious mind can’t decipher between memories or visualisations and reality so will believe it is experiencing all these problems increasing all the stress hormones in the body. So the less time you spend focusing on the possible problems and more time taking action, will actually help calm you down and keep your stress under control. Calm people know that asking “what if? will only take them to a place they don’t want—or need—to go. Follow their example.
3. They Stay Positive
To help my clients I teach them Peripheral Vision to remove them from the negative state and then set a resource anchor that they can set off holding many strong positive emotions that flood through their body changing their biochemistry into more positive chemicals being released. Very handy to get you more positive.
4. They Disconnect
Although I am sure we all agree that technology is a great thing and having mobile communication is very useful is also means we find it hard to cut those ties and go cold turkey without it. This means we are always aware that at any moment we could receive an e-mail re work that could totally derail our time off, as when it pings in, we can’t resist to check it and then we start thinking about that instead of the relaxing situation we are in or trying to create.
Get into the habit of turning your phone off at night, especially when you go to bed and at times over the weekend. You will be amazed at how much this refreshes you by recharging your mind and reducing stress levels.
I am a sucker at catching up with e-mails and social media for my business in the evening but at night I always turn my phone and ipad off and on holiday it all gets turned off at the airport and remains off for the entire trip. This time is vital to recharge and allows me to be fresh coming back to it.
If co-workers and clients expect you to answer, it’s time to start educating them by turning it off in a quiet period and then building your confidence and training your co-workers to extend this period away from technology. It really is worth it. Avoid burn out and implement these boundaries now! Win-win for all!!
5. They Limit Their Caffeine Intake
Try converting to caffeine free versions or herbal options. Additionally, due to the fluctuations of cortisol levels, hormone that helps us wake in the morning (and also a stress hormone if it builds), an apple is more effective at kick starting your day than a caffeine fuelled cuppa!