No matter where you are on the journey of your career, you probably have realized by now that being overwhelmed is a natural by-product of success.
Whether you are employed, in the transition of your own business, just started off on your entrepreneurial journey, or if you have been in it for a while and you have an established business, then you deal with stress every day, and sometimes even every minute.
Yes sometimes, especially at the beginning of your business journey, stress is good. It drives you to work long hours, to get things done, and to push forward. Then after a while, the long hours and the endless emails and the phone calls get to you. You find that the passion you originally had is leaving you, and you find yourself wondering why you got started with this in the first place. If you have felt like this or currently feel like this, then you have simply lost your work/life balance. However, this can be fixed.
If you frequently wake up tired or with a headache, this is usually because of stress. Eventually, this pain and fatigue drains your energy that you need for your business or job and your personal life. As matter of fact, there has not been a time in history where the level of stress has been greater than it is now.. in our automated, fast-changing world of internet, emails, smartphones and instant messaging.
Yet, living with too much stress for too long results in behaviors that are opposite to the ones you need to exceed at what you desire most. Stress creates adrenaline. It allows for spontaneous, reflexive responses. It enables you to react to stimuli. An effective business leader does exactly the opposite. He or she acts based on careful thinking and calm decision-making. Pro-active behavior rather than reactive behavior.
The technique I am teaching you today through this article is the result of years of personal research and studies. Ok, onto strategy number one then. You should have a vision that is aligned with your values and passion. This will help you jump out of bed every morning and take on the world. It will help you to overcome any obstacle that might be thrown onto your path. This vision will help you stay focused and on track. Whether you are employed or have started on your entrepreneurial path, I hope you have created a very exciting vision for yourself.
Have you noticed how your body reacts to your excitement? This energy is good but it needs to be channeled and used only when you ask for it. Here is then a great and very powerful way to channel that energy. It can help you be more productive and reduce the wear and tear that this sense of excitement can have on your body. It simply has to do with breathing. Yes, you might be laughing but keep paying attention. When we feel stressed, our breathing becomes shallower. We start breathing faster and less deeply and ultimately only use 20% of the oxygen in our lungs.
There are two results:
1) You only circulate a very small amount of oxygen throughout your body.
2) Your body goes into defense mode because shallow breathing signals danger.
So, what is there to do? Simple. Stop your work for just a few seconds and start breathing deeply by inhaling slowly with a rise of your stomach. Put your hand on your stomach and feel it rise up and lower down. Breathe deeply, fully and slowly for about 10 seconds. This signals to the body that the coast is clear, the danger has passed and you can reenter your high-productivity zone – that zone where you can think clearly and act rationally.
Easy, yes? Ok, let’s practice it right now. With your hands on your stomach, breath in, take a deep long breath, watch your hands as they rise up when you breathe in. Then watch your hands as they lower with your out-breath. Do this a few more times.
Now, how do you feel? Like the air cleared, like sanity returned, like a fresh breath of spring air entered your room? It’s good, isn’t it? So remember, every time you start feeling overwhelmed with your to-do list, when you feel angry, when you are starting to worry about your business or career success, you have to deal with kids who don’t want to cooperate, in traffic while late to a meeting, any time you feel like it… take a few deep, calm, slow breaths and feel peace reenter your life!