Stress management is a hot topic for meeting planners—and for good reason. Working in a profession that reliably ranks in the top five of Forbes’ annual Most Stressful Jobs list requires this skill. While in the midst of a stress storm, cultivating new habits can seem impossible. So learn and reinforce these constructive strategies now, because there will definitely be a time when they come in handy.
1. Learn to identify the issue
Learning to find the root of your distress is crucial to solving it. To assess, simply answer the following:
- What triggers negative emotions during your day?
- Have any big changes occurred recently?
- How is your physical health?
- What is going on at work?
- Is there anything you’re avoiding?
2. Review the three As
Depending on the issue at hand, there are basically three healthy ways of dealing with it.
Avoid: This is not to suggest hiding from your problems, but when a situation calls for it, remember that things can be avoided. For instance, negative people, additional work/favors and vices are all major stressors that could be eliminated if you refused to be around them.
Adjust: Instead of tolerating a stressful situation, embrace flexibility. Be proactive and be open to finding some middle ground through compromise.
Adapt: When you’re faced with a rigid obstacle, it’s time to start working on your perspective and approach. Always take a look at the bigger picture by considering how something will realistically affect you in six days, six months and six years.
3. Break it down
Typically, a daunting project or event cannot be taken down in one sitting. Instead of endlessly chipping away, break it into digestible pieces. Find mini-goals and deadlines with some wiggle room. This way, you will have the necessary leeway and time to celebrate small victories along the way.
4. Get into a rhythmic activity
Engaging in a repetitive motion is extremely calming, plus physical activity is a well-known stress-buster. Pay attention to your breathing while walking, dancing, cycling or performing a similar activity. Big bonus points if you can take it outdoors.
5. Maintain good physical health
Physical and mental health are very much intertwined. When your body is suffering, it’s challenging to feel OK mentally. Then it starts a vicious cycle of health issues. Get a sufficient amount of sleep, don’t self-medicate and strive to derive energy from nutritious food, activity and natural supplements. Try to avoid relying on the unnatural peaks and valleys of caffeine.
6. Practice mindfulness
Luckily this trend has exploded, so there are lots of available resources to facilitate mindfulness, whether it’s classes, reading materials or apps. Meditation, yoga and visualization are excellent methods. Still, anyone can practice mindfulness by unplugging or tuning out with music or sounds. Establishing your own empowering yet comforting mantra can also help.
7. Do something for you
Do something that’s purely for personal enjoyment at least once a day. As humans, we need this to get by. Even if it’s just cooking a meal, chatting on the phone or watching a TV show, you must allocate time for amusing yourself.
8. Interact with others
Stress can keep you trapped in your own head. Consequently, you may quickly forget the value of interacting with others. Never expect someone to be a solution, but it’s fair to ask them to listen to your troubles. If that’s not an option, or something you feel comfortable with, then strike up a conversation about something else. Just having that human interaction can be surprisingly uplifting.
9. Treat yourself with honesty and kindness
There’s really no use in lying to yourself—and sometimes people are unaware that they’re doing it. A great tool for self-expression and gaining an accurate outlook is journaling. If it’s time to take action, whether by making a big change or seeking professional help, you should allow this to happen.
10. Find a way to laugh
Laughing out loud is one of life’s all-time greatest simple pleasures. The benefits are infinite and pretty much everyone can do it. Find what appeals to your comedic side and make sure you prioritize this joy for instant relief. Also remember to laugh at yourself. Few things in life are too grim to find humor in. So dial-down the serious, find your playful side and unwind.