Entrepreneurship and stress seem to go hand in hand. So, how do you handle the stress? Here are six stress hacks for entrepreneurs:
1. Take a walk: If, in the middle of your day, things are getting too out of control – too many demands, too many deadlines, and your wife has taken to calling you “Steve Stress” (oops! sorry, that’s my stress story) – then one of the easiest things you can do is to get the heck out of Dodge, or at least your office.
A 15-minute walk around the block will do wonders to clear your head and break the stress momentum. Indeed, studies show that one of the best things you can do when feeling stressed-out is to interrupt the pattern.
2. Go work out: More broadly, and if time allows, hitting the gym or otherwise getting in some real exercise will do wonders for reducing your stress levels. The great news is that exercise alleviates stress on two levels:
- First, the physicality of exercise works to counteract the physicality of stress. Physically getting your blood pumping works stress out of the body.
- Secondly – and just as importantly – interrupting the pattern and experiencing the change of pace and scenery that accompanies a workout helps to clear your brain.
3. Get some rest: On the other end of the spectrum, the toll stress stakes physically and emotionally often coincides with a lack of sleep. By getting a regular good night’s sleep or a good nap, you counteract the power that stress can have over your body and life.
In a Ted Talk that has gotten almost 5 million views, Arianna Huffington says that the key to productivity and creativity alike is a getting good night of sleep.
4. Look at a nature scene. According to Psychology Today, “Looking at nature scenes can speed your heart’s recovery from stress. In a recent study, students were stressed by having to take a math test and getting feedback that they were performing below average. Afterward, researchers [showed the students either] pictures of trees or pictures of urban scenes. Those who saw the pictures of trees had a quicker cardiovascular (heart rate, blood pressure) recovery following the stressor.”
5. Check some things off your list. Stress is often the result of having too many things to do. By getting productive and simply checking a few things off your list, you may feel better.
6. Reinterpret your stress as excitement. That same Psychology Today article suggest that, instead of trying to calm down, what works is to harness the “energy of you stress chemicals.” People who reinterpret their anxious feelings as excitement do better on various tasks and have more positive feelings about the task than “those who tried to calm down.”
Tony Robbins famously uses this technique in his firewalking events, where he teaches people how to transform “fear into power.” That is the same idea here; stress is an energy that can be harnessed and used positively.
Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest, The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can also listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success.© Steven D. Strauss.
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