Do you have too much going on with you right now? Too much to accomplish, the deadline is fast approaching, too many people counting on you? You are under immense pressure!
This is the life in a modern workplace, and no matter what your profession is you are bound to be hit by stress at some point or other. But how you deal with stress is what makes you truly successful.
In this post, we look at some of the proven ways highly successful people deal with stress.
1. Have self-compassion
In essence, it means going easy on yourself. It’s accepting your mistakes or failure without being overly critical and harsh on yourself. Studies have shown that people are happier, optimistic and less stressed if they are more self-compassionate. And they are more successful too! So remember: it’s ok to make mistakes, so cut yourself some slack.
2. Focus on the big picture
A good way to deal with stress in work is to focus on the big picture. Focussing on the big picture about the work helps you be more energized while dealing with stress as you are linking one particular action with greater purpose or meaning.
For instance asking two kinds of questions “The Why?” and “The How?” helps you work harder towards your goal. I want to get healthier – that’s the why – by running for 4 km – that’s the how.
By changing the lenses you are casting a whole new light on what may seem unimportant or invaluable.
3. Follow on routines
Most people don’t know but a major reason for their stress is owing to make too many decisions. It could be about making a hiring choice, scheduling a meeting with a boss, or choosing a font colour for their presentation. All these can create a lot of mental tension and stress.
The solution is to reduce the number of decisions by following routines. Simple routines can dramatically cut down your stress.
One should focus on their decision making by cutting down the stress of making choices from not so important daily tasks. One classic example is that of Mark Zukerberg and his clothing.
4. Take smaller breaks to do something interesting
Studies have shown that interest and passion not only helps you keep going in spite of fatigue but also replenishes your energy. And this energy flows in whatever you do next. But interesting is not the same as pleasant, fun and relaxing. Sure eating at a good restaurant can be relaxing and pleasant but it won’t necessarily replenish your batteries. The task, on the other hand, will replenish your energy if it is difficult and require some efforts on your part.
5. Make your to-do list more actionable.
Adding a when and where in your task, in advance, increases the likelihood of it getting done. And even research has shown it. Here if-then planning can be a really powerful tool to achieve a goal.
For instance, “remember to call Arun” will become “If it is Wednesday afternoon, then I will call Arun”. And because you have created an if-then plan, your brain will unconsciously search for the situation in ‘if’ part of your plan and work to make it happen despite whatever is going around you.
6. Progress, not perfection
There are two primary mindsets to approach a goal: one is Getting-better and the other is Being- good. The getting better mindset is all about focussing on developing one’s ability and on learning new skills. It leads to self-comparison and a worry towards progress. Your whole attention is towards learning and improving. You are ready to accept that you may some mistakes along the way, and you are ready to forgive yourself. Thereby your motivation level is far more and you experience far less stress.
On the other hand, if you have a being good mindset you expect to do everything right the first time. You chase perfection. You are more self-critical and often compares yourself with the others. You often doubt your abilities and if things don’t go as per plan, it creates a lot of stress and anxiety in you. And this worry about your abilities makes you more likely to fail.
7. Think about what you have gained already
Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer have spoken about the Progress Principal where they make the case for small wins.
“Of all the things that can boost emotions, motivation, and perceptions during a workday, the single most important is making progress in meaningful work.”
It’s not about if we have achieved our goals already but the rate at which we are closing the gap between the current states and desired future state that determines how we feel. It can thus be very helpful to take a moment and think about what you have accomplished so far and then turn attention towards the challenges that remain ahead.
So there you have it. 7 ways in which successful people deal with stress.
With so much going on around you are likely to feel stressed. It’s alright. But it doesn’t mean stress should control your life.