Stress is a terribly destructive thing and sadly, stress is everywhere!
It takes a monumental effort for most people to remain stress free throughout the day, with anything from bad drivers to bad weather having the power to ruin a day.
Some people however, seem to be immune to the clutches of stress as they sail through their day happy and relaxed. Now of course this can be down to a number of factors, most of which are circumstantial and are useless for me to list, as they won’t help you on the bad days.
This is a list of things for the people having a bad day, or week, or year. There are real defences you can build against stress. This isn’t the old recycled list of stress ball, meditation and happy thoughts. These are some techniques you can implement that will almost immediately cut down your levels of stress in any situation.
Magic trick number 1: Control the controllables
This is a classic rugby saying. On the rugby pitch it refers to the fact that you can’t control the bounce of the ball, you can’t control which way the ref will make decisions, you can’t control the state of the pitch etc. so you have to focus on what you can control if you want to be successful!
This mantra is what I have always reverted back to when my head is about to explode from the amount of idiocy in the world.
You can’t do anything about the traffic, so being angry won’t make people drive faster! Sit back, relax and go with the flow. You’ll probably find that it’s over before you know it.
You can however set off five minutes earlier, make sure your car is properly looked after so won’t break down for preventable reasons, you can call into work early and explain, you can work hard so your lateness doesn’t affect your working day, keeping you on the good side of your boss and most importantly you can make sure you have brilliant music for the journey.
This technique really made a difference to me when taking exams. I never had ‘The Fear’ while waiting for results, I never even had ‘The Fear’ just before an exam. There was nothing I could do to influence the test before taking it, and nothing I could do to influence my results after the test. So why worry about it?
You can control your revision, exam preparation and technique, so focus on these factors and nothing else matters.
Magic trick number 2: Bat the elephant one bite at a time
Ok, ok, how do you eat an elephant?
One bite at a time!
Big tasks are daunting. There’s no way around it but it is too easy to be overwhelmed, and you get so scared of the enormity of your task you never actually start!
I’ve spent days just working out how to start a project, and procrastinating because my dissertation was just too big a concept for me to tackle.
In reality if I had just started typing I would have found my rhythm and life would have been easier.
Here’s what you do: When you’re faced with a big task, break it into smaller parts, then break them into smaller parts, and then break THEM into smaller parts if you can. Suddenly you have lots of small manageable tasks to do, the smaller you can go the better, as the sense of accomplishment when you finish one will spur you onto the next one.
Once you have your tiny parts, work out the order you need to do them. Find the very first thing you need to do, and do it. Forget everything else. Forget you have a whole paper to write and only think about your first task until you finish it. Then mindlessly move onto the next. You may not finish any faster, but you won’t waste all of your time dithering about what you have to do, and you will massively reduce the stress caused by the process.
Magic trick number 3: Remind yourself that you’re a bad ass
It’s very common to stress about interacting with other people.
Everyone hates being rejected, we all naturally want people to like us. Social situations can be awkward if you’re not used to them, the same goes for selling, but remember: you are a bad ass!
Everybody is good at something. No matter how insignificant you think it is, I bet that in any room, there is something you can do that nobody in the entire room can do better than you. I don’t care if it’s pointless or completely useless. From that aspect, you are unquestionably the best in the room- hold on to that!
Too many people approach social situations like an underdog, worried how people will think of them, when really you should be gauging how you feel about the people around you. What does it matter what people think of you? And if someone makes a snap decision on you based on first impressions, chances are they’re not worth trying to impress anyway.
When taking this mindset however, it is important to remember to give everyone a chance. When people are nervous they can easily come across badly, so be kind and don’t turn into one of the people that scared you in the first place.
Another common social interaction is selling. Selling is a huge part of any business. Whether it’s selling a product to your customers or selling yourself to your boss. Again success here can come down to the one sentence: Remember that you’re a badass.
If you truly believe in what you are selling and believe you are best person to sell it, then what can go wrong? Prepare, relax, and let your enthusiasm and knowledge work for you.
Magic trick number 4: Get some damn sleep
Come on guys. Turn off your phone, turn off the tv and go to bed when you’re tired. The morning only gets closer the longer you wait.
Everything is worse when you’re tired. Everything but your bed.
All of these things take practice and it won’t happen overnight, but if you follow these 4 tips and remember that you can’t control the chaos, but you can choose how it affects you, then you should be fine.