Stress is one of the most prevalent health issues in our society and the underlying cause of many emotional and physical ailments. Unfortunately for many of us, it’s also an unavoidable part of our day-to-day. That’s why, as a part of our #Stressbusters campaign, we’ve tapped some of the most time-strapped influencers, CEOs and entrepreneurs for the ways they’ve learned to manage and combat stress. Hopefully some of their unconventional tactics can prove successful in your own routine.
EVERUP: What are the largest sources of stress that you encounter in your daily life?
LILLIAN: The management of my stress has evolved. It went from wanting to eliminate all stress to wanting to manage necessary stress in order to achieve my goals. I have found that frequently the ultimate contributor of stress is when we attempt to change another person, or shift the responsibility of results and outcome to someone other than ourselves. For me, it’s learning to manage the process and results despite the inevitable input of others. Prior to starting The Bali Bead and The Happy Knee the below factors were my greatest sources of stress:
- Commute: I had a 1 hour and 40 min commute from NYC to my role in NJ and it really turned me into a zombie.
- Money: I was allowing a great deal of fear to enter my head. I asked myself questions like, “Is the effort that I am putting forth being valued?”
Are their certain symptoms, emotional or physical, that you recognize when you are particularly stressed out?
Absolutely, my chest will tighten. Previously I would wake up with stomach ulcers in anticipation of a stressful day, take too long to get out of bed, or feel tired and drained.
Do you or have you ever found yourself coping with stress through unhealthy/unproductive means?
Yes, I would eat out of stress/exhaustion (know what foods give you energy and have them on the ready!). I would have lower patience and not be able to be as strategic and deliberate in my business actions. I would just stop thinking through a problem and instead just settle (now instead I will wait and come back to it).
What prompted you to finally realize you needed to do something to help cope with and eliminate stress from your life in a healthy and productive way?
I took note of how I felt different/energized/extra enthusiastic about life after eliminating the stressors. Also, instead of just saying “eliminate stress,” it became about managing the stress that is needed to get things done. This allows you to anticipate unideal/challenging situations, and create an effective strategy before they occur.
During an earlier period when I first moved to NYC I didn’t notice that stress was affecting my health or productivity. I really, really did not, I took pride in it and thought it was absolutely necessary. I was so used to it that I had accepted it as normal and actually felt it was absurd to think I could get rid of stress. When visiting Thailand, and defining what I wanted, I realized, “wow, that heavy feeling was stress. Grabbing ice cream, that’s stress.”
What tactic did you adopt to help ease, eliminate or deal with the stress and what led you to choose this tactic?
- Opening up my chest.
- Mindfulness: Note the activity, person or scenario that creates stress and eliminate it as much as possible. This may be in the form of not spending time with certain individuals, or being silent during unideal behavior (silence can sometimes convey all that is needed).
- Be kind to yourself: I realized that the thing I hold the absolute greatest control over is myself. That being the case, I have to be deliberate in how I self talk. When I miss a deadline, do I beat myself up and begin the creation of stress that literally can change my DNA? Or do I step back, allow myself to breath, and then think,”Ok, that was not the best, but that is okay. You’re messing up because you’re trying something new. And the fact that you are doing something new means that you are challenging yourself. That is pretty awesome, kudos Lillian, now let’s get better.”
How do you incorporate this tactic into your routine to help keep stress at a manageable level?
- Breathe: If you find yourself in an unwanted situation prompted by another, remove yourself, open your chest, and take a deep breath.
- Mindfulness: Speak kindly to yourself. The same way you would check your pulse, check your hierarchy of needs. “Ok, I am really, really stressed, but do I have food? Can I walk? Do I have friends?” Check your gratitude journal if you keep one.
I try to start the day with 3 deep breaths this is a simple, effective method of self care. Simply acknowledging yourself before you approach the day will allow you to move forward more deliberately. Sit comfortable and breath deeply in through the nose, expanding your chest. Hold for 4 seconds then breathe out 4 seconds. This is what I did to start myself on the road towards meditation as it can be intimidating at times.
Is it something you do on a regular basis or a trick you keep up your sleeve for when time get particularly stressful?
Mindful talk is something I do daily, since there are many occasions where things do not go exactly as planned. I know that I need to still work with the same efficiency as if I were on cloud nine, so as a result, I need to think positively as soon as possible.
What improvements did you begin to see as you implemented the tactic?
I was really, really happy with myself. I felt empowered and in control of my life. I eliminated self doubt.
Would you recommend this tactic to others? Do you forsee it being a better option for certain personality types?
I would. Stress is an overlooked contributor to death and a shorter life. These tactics are just a few that can help to eliminate stress that can be incorporated into a busy schedule. The fact that these techniques are simple also increases the likelihood that you will do them with more frequency.
Below are tactics that are more specific/situational:
- If you are angry at someone, take a moment away from that person to remember that you are the master of your fate. Take a deep breath. Refer to your gratitude journal to get to a place of empowerment.
- The 3 breaths are especially great for when you’re feeling powerless, maybe when you’re on your way to work and want to start your day with a clear mind and powerful effectiveness.
Lillian Daniels is creator of The Happy Knee and trained in Hatha Yoga through World Yoga Alliance in Thailand. Through The Happy Knee Lillian uses her insight on healthy eating, yoga and holistic solutions to help clients live with a happier knee and a happier life. If you have any questions contact Lillian at Info@TheHappyKnee.com.
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