9 ways to defeat stress
Life in the modern workplace is full of stress.
The difference between those who are successful and those who aren’t is not whether or not you suffer from stress, but how you deal with it when you do.
Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D. Motivational psychologist and author, ‘Succeed’ and “Nine Things Successful People Do Differently” has suggested nine scientifically proven strategies for defeating stress whenever it strikes, according to the Huffintonpost.
Have self-sompassion, she says. Self-compassion is, in essence, cutting yourself some slack. It’s being willing to look at your mistakes or failures with kindness and understanding — without harsh criticism or defensiveness.
A dose of self-compassion when things are at their most difficult can reduce your stress and improve your performance by making it easier for you to learn from your mistake, she suggested.
Second she suggests people to think about the “big picture” – Thinking big picture about the work you do can be very energizing in the face of stress and challenge, because you are linking one particular, often small action to a greater meaning or purpose.
So when staying that extra hour at work at the end of an exhausting day is thought of as “helping my career” rather than “answering emails for 60
She asks people to rely on routines – Having to make so many decisions is a powerful and pervasive cause of stress. Every time you make a decision– you create a state of mental tension that is, in fact, stressful.
The solution is to reduce the number of decisions you need to make, by utilizing routines. Have a routine for preparing for your day in the morning, and packing up to go home at night. Simple routines can dramatically reduce your experience of stress, she said.
Another simple way is to take five (or 10) minutes to do something you find interesting. She points out to recent research that showed that interest doesn’t just keep you going despite fatigue, it actually replenishes your energy. And then that replenished energy flows into whatever you do next.
Add where and when to your to-do list, she noted.
Nearly 200 studies, on everything from diet and exercise to negotiation and time management, have shown that deciding in advance when and where you will complete a task can double or triple your chances of actually doing it, she said.
Halvorson also ask workers to use if-thens for positive self-talk. Recent studies show that if-then plans can help us to control our emotional responses to situations in which we feel fear, sadness, fatigue, self-doubt, or even disgust.
Simply decide what kind of response you would like to have instead of feeling stress, and make a plan that links your desired response to the situations that tend to raise your blood pressure, she asserted.
Workers should see their work in terms of progress, not perfection, according to Halvorson.
When you think about what you are doing in terms of learning and improving, accepting that you may make some mistakes along the way, you experience far less stress, and you stay motivated despite the setbacks that might occur, she said.
Or think about the progress that you’ve already made – It can be enormously helpful to take a moment and reflect on what you’ve accomplished so far before turning your attention to the challenges that remain ahead, she stated.
Know whether optimism or defensive pessimism works for you, she said.
Some people think of their jobs as opportunities for achievement and accomplishment — they have what psychologists call a promotion focus.
For others, doing a job well is about security, about not losing the positions they’ve worked so hard for. This prevention focus places the emphasis on avoiding danger, fulfilling responsibilities, and doing what feel you ought to do, she said.
Promotion motivation feels like eagerness — the desire to really go for it — and this eagerness is sustained and enhanced by optimism. Believing that everything is going to work out great is essential for promotion-focused performance, she explained.
Prevention motivation, on the other hand, feels like vigilance — the need to keep danger at bay — and it is sustained not by optimism, but by a kind of defensive pessimism. In other words, the prevention-minded actually work best when they think about what might go wrong, and what they can do to keep that from happening, she added.