Ever find yourself gritting your teeth, clenching your jaw or laying on the horn just a little longer than necessary when the car in front of you does something stupid?
Most likely you said “yes” to that question.
You may be noticing that life has gotten a little bit more stressful these days. Some people can become a little more reactive as a result. Down here in South Florida in tourist season the heat doesn’t just come from the sun.
I know that because Friday on my way to a peaceful end-of-the-week yoga class I was the one blaring on the horn to avoid crashing into the crazies who think it’s okay to dash across three lanes of traffic when there is clearly not enough time to make their turn. Arghhhh!
This is National Stress Awareness Month so let’s get aware of what’s happening. Use this month to really take a look at your own stress level and the stress level of your organization.
Stress is at epidemic proportions and threatens our health as well as our livelihood.
Stress is responsible for more than 90% of illnesses, contributes to toxic cultures, and countless screw-ups daily.
Our bodies were perfectly designed for acute stress.
We get an immediate and short term reaction. A car swerves in front of us and puts us in danger, instantly our focus sharpens and all systems not essential to deal with the threat go off line until the danger has past. Our hearts beat faster, our blood pumps out into our extremities, we become stronger, we sweat and in some cases (like mine) we say things we ordinarily wouldn’t say. All of that is necessary to get us out of danger.
But if 6 minutes after that experience is over you’re still reliving it, re-telling it and ruminating on how awful it could have been your body is in trouble.
Your immune system, digestive systems, and all other systems remain “off-line” for up to 6 hours. This disrupts everything.
Modern day living with round-the-clock chaos at our fingertips (whether we look for it or not) causes that stress reaction sometimes up to 50 times a day.
Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.
The human system was not designed for chronic long term stress.
Just like it wears down your body, it wears down your organization physically, mentally and emotionally. 78% of companies identify stress as a top health risk. According to the Wall Street Journal, in a study conducted by Harvard Medical School, 96% of senior executives say they are experiencing burnout to some degree.
I’m one of them. How about you?
Seems all the “progress” we’ve been making is killing us.
What can you do about it? Plenty.
As they say when you are flying, first and foremost put on your own mask first. Then take a good look inside. What parts of your days are “energy gains” and what part are “energy drains?” Where are you rushing from one thing to another before so much as taking a deep breath to clear your body and mind?
Are you responding to or reacting to situations?
Are you taking time out for appreciation and gratitude, and sharing that with others?
Here’s the deal – Positive Leaders know that positivity has an “undoing effect” of stress. They know that by leading mindfully and doing certain practices, they can re-wire their own stress reactions and those of the people who work with them, responding more appropriately and more thoughtfully.
Here are a few resources for you:
The first one is called The Power Pause and it’s a practice I teach all my positive leaders – it’s over at my personal blog.
And if you want to dive deep and learn more about mastering stress – get a complimentary copy of Topic #6 in the Customer Care Coach program: Managing Energy: Everything You’ve Always Needed to Know About Stress – But Didn’t Know to Ask
Fair Warning: It’s not for the wimpy. It’s a robust topic with 4 lessons and many “Skill Builders” should you dare to delve in that deeply.
And here’s one more resource – get your whole team involved: Take 25% off my suitable-for-anyone-in- the-company webinar Don’t Believe Everything You Think: 7 Strategies for Creating Happy Endings
In it you and your team will learn: how the thoughts you think make up the stories you tell yourself – and how those stories impact your emotions and ultimately your success or stress in life.
You’ll discover 7 simple strategies for weeding out the negative seeds of stress – and how a new way of thinking can change your reality and deliver more joy, happiness, and success to your life. Perception is reality.
As business leaders, customer care directors, managers or entrepreneurs your position impacts the lives of many people. The more you master your own reactions to stressful situations the better a climate you’ll create. 30% of your financial success comes from the climate where you work and lead.
Call me 561-279-0027 to book a webinar today. Use April as YOUR stress awareness month, so May will come in a little more like a lamb. JoAnna@ReturnOnHappiness.com
Breathe. Chill. Exhale.
Treat yourself well,