If someone talks about stress to you now I would guess it just has generic meaning for something that affects you in a negative way. The key thing to remember about stress is that you need it.

Without stress you would not get out of bed in the morning, let alone work productively. So let me spin stress another way, stress is an influence on you and you decide how it affects you. I can already here some of you tutting at me in disagreement but bear this in mind. There is no fixed measure of how you SHOULD deal with stress so that must mean your reaction to it is purely down to you to control.

If you are reading this then you will be in a position that you like to shape your environment. You aim to achieve and push yourself to make sure you get there. I understand this as I am in the same position and a lot of what I write is down to how I have managed situations. I have turned myself from hot-head, spinning in circles type entrepreneur to a focused leader that get things done. Below are the key areas to work on if you want to treat stress like anything else that may slow you down, understand it and find a solution.

1 – You react emotionally
Let’s remember that stress is an ingrained response within us that was designed to make us react to a situation quickly. Your reptile brain still thinks like the scared caveman and always wants an extreme response to keep us safe. We know, however that things are not like that anymore and the stresses we face are different. This means you have the unique opportunity to change how you react to stress. Below is the scale I created to get stress into perspective.

8 – This will result in my death
7 – This will results in a life long problem
6 – This will result in a long term issue
5 – This will result in a fixed term issue
4 – This will be very intense but short term
3 – This will be bad for a month
2 – This will cause a problem for a few days
1 – This will be forgotten tomorrow

The main problem we have is that we react to a green or blue as if it were a red situation. Keep doing this long term and there is never an off switch for your stress so everything seems worse. Use this scale to really look at how you are reacting to situations.

2 – Take a step back
Don’t worry I am not going down the road of saying you need to instantly go on a yoga retreat to fully unwind. I am looking at simply taking 30-60 mins away from the situation and any screen. I used to think this was simply taking me away from the work I desperately needed to get done and didn’t do it. Problem with this though is if we remember back to the above statement that if there is no let of then everything compounds then it starts to make sense.
It is not until you regularly take yourself away from the situation that you realise how much more you can get done if you do. Think of it this way, you are running down a long flight of stairs and there are boxed scattered all over the stairs waiting for you to trip up. Look at taking that time away as your way of then moving the boxes and organising them so when you come to run down the stairs, you can.

Everyday, make time, don’t try to find 30 mins to walk, sit or whatever works (ideally outside) and arrange what you have to do in your head without a screen.

3 – You are investing
You will try and find every way possible to make your business or work as good and productive as possible but do you do the same with you? You need to remember that you are the complete car, you neglect one area and the whole car suffers. You neglect the whole car and it will stop. Investing in yourself is not about going on a transformation to get a six pack because that serves no purpose in making your effective (unless you are a fitness model then go get shredded)

To invest in yourself is to look at weak areas and make them better so you can be a productive and impactful as possible. If you feel tired all the time then this will be a sign of stress. To improve this look at your general fitness, sleep quality, caffeine intake, work patterns etc. The list is massive but what it shows is you have a lot you can control and manipulate to make it work in your favour. We could all sit there and say there is no time, to busy but be honest and think about this. If you were busy but could add something to your business that would make it great, would you find the time? Of course you would because it matters to you and will make things better.

We have an amazing ability to be able to make what seems impossible, possible by being resourceful. Look at making your mind and body as good as you can as a problem to solve.

One thing I see a lot is people avoiding the simple solutions is because they know that is the real answer. Going for short term, complicated, faddy options is avoiding the problem and slowing you down. Concentrate on the simple solutions that make the foundations and you will make real change.