RELAX: Five Steps to Stress Management
My newest keynote/breakout session content focuses on stress. What it is, how it impacts us and what we can do to make the most of it. The program is titled RELAX and is based on five actions we need to take to ensure stress is helping us, not hurting us in both our personal and professional lives.
Before we look at the five actions, let's cover some basics. Stress is one of the responses your body triggers when it is under pressure. The basic principle of the RELAX program is that we can control what stresses us and how we respond to stress. Stress can improve our quality of life or be detrimental to it. These five actions below are designed to help you respond positively to stress.
(Click here for a RELAX poster to print and display.)
Reset to normal - When we are under fire, our mind-set influences everything. Stress is a physical response and works automatically in most situations. Our first goal in a stressful situation is to make sure we control our mindset by resetting to normal thought patterns as quickly as possible. Leave the room, put your thoughts on something else, take a five-minute break, etc. These tactics clear our mind to think about next steps.
End in mind - Stressful situations force us to have tunnel vision and only see what is right in front of us creating the frustration. You need to break this habit by putting your thoughts on the goal, project completion, change, etc. that you are trying to achieve. Keeping this end in mind will remind you of the value and purpose for the stress you are under. Tell yourself that the stress might be bad right now, but it is worth it for the greater goal. RELAX is not about chilling out. RELAX is about taking positive action under stress and creating an environment where you are fueled by stress, not defeated.
Listen to stress - One of your most important tasks during a stressful situation is to become self-aware of what type of stress you are under. Not all stress is bad and everyone responds to stress (no matter what it is created by) in different ways. Giving presentations is a great example. Many people get negatively stressed out thinking about and giving presentations. However, this is a choice they are making. Thousands of people give presentations every day and view the stress as positive. Listen to your stress, examine it and then decide if how you are responding is based on the condition of the stress, the situation or you.
Acknowledge what works - Choosing to respond positively to stress is the grounding principle behind RELAX. Figure out what works for you and make it habit to repeat those actions, thoughts, etc. These might include listening to great music, going to the movies, taking a day-trip with your family, positive self-talk (more important than people realize), playing golf, reading a good book, etc. Acknowledge what works for you and stay disciplined to it.
Xpress needs - Life is a team sport and so is RELAX. Stress can damage our quality of life in many ways, but a common way is preventing us from sharing our needs with those around us - family members, friends, co-workers, etc. Make sure you express your feelings and thoughts with a close ally that can help you keep things in perspective and remind you to RELAX.
Contact me if you have a future conference, retreat or team training where you think my RELAX keynote/breakout session would be a great addition. Thank you.