Beating Stress the Successful Way!
The world is made up of two types of individuals: those that believe they can make things happen and those who believe things happen to them without any direct input from themselves.
Let’s take a look at the first group: these people are preconceived that their lives and career choices come from making decisions on their own; while the other group take a Forrest Gump approach sitting around waiting for something to happen; instead of, taking direct action.
According to a study conducted by the University of Florida, Tim Judge, a psychologist and his colleagues saw a direct correlation between people who felt confidently able to control events in their lives also performed better at their jobs.
This group of individuals in Judge’s studies – let’s call them “the rubber stamp group “shared work related traits such as:
- They sold more than their colleagues
- They gave better customer service
- They adapted better to new assignments
- They took home an average of 50 to 150% more in annual income
Good vs Bad times
Yes, it is obvious that during periods of good times everyone feels like they are the king or queen of their respective mountain; however, what makes the “rubber-stamp” group different is when things get harder in life or in work they do not become overwhelmed. The “rubber-stamp” group feels stress and anxiety; however, they vanquish this anxiety differently from the other group.
Remember, the “rubber-stamp” group believe that they are responsible for the outcomes of their lives; therefore, they use the anxiety to nourish passion instead of self-pity, to conquer instead of get discouraged, and persevere in lieu of giving up.
Regardless of the work situation the “rubber–stamp” group faces they refuse to wave the white flag above their head and surrender.
So here’s how it works?
Research conducted by TalentSmart, studied more than 1 million people and found that 90% of top performers knew how to manage emotions and stress during stressful events in order to remain in control of the situation.
Interesting enough, anxiety is a necessary emotion that we human beings have. The human brain is hard-wired to take action during stressful events; however, not until we feel some level of anxiety. It is known that when people experience moderate levels of anxiety their performance levels peak. The key is to learn how to manage it during moderate levels of stress in order to achieve peak performance.
So how can we reduce our stress level and improve our lives by coping with it? According to researchers from Yale University, severe stress decreases an area of gray matter in the brain that is responsible for self-control.
When you lose self-control, you also lose the ability to deal with stress. Therefore, it becomes more difficult to escape stressful events; which you would more likely create. The research also explained why many people tend to go on a merry–go-round of stress until they eventually experience burn out.
Losing self-control has a great impact not only contributing to psychological problems, but physical ones as well. Stress has been known to be linked to chronic diseases, depression, obesity, and impaired cognitive performance.
So How do you do it?
The first and most important key is to learn how to manage your anxiety once it comes on strong. If you do not have the proper resources and tools on how to learn to manage your stress you will never know your full potential.
You can improve managing your anxiety when facing difficult situations by following the steps that the “rubber-stamp” group takes to keep their anxiety in check; instead of allowing it to take over.
What needs to be understood is that yes you are facing uncertainty but that it does not mean an inevitable outcome for your future. Developing the ability and mental capacity to believe that you are in control will make you a “rubber-stamper”.
Step 1: First Aid Kit
People and businesses change and they come and go. Even the “rubber stamp” group from Judge’s studies could not avoid this change. However, the difference is these people had the confidence that they were capable of making something positive happen from their negative situations. They were ready and prepared mentally for the change.
You can be mentally prepared yourself for change by allowing yourself some time each week or month to create a list of possible changes that you can make in your life. The purpose of this is not to predict change, but rather to open your mind to the possibility of change and coping with it. By practicing the act of anticipation and preparing for change, it will give one better control of their emotions.
Step 2: Focus on freedom, not limitation
We might have limited ability to stop negative thoughts or events from happening, but we do have the freedom to choose how we respond to those negative events.
Remember the list from step 1? Next to the possible changes you wrote down, create an additional list of positive actions you can take to respond to the change. See? Now it doesn’t look so bad and the future seems brighter and brighter already.
Step 3: Edit your script
This step is the most difficult step of all because it requires the mode of thinking differently to change. Throughout time, we have created mental scripts of how we feel about life circumstances and how we respond to them; which is why it makes it difficult to change.
In order to be a “rubber stamper” we must rewrite our script.
So how do you rewrite your script? Go back and remember a time you faced a difficult situation and write down what prevented you from responding to the situation more effectively?
Relabeling the script “Tough Script”.
Now rewrite the “tough script” and create a more effective mental script to follow next time you are dealing with a difficult situation.
Step 4: Halt and eliminate negative self-talk
A major step necessary to manage stress is to halt and eliminate negative self-talk. If you allow negative self-talk to simmer in your head the more power you give it.
What are negative thoughts? Exactly – just thoughts and opinions.
If you start believing those negative thoughts and entertain those inner voices, then you need to stop and write it down. Stop what you are doing and write down those negative thoughts. The purpose of writing these negative thoughts is to slow down your racing mind and evaluate those thoughts clearly.
If you use the words “never”, “worst”, or “ever”, then your statements and process of thinking is invalid. After you’ve written down your negative thoughts and they seem to be actual facts – take the piece of paper and let a friend you trust evaluate your statements.
Have you ever had the feeling like something either always seems to happen or never seems to happen? Well, this is actually your brain’s natural threat mechanism. If you are able to separate your thoughts from the facts then this will help you from the vicious negative cycle and move you to a more positive approach.
Step 5: See a penny picked it up all the day you’ll have good luck
Research from the University of California, Davis, revealed that people who created a gratitude attitude at work daily experienced positive increases in their mood, energy and anxiety.
Taking time to appreciate what we have and forget about what we don’t have is a key to power players.
Building the puzzle
Whenever you are feeling stress and anxious over a negative situation/event, allow yourself to follow these five steps in order to create self-control empowerment.