Mind Your Head: A Guide to Stress-Busting and Wellbeing in This Hectic World
April marks the month of Stress Awareness reminding us all to take some time for ourselves. In this chaotic world, it is easy to let things become overwhelming and we forget to set aside time to look after our minds.
Cartridge People published a study that reveals some shocking statistics when it comes to stress in the workplace. It was reported that ‘over 15 million days are lost every year due to employees suffering from work-related stress’. In addition to this, ‘over 500,000 people in the UK feel ill as a result of their level of work-related stress’. These statistics show it is still a significant problem that we need to continue to tackle head on.
In light of Stress Awareness Month, we caught up with some of our experts on the topic of stress to get their insights into acknowledging, controlling and combatting stress, as well as some helpful stress-busting tips.
Combatting the issues from psychological and mental angles, Pete Cohen, Cally Beaton and Simon Cohen will be able to offer you something to find your own state of calm and wellbeing in the workplace and beyond.
Combat Stress From A Position of Strength
Pete Cohen, motivational speaker and life coach, comments that “one of the worst things people can do when they are starting to feel stressed is to tell themselves that they are getting stressed. This comes from the study of psychoneuroimmunology, which is the interaction between your immune system and your brain. So, if you are telling yourself you are stressed, your body will be affected by what you think. As the mind and body are so intrinsically linked, you can combat stress from a position of strength by saying ‘I am aware there is stress there’ rather than saying ‘I am it’.”
Control The Controllables
Cally Beaton, Viacom International Senior Vice-President and comedian advises that we need to control the controllables! “Most stress is caused by things you can't control, or may never happen, or often both. Know what's within your control - your response to the other person or situation is all you can be sure you have the power to change.”
Adopt A Curious Attitude
Cally goes on to ask us to “adopt a curious, rather than judgemental attitude. Running the phrase 'isn't that interesting' through your mind will help you to stay objective and calm, as well as make you genuinely interested in and open to other perspectives.”
Admit That Your Stressed
It is so easy for us all to forget everyone around us and just react when we are stressed. Noticing this in yourself is a truly valuable first step to stress-busting, as Simon Cohen, entrepreneur and thought leader, remarks from personal experience. He says “first, look up the common symptoms of stress. If it feels like you’re reading an autobiography, admit that you are actually stressed. Hardest step: complete. I failed to do this. Two months in bed later, I listened".
Simon’s practical tips include remembering the importance of breathing. Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Where are you experiencing stress? Pinpoint the places in your body. Is it a tightness in your chest? A throbbing pain in your spine? What thoughts and feelings are you noticing? Describe them.
Now stress is no longer a vague, overwhelming mishmash of stuff. It is specific: you are experiencing it in distinctive ways in specific parts of your body and mind. You are no longer stressing about what’s just happened, or what could happen. You are in the now, like a mindfulness master. Only at this point, is it helpful to ask why and what next?
These practical tips are echoed by Pete as he says “we live in a world where it is so easy to get stressed and think tiny things are priorities, but what we all forget to remember is that the single most important thing is breathing.”
Pete continues “breathing is a hard skill to master, as we need to not just do this once, but practice this skill a number of times. If people performed breathing exercises, not just when they are stressed, but all the time, then they would be in a much stronger position to combat stress when comes up.”
In a busy world, most of us are guilty of neglecting to find the time for mindfulness but working on these stressbusters will help us all kick the stress and find some calm. We need to acknowledge the symptoms, be aware of the surroundings, control what you can and, in terms of practical lessons, practice taking a step back and breathing. Importantly, don’t underestimate the value taking a simple breath can bring.
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