Did you ever attempt to get to work early and everything goes wrong: car won’t start, you can’t get in touch with the mechanic, your furnace isn’t working properly, etc. The clock continually ticks … time is running out … you begin to panic. Sound familiar? Each of us has experienced those things at one time or another.
So, what is stress and how do we manage it?
Stress is any physical, chemical, or emotional reaction to the ever increasing demands of life that cause bodily or mental unrest. Managing your stress level will increase your ability to cope with life’s challenges.
Mindfulness starts at the beginning of your day. You will never be able to remain calm in stressful situations if you don’t know how to quiet your mind. The objective is not only to quiet the mind, but to clear it. Rid yourself of internal chatter. Think of it in the physical exercise realm. When we exercise we strengthen muscles and tone our bodies. Well, meditation works the same way, only we’re strengthening the mind. Being calm and strong in your mind will produce productivity and better decision making, and it will allow you to turn negative situations into positive ones. Once you learn how to meditate, schedule ten minutes a day to practice it. Meditation is a positive interruption, and trust me—you will be more productive. If you are unable to declutter your mind, time and stress management issues will increase over time.
Some examples of ways to meditate:
- Listen to inspirational music. Generally listen and focus anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes.
- Listen to guided meditation, which is inspirational music combined with words
- Lie or sit in total silence. This is more difficult. You need to be good at meditation to do it in silence. Many people have difficulty training their mind. Once you are good at meditation 5 to 10 minutes is sufficient.
A key tool to accompany meditation is to get a positive attitude right from the start. We are energy so it is important to get yourself in a positive energy flow. What better way than an attitude of gratitude. Your attitude controls what happens to you, and vibrations (negative or positive) dictate what you will attract. You should self-reflect and then verbalize every morning what you are grateful for. Your positive energy will begin to flow.
The next step is positive affirmations and autosuggestion. This will bypass many negative thoughts and accelerate positive change. Examples of positive affirmations are:
- “I am smart” – “I am successful” – “I will accomplish …”
You want to say it as if it has already happened. That you truly believe the positives about yourself. It creates internal motivation.
Creative imagination, autosuggestion, and all self-administered stimuli that reach one’s mind through the five senses is the agency of communication between that part of the mind where conscious thought takes place and that which serves as the seat of action for the subconscious mind. No thought can enter the subconscious mind without the aid of the principle of autosuggestion. In other words, whatever you accept to be true goes into the subconscious mind and that is what produces your results. Creative imagination is the “receiving set of the brain.” Using your senses with creative imagination helps a thought or goal to become a reality.
Some techniques require you to use both visual imagery and body awareness. For instance, when you are striving to reduce stress, you would use an autogenic relaxation technique in which you repeat words or suggestions in your mind to relax and reduce muscle tension. Nature has built man so that he has absolute control over the information that reaches his subconscious mind through his five senses. Then there are visualization techniques in which you form mental images to take a visual journey to a peaceful, calming place or situation. If you use a progressive muscle relaxation exercise you would focus on slowly tensing and then relaxing each muscle group.
Visualization is one of the greatest secrets of success. It must be applied in an orderly manner so you can eliminate confusion. Confusion places you in a state of mental acceleration, which ultimately causes fear. Visualization works best once you are fully relaxed.
There are multiple relaxation techniques:
- Relaxation therapy
- Massage therapy
- Tai Chi
- Zero gravity
Fear isn’t real. It is something you create in your mind. Indecision is the seedling of fear; indecision crystallizes into doubt; and the two blended together become fear—fear being the most crippling. Fears cause people to be negative.
Once you learn how to redirect and eliminate negativity to positive you can begin to implement structure in your corporate environment. Making positive changes at work is the easy part. You won’t be able to maintain that positivity unless you have calmness of mind.