Get this under control
by Kevin D. Crone
Everyone has stresses. It can be manifested in headaches, grumpiness, pains, loss of sleep, relationships gone bad, and even heart attacks. Chronic stressors like unhappy marriages, business or relationship problems can lead to chronic inflammation which leads to depression, high blood pressure, hardening of the arteries and can trigger stroke. Stress can literally clog us to death. Too much stress can hold us back from being who we want to be. Being a producer in the marketplace earns you success. Unmanaged stress can severely undermine your productivity. Many normal, macho men would never even admit to it. That is when it is the most dangerous. Stress can be a subtle, slippery destroyer of your life.
Dale Carnegie himself began researching this problem back in the forties and wrote a classic book about it that coaches people to get it under control. (Everyone should read, “How To Stop Worrying and Start Living”) Business people have practiced its principles all over the world through our training to build the confidence and habits that are required to live a more productive life.
Since I was 21 years old, I’ve listened to thousands of reports on how people have changed their lives once they discovered they can reduce the impact of stress and worry. Here is a practical list of what I have heard over all these years. You have a chance at really listening this morning. Information is pretty useless unless it opens you up to action. While we can’t banish daily stress, we can respond to it in healthier ways.
1) Try relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, (very easy to learn.) Breathe through your nose, hold for five to ten seconds and release through your mouth for another five seconds or so. Do this ten times). The point is to relax your muscles and your mind. Yoga has become very popular. Look into it. Even big macho athletes do it. Look into meditation. (Most won’t – sounds hokey but it isn’t)
2) Make a habit of expressing your thoughts and feelings. Stay close to your loved ones or friends. Nothing can be more harmful then worry thoughts. They cause you to go in circles, become indecisive, and create fears that are not real. Talk it out. Reason it out. What are the facts? What is the worst that can happen? What can you do? Act and breathe in, breathe out and move on. If you carry it too long it will destroy you.
3) Dale Carnegie asked, “Would you take millions of dollars for what you have?” In other words, count your blessings everyday . Your kids, grand kids, wife/husband, family, friends, love of God, your experiences, the passion you have for what you do and what you believe in. Practice gratitude and you will find you will have a quieter mind, and an optimistic outlook. “It is not what you eat – it is what’s eating you.” Reverse stress with gratitude.
4) Exercise three to five times a week. Walk, run, workout. It is amazing how your body changes and your mind calms down after exercise. If nothing else, stop watching TV, or looking at your iPad, get up off the couch and walk out the door for a brisk walk. You will be amazed.
5) Cultivate a positive attitude. Fight back the daily grind of disappointments, criticism and rushed ‘gotta do’s’ with thoughts of what’s good, what is possible, and what you can do. Read positive things, hang around positive people, go where you can relax and have fun. Get in the habit of looking at the best side of every event. Don’t give in to life’s nonsense. Fight for your happiness.
6) Stick to a healthy lifestyle/diet. Avoid junk food, increase the intake of Omega 3 fatty acids, eliminate smoking and alcohol excess if these are your stress relievers.
7) Work on your relationship and communication skills. Stop trying to be right all the time. Give up on judgmental listening and critical interpretations of what people are doing. You really don’t know what is in others mind. What is missing in most of life’s problems is communication. Become as effective at it as you can. Ask instead of giving opinions. Listen to understand others commitments and views. Make communication the most important thing you do. You will have less stress.
Many years ago, I interviewed a sales executive in Windsor who was overwhelmed with business and ultimately everything. I enrolled him in a Dale Carnegie Course to help him but it didn’t start for three weeks. He didn’t make it. He had a heart attack. I will never forget his wife’s comment at the funeral home, “If only he had stopped to get his stress and worry under control earlier”. We human ‘doings’ usually don’t stop until something stops us. Let’s not let that happen to us.
Apply some of today’s mentoring and you will have an enjoyable, productive and long life.
Have a great week!
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