Successful people can end up dealing with a lot of pressure, especially entrepreneurs.
It can get really difficult, psychologically, to handle it in ways that are healthy and constructive.
It's easy to get so overwhelmed that your mind starts to kind of shut down, making it difficult to think straight and make cogent decisions.
In a recent article from Entrepreneur, you can learn the three most important ways that the world's most successful people keep themselves calm, cool, and collected in high pressure situations.
While I’ve run across numerous effective strategies that smart people employ when faced with stress, what follows are ten of the best.
Some of these strategies may seem obvious, but the real challenge lies in recognizing when you need to use them and having the wherewithal to actually do so in spite of your stress.
1. They appreciate what they have
Taking time to contemplate what you’re grateful for isn’t merely the “right” thing to do. It also improves your mood, because it reduces the stress hormone cortisol by 23 percent.
Research conducted at the University of California, Davis found that people who worked daily to cultivate an attitude of gratitude experienced improved mood, energy and physical well-being. It’s likely that lower levels of cortisol played a major role in this.
2. They squash negative self-talk
A big step in managing stress involves stopping negative self-talk in its tracks.
The more you ruminate on negative thoughts, the more power you give them. Most of our negative thoughts are just that — thoughts, not facts.
When you find yourself believing the negative and pessimistic things your inner voice says, it's time to stop and write them down.
Literally stop what you're doing and write down what you're thinking.
Once you've taken a moment to slow down the negative momentum of your thoughts, you will be more rational and clear-headed in evaluating their veracity.
You can bet that your statements aren’t true any time you use words like “never,” “worst,” “ever,” etc.
If your statements still look like facts once they’re on paper, take them to a friend or colleague you trust and see if he or she agrees with you. Then the truth will surely come out.
When it feels like something always or never happens, this is just your brain’s natural threat tendency inflating the perceived frequency or severity of an event.
Identifying and labeling your thoughts as thoughts by separating them from the facts will help you escape the cycle of negativity and move toward a positive new outlook.
3. They reframe their perspective
Stress and worry are fueled by our own skewed perception of events.
It’s easy to think that unrealistic deadlines, unforgiving bosses and out-of-control traffic are the reasons we’re so stressed all the time.
You can’t control your circumstances, but you can control how you respond to them. So before you spend too much time dwelling on something, take a minute to put the situation in perspective.
If you aren’t sure when you need to do this, try looking for clues that your anxiety may not be proportional to the stressor.
If you’re thinking in broad, sweeping statements such as “Everything is going wrong” or “Nothing will work out,” then you need to reframe the situation.
A great way to correct this unproductive thought pattern is to list the specific things that actually are going wrong or not working out. Most likely you will come up with just some things — not everything — and the scope of these stressors will look much more limited than it initially appeared.
You can learn more about stress management strategies over at Entrepreneur.
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