We can experience positive stress or negative stress. Yes, we can experience stress in two forms indeed. Negative stress is obviously the one that we want to reduce and keep under control.
In this article, we are going to focus on how we can beat the impact of negative stress on our lives.
Positive Stress versus Negative Stress
When you start a new career or a new business, you can experience positive stress. That is good for you as it motivates you to perform at your peak levels. Athletes experience positive stress when they compete in their various disciplines.
They use the positive stress they experience to improve their performance. That enables them to perform at very high levels of competency.
Negative stress on the other hand obviously has a negative effect on your body.
Negative stress can occur when positive stress is not controlled properly. As an example, you can start a new business. In the beginning, you experience positive stress. But if you become so obsessed with your work that you never allow yourself time to rest, things can go wrong.
It can lead to exhaustion, burn-out or even depression if you don’t take care of yourself.
In short, a certain amount of stress can be good for you, but you need to maintain a healthy balance.
Be More Focused
If you are anything like me, you don’t mind working hard (or even long hours), but if we can only avoid the negative stress that often goes along with it. If only we could find a way to get rid of the pressure and the rushing around to finish everything on time.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t care about ‘being busy’. I want to be productive.
This thought was emphasized in my mind when I recently read a Facebook post by Frank McKinley about not having so many goals.
He said that he decided to have fewer goals to enable himself to be more focused on finishing each goal – one at a time.
Some Personal Reasons Why I Would Love to Beat Negative Stress
- To enjoy better quality sleep.
- Not to be overly concerned with the opinions of other people.
- To reduce activities which are just keeping me busy instead of being productive.
- To have more enjoyable, quality free time with my family without being concerned about work that still needs to get done.
- To experience more inner-peace and calmness on a day-to-day basis.
- To look forward to getting up in the morning and start the day without stressing about how I’m going to get everything done.
5 Things You Can Do To Beat Negative Stress
1. Remove As Much Uncertainty As Possible By Setting-, and Working Towards Achieving SMART Goals:
If you don’t know why you want to achieve any goal, in particular, you have failed even before you have started. Constantly failing at all your goals is a good recipe for negative stress.
We will all fail at times while working towards our goals, and that’s okay. But by knowing your ‘why’ and through proper planning, we can reduce our failures and increase our successes.
That will help us to rather experience positive stress and prevent negative stress.
Achieve Your Goals by Setting SMART Goals
If you want to reduce negative stress by setting goals, you have to set achievable goals.
For a goal to be achievable, it has to be a SMART goal:
- S – Specific: The goal must clearly state what it will achieve.
- M – Measurable: Will you know if or when you achieved your goal?
- A – Achievable: Can this goal actually be achieved?
- R – Relevant: Is this goal relevant in reflecting your values in life?
- T – Time Specific: Do you know when you want to achieve this goal by?
Decide which is the most important goal or goals for you to achieve over the next year. These goals must be broken down into smaller achievable action steps. These action steps should be achievable on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. They can even be considered to be smaller goals such as to develop daily habits or routines to ensure success.
By doing this you can eliminate doubt and confusion as much as possible. You will always be aware of what your next action step should be, thus eliminating the negative stress of delays and uncertainty.
Each action step or smaller goal must bring you closer to the achievement of your main long-term goal.The road to success is always under construction ~ Anonymous Click To Tweet
2. Following Routines and Proper Time Management:
Personally, I love change and I often recommend to people to try something new. Take a new route to work, or start a new hobby just to get some creative thinking going.
I guess the idea of changing routes to daily destinations such as work, is something I’ve learned while I was serving as a police officer. Yet, forming daily habits and rituals definitely have major benefits.
We need to maintain a balance to preserve our energy levels for when we really need it. I believe this can be done by planning ahead.
The main purpose of creating a routine is to free your mind up by not having to think about what you have to do next. It is about saving that energy for when you are facing real obstacles during the day or for being able to think creatively while busy working on projects etc.
Time management is also essential to enable you to know exactly what needs to be done during the course of the day and when it needs to be done.
3. Learn to Say No and Do Less in Order To Become More Productive:
We are currently living in what Greg McKeown calls the “busy-ness bubble”. It’s saying ‘more’ in itself is a value. It’s almost as if it has become embarrassing when you can’t say how busy you are.
Some time ago I watched a video interview between Ron Friedman (Ph.D.) and Greg McKeown. What struck me was when Greg Mckeown mentioned the fact that the word ‘priorities’ only came into use during the last century or so, and how much it actually takes away from the original word ‘priority’.
He went on to explain that we can actually get back to the meaning of the original meaning of the word by doing the following: Determine the 6 most important things to be done for the day, then delete 5 of them. That will leave you with the priority for the day.Do less to get more done. Click To Tweet
4. Take More Breaks:
This point is pretty much related to my previous point about being busy. I often catch myself pushing as hard as I possibly can in an attempt to get more done. Yet the result is just the opposite.
We need to take regular breaks to function at our peak levels. In his article ‘3 Unusual Secrets for Working Smarter, Not Harder’, Dale Partridge states that “statistically the average human brain can focus for 90 minutes and then needs a 15-20 minute break before we reach burn-out”.
Personally, I want to experiment by using a sliding scale from what he (Dale Partridge) describes as his ideal (for normal workload) – working 60-90 minutes and take a 30-minute break, going up to maximum capacity (as workload increases) of working 90 minutes and take a 15-20 minute break.
I believe accountability is a crucial part of ensuring success. Besides being held accountable; sharing goals, targets and projects with someone else also opens the door for support and encouragement from those around you.
Look for a group of like-minded people who share your interests and who would support you in achieving your goals.
On Facebook, you will find quite a variety of groups. Do a quick search to find a group relevant to what you want to do.
If you are a writer, I would like to extend an invitation to you to have a look at the Tribe Builder’s Network on Facebook.
In Summary – Do the Following to Reduce Negative Stress
- Set SMART goals.
- Develop routines and practice time management.
- Learn to say ‘no’ and start doing less to become more productive.
- Take more breaks to remain focused and work smarter.
- Be accountable.
What are you currently doing to reduce negative stress? Do you have any other strategies not mentioned here? Let us know about it.
If you want to reduce negative stress, which of the above strategies do you think will benefit you most?