Stress is, without a doubt, one of the biggest influences on business owners and employees alike. We’ve all experienced stress at one point or another, but the statistics on how stress affects people in the workforce is startling.
According to a Gallup poll, 80% of people working in the United States are affected by stress. A total of 60% said that stress caused difficulties in their work and personal life. The lesson here is clear: Stress is tearing apart our well-being and making life more difficult and confusing.
We decided to take a look at some interesting ways to eliminate stress from your day-to-day life so you can get a handle on what’s important. These methods are all backed by scientific evidence or studies. If you’re tired of leaving work every day feeling like the weight of the world is on your shoulders, these tips are designed to help turn things around once and for all.
1. Prioritize using Covey’s time management matrix.
Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower developed a matrix that helps people reduce stress in their life and focus on more important matters. The process was refined by Stephen Covey in his 1989 best-selling book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
The matrix involves you separating any task into one of four quadrants. You need to decide if things are …
Important and urgent (house fire, business meeting, company website down)
Important and not urgent (exercise, eating healthy, planning business projections for next year)
Not important but urgent (phone ringing, emails)
Not important nor urgent (crossword puzzles, social media)
Every single thing you do fits into one of these four groups. The idea is you’ll be able to prioritize what you need to accomplish today, this week or even this quarter, and that will reduce the stress in your life. You’ll feel much better knowing that the important and urgent things are taken care of, reducing your stress levels.
2. Develop an exercise routine.
Many of us are already exercising when we can. But as it turns out, exercising more can reduce your overall stress. It seems counterproductive at first, but physically stressing your body reduces mental stress.
Scientific research discovered that when you exercise, you reduce the stress hormones flourishing inside your body. The study went on to reveal that when you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which promote a positive outlook and general sense of well-being.
It turns out that some exercises may be better at reducing stress than others. If you like to jog, you’re in good shape. Even walking has proven effective because you’re using large muscles, which promotes a rapid release of stress hormones and a boost of feel-good endorphins.
3. Say no to procrastination.
Procrastinating is a strange concept when you say it out loud. Basically, procrastination is when we avoid doing the things that we know we have to finish soon. As a result, we end up scrambling to catch up, and the quality of our work and mental health falters. We get so caught up and stressed that we forget to eat, exercise, sleep and enjoy life. The end result? More stress.
If you have tasks that you need to get done soon, make a plan with deadlines and goals you can meet, and push through it. You’ll feel much better because you made progress toward your goals, and the overbearing feeling that you’re slacking will subside, reducing your stress.
4. Stay in the moment.
One of the biggest problems employees and business owners face is that they are constantly focusing on the future as opposed to the present. When you spend most of your time thinking about what could happen, you often neglect what’s going on right in front of you.
Staying in the moment is challenging, because you have to constantly remind yourself that you need to focus on the now, not next month, next quarter or next year. You make progress when you focus on small wins and stay in the moment. A ton of small wins almost always lands you one big win.
There are multiple ways you can practice being mindful of the present. There are plenty of deep breathing exercises, including diaphragmatic breathing. This is the process of controlling your breathing in real time, which helps ground you in reality and get more done with less stress.