A good leader is expected to always remain in control of his emotions.
But like it or not, things don’t always go according to plan, and leaders, even good ones, are prone to emotional outbursts. And if stress is not recognized and corrected early, it usually snowballs into bigger problems.
So, it is imperative that a leader remains calm at all times. As you may have experienced, situations only tend to get worse when approached with stress.
10 ways to reduce stress in your life
1) Tidy up your workspace/room.
A cluttered room or workspace is a great way to build up stress. I have noticed that removing all unnecessary items from my desk (all I have on my desk is my laptop and a glass of water), making my bed every morning, etc. keeps my mind really calm.
“The objective of cleaning is not just to clean, but to feel happiness living in that environment.” -Marie Kondo
2) Tidy up your inbox/computer/desktop.
Since we spend a lot of time on our computers and smart phones, keeping them clutter-free is as important as keeping our physical workspace clean. For example, until recently, I had close to 7,000 unread e-mails in my inbox. So I sat down for three hours and cleaned up the entire thing. Once I was done, I felt incredibly relaxed and peaceful. So make sure you don’t let things get out of hand in the virtual world.
“One way to organize your thoughts is to tidy up, even if it’s in places where it makes no sense at all.” -Ursus Wehrli
3) Speak your mind.
One of the sources of stress in my life was my roommate. He used to go to bed late and would always play video games loudly late at night when I was asleep. So, the second or third time I was disturbed, I got up from bed and talked to him about this. This helped a lot as I let go of the anger in me and also because the noise stopped. So, if something needs to be said, say it.
“Stand before the people you fear and speak your mind, even if your voice shakes.” -Maggie Kuhn
4) Pinpoint the source of your stress.
Stress is not always general. Sometimes, specific events or people can stress you out. For example, a job interview scheduled for tomorrow may be causing you stress today. In my experience, the best way to deal with such situations is to do everything you can to address it and leave the rest to god/fate/luck.
5) Give up control.
Trying to control situations too much can cause stress. Don’t misunderstand me, leaders should always be in control of a situation but shouldn’t expect to be in control of its outcome. A good leader adapts to whatever turn a situation takes and is always ready for anything. Using the interview example from above, I do my best to prepare for it and then relax. Because I know that there will always be unexpected events no matter how well I prepare.
6) Take a break.
If you’ve been working hard on something, taking a short break to get away from it all is always a good idea. Taking a walk, playing with an animal or a baby, watching television, listening to calming music, taking a nap and exercising are all great ways to de-stress. Find out what helps you relax.
7) Revise your goals.
Setting goals is good only if they’re reasonable and realistic. I have personally moved away completely from setting goals at all. If you feel you still need goals to guide you in your journey, then make sure you don’t get stuck chasing them as this can cause a lot of stress.
Owning a lot of things, living all alone in a mansion or anything in excess causes stress in the long run. Learn to live with less and focus on owning fewer items, but high quality items.
“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” -Hans Hofmann
9) Practice meditation.
Meditation is probably one of the best ways to get rid of stress. I personally like to do yoga and meditation first thing in the morning as it helps me stay calm for the rest of the day.
10) Exercise regularly.
Regular exercise promotes better blood flow to the brain. This helps it to not only function better but is also a great way to relax and get away from things.
There are many unhealthy ways of releasing stress. These include kicking things, swearing, drinking alcohol, doing drugs, etc. These are all Band-Aid solutions and don’t relieve stress in the long run. By doing these, you are being in denial and not addressing the problem at its heart.
So what are you waiting for? Find out what’s stressing you out and take charge of it!