Journalist Diana R. asked: "I'm looking to speak with small-business owners who have unique stress busting techniques -- beyond the standard glass of red wine or practising yoga."
Here's my take on her question:
There is no "silver bullet" elixir. Stress management is a process, not a quick fix and to understand how it works, one must first analyze and understand its nature. There are essentially two ways to handle stress: 1) confront it (active venting): i.e. give it an outlet, a form of expression - usually physical (sports, sex, dancing, etc.), but also music, art and other expressive activities or 2) escape it (passive dispersal): i.e. divert your attention, thereby deflecting stress and starting the healing process without taking further damage. Let it dissipate by engaging in activities that take your mind off the stress source (attention-demanding games such as chess, video games, books, movies, new hobbies - e.g. learning a new language are great ways to diffuse stress). Drug-unassisted sleep is also right up there, among the top avenues of escape.
Unfortunately, there are wrong forms of both solutions e.g. road rage and conflict or drug use and "drinking to forget"; as well as the false security rendered by the placebo of trying to delegate/outsource the management of one's stress to a psychologist or, worse still, a "life-coach". This is precisely why managing one's psyche is much like watching one's weight - one needs a steady, healthy "diet" or mix of varying activities to keep the mind balanced. The first step in managing stress is, of course, admitting that it exists and will continue mount up if not properly handled. Without realizing this step any and all therapy is useless. The second step is to mitigate its impact by bleeding it off through activities as given above (combined with proper rest and diet) and the third step is to curb the source's emissions. All of these must be undertaken consciously, with iron discipline and determination. Empirically we find that this is far ‘easier written than done’ (for example when one's roof and household hangs in the balance), however, we must ground our emotions and remember that just like youth, money can't buy health and living with stress is like taking up residence next to a nuclear waste dump because the land is cheap; it is in one word: stupid. Stress will inevitably gnaw through one’s nerves resulting in tumours and heart disease and no amount of business success is worth that, so become a "StressWatcher" and choose life over money every time!
Labels: business management, combating stress, handle stress, reducing stress, self-control, self-development, stress management