fbpx
Lifestyle

60-Second Stress Busters For Very Busy Entrepreneurs

Asking an entrepreneur if she feels stress is like asking a fish to tell you if it ever gets wet — it kind of goes with the territory.

However, just because stress is normal doesn’t mean it’s something we want to keep experiencing.

Every entrepreneur has her own reaction to, and definition of, stress. For example, some entrepreneurs break into a cold sweat when they hear the word “spreadsheet” — whereas others never met a pie chart they didn’t like. (Fine, I admit it: I’m raising my hand on that last one.)

Yet, there’s another, more sinister problem with stress. While intermittent doses of stress can lead to inventive leaps or creative solutions, chronic stress — the never-ending, day-in-day-out, migraine-inducing type of stress — can lead to serious health issues, including cardiovascular disease, stroke, depression and heart attacks.

Another issue with stress is that as entrepreneurs, we generally don’t have an hour to sit around and stare at our navels. We’ve got work to do, dammit!

Therefore, here are six 60-second stress busters you can do the next time you feel that freight train of stress coming on — and yes, each of these takes just 60 seconds or less:

1. Create A “Stop Doing” List.

I was speaking at an industry conference with Jim Collins, the author of Good to Great. In his keynote, Collins said that every entrepreneur (and person, for that matter) should create a “stop doing” list to go along with their to-do list.

As entrepreneurs, it’s natural to experience “job creep” — that painful disorder where we tell someone to do something, discover he can’t do it as well as we can, and then say, “Oh, just let me do it.” (You’re nodding your head right now, aren’t you?)

To create a stop doing list, ask yourself three questions:

  1. What activities should I stop doing today?
  2. What activities make me feel happy when I do them?
  3. What can I do today that will move the needle toward my goals?

The truth is, there comes a point where you simply can’t keep adding things to your to-do list, unless you enjoy visits to the ER.

2. Lower The Bar.

Let’s say you wanted to be a world-class high jumper and you came to me because I’m a famous high ump trainer. I tell you to set the bar at 8 feet off the ground because, well, that’s where the world’s best is — and you want to be the best, don’t you?

What are your chances of clearing that bar? Exactly: slim and none.

But, what if, instead, I asked you to step over a bar that’s, say, 2 feet off the ground. Then you gradually worked your way up until you were clearing a bar that’s a reasonable height (say, two-and-a-half feet for guys my age).

My point is that in life and business, we often set the bar too high (“My book’s gotta be a New York Times bestseller! We’ve gotta make 500 percent of our quota!”) While there’s nothing wrong with having lofty goals — in fact, every mission-driven entrepreneur is driven by them — never hitting your goals can be a particularly painful source of chronic stress. Therefore, lower the bar once in a while and give yourself permission to be, oh I don’t know … human.

3. Don’t Believe Everything You Think.

For most of human history, the majority of human beings believed the Earth was flat. (And for you hold-outs out there, please see this.) We also believed things like:

The point is that just because you, or even a majority of people, believe something, doesn’t make it true. You don’t, for example, have to be perfect. You don’t have to make everyone happy. You don’t have to hold onto pain to show how strong you are.

If your beliefs aren’t serving you, the great news is that you can change them. See tip No. 1.

4. Put Your Worries On The Clock.

The next time you feel the stress train about to come into the station, set a timer for 60 seconds (or five minutes, if you’re really exuberant) and worry.

Yes, I said: Sit there and worry.

It’s funny, because when you force yourself to worry, it’s actually quite hard to do. We so often try to push worry aside that sometimes, it keeps trying to get our attention — like a 3-year-old who keeps saying, “Mom Mom Mom Mom Mom Mom Mom Mom Mom …” (Why do you think he does that?)

So, go ahead and give worry your full attention for 60 seconds. You may just find that once you give it attention, it will stop tugging on your pants leg and go on to something else.

5. Smile More.

Yes, it’s corny. But, hey, it works. Numerous scientific studies have shown that the mere act of smiling releases “happy hormones” including dopamine and serotonin.

And in case you’re thinking I’m saying the old “fake it ’til you make it” — well, not exactly. In his 1985 book Telling Lies, Dr. Paul Ekman describes 17 different kinds of smiles, including the fake ones we’ve all done when someone tells us to “Cheer up!” (Don’t you just hate those people?)

So, while you can sort of fake it, better to simply find a reason to actually smile. (See, I told you there was a good entrepreneurial reason to watch cat videos!)

6. Breathe (Properly).

An ancient proverb says: “The secret to long life is to keep breathing as long as possible.” (Hold on, that was a birthday card I got for my brother.)

Anyway, it’s likely that you’re going to breathe at some point during the day. (Thank you, Captain Obvious!) Yet, strange as it sounds, many people aren’t breathing properly. Try this:

  1. Breathe in through your nose for a count of three.
  2. Hold your breath for a count of three.
  3. Exhale through your mouth for a count of three.

Feels better instantly, doesn’t it? Handily, the body has a built-in stress reducer, and it’s called your breath. However, studies have shown that many people practice shallow breathing, which can actually increase stress. Therefore, make it a practice when you feel stress to consciously practice deep breathing, which will instantly make you feel better.

While you’re at it, do these other 60-Second stress busters throughout your day even if you don’t feel stressed — and reap the rewards of lowering your stress in 60 seconds or less.

This story originally appeared in Entrepreneur. Image courtesy of Caiaimage/Rafal Rodzoch/Getty Images.

Join The Discussion

Trump's Plan To End Shutdown Falls Flat
Trump’s Plan To End Shutdown Falls Flat [Video]
World's 26 Richest People Own As Much As Poorest 50%
World’s 26 Richest People Own As Much As Poorest 50%
Thailand Signals Shift In Refugee Policy After Rahaf Mohammed
Thailand Signals Shift In Refugee Policy After Rahaf Mohammed [Video]
Brexit Plans In Chaos After UK Parliament Rejects Proposal
Brexit Plans In Chaos After UK Parliament Rejects Proposal [Video]
How To Buy Bitcoin Anonymously
How To Buy Bitcoin Anonymously
Number Of Bitcoin ATMs Hits 4,000 Globally
Bitcoin ATMs Hits 4,000 Globally-Why Is It Growing So Fast?
Is Bitcoin Building Support Above $3,500
Is Bitcoin Building Support Above $3,500?
Belarus Allows Traders To Buy Shares With Bitcoin
Belarus Allows Traders To Buy Shares With Bitcoin
10 Marketing Trends To Watch In 2019
10 Marketing Trends To Watch In 2019
40+ Video Marketing Statistics For 2019
40+ Video Marketing Statistics For 2019 [Infographic]
Emerging Email Marketing Trends To Survive 2019 And Beyond
Emerging Email Marketing Trends To Survive 2019 And Beyond [Infographic]
Visual Trends To Be Aware Of In 2019
Visual Trends To Be Aware Of In 2019 [Infographic]
The Latest Social Media Automation Rules In 2019
The Latest Social Media Automation Rules In 2019
4 Tips To Help You With The Constant Changes In Social Media
4 Tips To Help You With The Constant Changes In Social Media
Instagram's Testing Side-Scrolling Feed View, Similar To Stories
Instagram’s Testing Side-Scrolling Feed View, Similar To Stories
The 10 Best Instagram Tools For 2019
The 10 Best Instagram Tools For 2019
What Is Your Therapist Listening For
What Is Your Therapist Listening For?
Wish You Were Smarter
Wish You Were Smarter? These 4 Brain Hacks Can Help You Get There
Weightlifting Less Than An Hour Per Week Could Increase Your Longevity
Weightlifting Less Than An Hour Per Week Could Increase Your Longevity
Your Environment May Affect Your Eyes More Than You Realize
Your Environment May Affect Your Eyes More Than You Realize
Trump's Plan To End Shutdown Falls Flat
Trump’s Plan To End Shutdown Falls Flat [Video]
Thailand Signals Shift In Refugee Policy After Rahaf Mohammed
Thailand Signals Shift In Refugee Policy After Rahaf Mohammed [Video]
Brexit Plans In Chaos After UK Parliament Rejects Proposal
Brexit Plans In Chaos After UK Parliament Rejects Proposal [Video]
Coming To Canada 'Worth The Risk,' Says Saudi Teen Refugee
Coming To Canada ‘Worth The Risk,’ Says Saudi Teen Refugee [Video]