Friday, August 05, 2011

RAVE: Stress: It doesn't exist

Now who on earth would ever rave about stress? Me, that’s who.

Like any other entrepreneur you can never leave the office behind -- you can’t go on vacation and not think of a client, an employee or the future of the firm. Your head can bust wide open if you try and solve the little gnarly problems of the day at 3 a.m. I’ve tried it, nothing gets resolved and you’re meaner than a snake the next day. Thank goodness for Advil NightTime.

The albatross of work will always be there, and stress is the grip. It’s how we handle the day to day roadblocks, curves and twists of daily work or home life, that will either create an atmosphere of anxiety or bliss.

An acquaintance of mine, Gina Mollicone Long, who has written a great self help book and is a wonderful motivational speaker, asked me once to pick up stress and hand it to her. I told her I couldn’t do that, it was impossible to hold. And she replied “you can’t hold stress, because it doesn’t exist.” Stress only occurs when reacting to a situation.

Best thing I ever heard. (that and “your table is ready ..”)

But we are faced with stressful situations each and every day. Ruthless demanding clients, cranky journalists on deadlines, traffic jams, leaving the red sock in your load of whites ... you get the picture.

Gina tells me that the easiest and most beneficial way to react to stress is to breathe. Deep gut breathing for at least a few minutes. Six counts breathing in – six counts out. We are by nature shallow breathers (people who do yoga, know this better than anyone) and by simply getting oxygen to our brain creates a better balance in our system, release tension and ability to think more clearly. There are countless articles on breathing techniques on the internet, but I found the 6 count in and out method works perfectly. Try it next time you are in a stressful situation. Don’t react. Close your eyes breathe deep in and out. You’ll be surprised at the emotional stability that sets in and the clarity of thought by which to handle the situation.

By the way, closing your eyes and breathing doesn’t work when you get cut off on the 401!

Stress. Bring it on.

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