Serenity 101: Anti-stress solutions for busy execs
Friday, August 16, 2013
Posted by: Barbara Francella
"People who feel more in control at their jobs tend to feel
less stressed out,” according to the National Institutes of Health.
today's workplace, employees are feeling more anxious and stressed. They’re
worried about layoffs, wage freezes and cuts in benefits. If your organization
has experienced reductions in the workforce, employees want to know what will
happen in the future, and they may have "survivor's guilt."
need to know how to manage their own stress while leading their employees, who
may be experiencing stress of their own. Leaders may feel responsible for their
employees and their organization to the detriment of their own health. At the
same time, they must be able to project confidence, so that they don't pass
stress onto everyone else.
are especially vulnerable to stress. Harvard University researchers found that
women in high-stress jobs have a 40-percent greater chance of developing heart
disease -- one of the leading causes of death for women -- than women in lower-stress
are some actions you can take to reduce stress in yourself, your colleagues and
how to use self-talk to keep you focused and stop negative thinking.
Use an outside consultant or internal resources to teach employees to avoid negative
thoughts. You can lower your own stress and create a less stressful environment
for others, but you can't be everyone's stress management consultant. That will
only increase your own stress.
basic stress management exercises like breathing. Breathing
exercises will help you relax during the day and recharge your mental, physical
and emotional energy. If you appear relaxed, it will help your peers and employees.
To "breathe out” your stress, find somewhere quiet to sit or
lay comfortably. Start taking slow
deep breaths to let go of tension. Let your breath go through your body and
allow your body to get heavy and sink into the chair you are resting on. As you
breathe in and out, you’ll feel the stress leave your body. P.S. If you use
this technique at night, you will fall asleep faster and rest better.
out fright. Keep a pad by your bed and when you
find yourself worrying or getting stressed out, write down those thoughts and
visualize them leaving your head. Imagine that your brain is a clear slate
since you have given your worries to the pad.
to other senior leaders. Vent and share best practices for stress
mindful of what causes stress reactions. List the specific things
that cause stress reactions like anxiety and shortness of breath, then list the
things in your life that feel secure and calm. You’ll feel less overwhelmed and
an action plan. Determine which stressors in your life
you can control or change and make an action plan. For example, if you are
worried about expenses, select the ones that are not necessary and eliminate or
reduce them. There may be some stressful situations you can change but which
you are not ready to do so. Set a timetable for taking action to resolve them.
go of things you can’t control. Identify which stressors you can’t
control and let go of them. Write the words "let go” next to those items on your
list so that you can begin to think differently about them. Worrying about or
trying to control the uncontrollable takes up time and energy that you can use
to control the things you can. Letting go is a process. Learn it.
After working with executives for more than 20 years, I know
executive stress is real. While being a stressed-out is not a reflection of your
leadership abilities, not doing anything about stress can negatively affect your
focus, productivity and profit. Who can afford that?
internationally known as "The Inclusionist” is a diversity and inclusion
and culture change consultant, speaker and coach.
Views expressed in signed blogs and user comments are those of the authors and
do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Network of Executive Women or
its Officers, Board members and sponsors.
on boards — putting money where
our mouths are"
and more Changing Your Organization blogs