Inbox zero is the dream.
But for most of us, there’s a big, red, double-digit (sometimes triple digit!) number hovering over the email icon on our smartphones. And when you come back from vacation, or even a long day of meetings, to find your inbox overflowing with requests, demands, questions, and project assignments, it’s enough to cause a minor mental breakdown.
It seems that extreme stress is the norm these days, especially when it comes to work and business. But Heather Nichols, the Joy Of Business facilitator, doesn’t believe that our work life has to be so tumultuous and anxiety-ridden. Here, she shares with us her favorite ways to deal with overwhelm and stress.
What are the main, most crippling causes of stress or overwhelm?
Stress and overwhelm can show up in all areas of our lives. What makes stress particularly crippling is not what occurs—but how we handle it.
Often in stressful situations, it is our fear of what might happen in the future that causes more overwhelm than what is happening in the moment. Getting out of fear and worry about the future, and getting out of judgment that what is occurring in our lives is a ‘bad’ thing, can create a lot more space for handling what is in front of us with relative ease.
Stress is often viewed as social currency—”I’m stressed, so I’m important.” Why is that a lie?
Stress is the norm in our world these days. If you are not overworked, over-booked, and over-committed, you are not doing enough. Value is determined from what, and how much, you do—rather that who you are. What if kindness, generosity, and contribution could be even more valuable than how much you tick off of your to-do list? Are you willing to value you for who you are and not for what you do?
Is stress ever a good thing?
The degree to which any situation can create stress in our worlds is truly dependent on what we choose to do with it. If you didn’t spin out into the future with all of your thoughts and worries about what is going to happen when stressful situations arise, you just might find that so much of it truly depends on the point of view you are looking from.
Stress can be an opportunity to be present, to be with what is, and to not let our minds hijack our lives and our health! What if you could use stressful situations to become even more present in your life, and to determine what truly works for you?
Here are three tools to handle any stressful situation:
1) If you start to go into worry about the future, say to yourself: “Interesting point of view, I have this point of view!” ten times. This powerful little phrase is a mind hack, and can help you to realize that you are not, in fact, in trouble. It can also give you more space with your thoughts so you have more awareness of how to effectively handle what is in front of you.
2) Are you ok in this moment? This is a great way to stay present and to realize that, 99% of the time, we are actually ok right now, and can handle what is in front of us!
3) Ask, “How does it get even better than this?” This is a great question that stimulates possibility. You can ask this question all day long and you may find your life becoming more phenomenal than you ever imagined! It works when things are stressful, and it also works when things are going great!