How NOT To Deal With Stress

We’ve all gone through it some time or the other in our lives – Stress. It creeps up on us everywhere from work to home and in some odd cases, even in our sleep. Stress can also manifest itself in different ways depending on the person – while some may experience headaches; others may suffer more extreme symptoms like panic attacks, shortness of breath, etc. And the solution to all these stress related symptoms are as numerous as the sources of stress themselves. There are numerous tips, home remedies and self help books that address stress management .   In this article however, we are going to look at some things that one must NOT do to deal with stress:

Stress Management Training   is a core program  in our soft skills training and corporate training that is gaining new found respect amongst corporations as they understand the cost of playing at high stakes in a competitive industry and the need to equip their employees with the nerves to handle it.

  •  Smoking – This is quite self-explanatory and hardly needs expounding upon. Smoking is bad for one’s health even if they have zero stress in their lives. Smoking is unhealthy, period!
  •  Pills or Drugs – While there are legitimate medications that one can take to relieve themselves of a head ache or so, frequent use of such medications cause the body to adjust chemical levels within itself to make it dependent on the medication while simultaneously lowering the body’s own immune system.
  • Alcohol – While some alcohol in moderation might help to calm the nerves and steady oneself, ‘drowning’ oneself in it to block out the stress is dangerous to the liver. Besides it seems counter-intuitive to cause the body physical stress in order to deal with mental stress.  ‘Managing Stress Can Improve Company Performance’  is an article on effective stress management techniques.
  •  Withdrawing from people – Sometimes stress causes us to go into a shell. Occasionally some personal space and time might be helpful. But talking to someone also helps in coping with stress better. Otherwise internalizing our stress with no external vent or outlet is not healthy for us.
  • Excessive media – Some people immerse themselves into exorbitant hours of TV or video gaming in order to be able to deal with all the stress. These media devices actually cause more stimulation to the brain preventing it from slowing down and allowing oneself to process and reflect over the stress.

For more interesting articles/blogs on stress management, please follow these links:

Can Tough Feedback make you Tougher  

Stress – A Leadership Non-Essential  

 

Stress – A leadership non-essential

Why is Stress Management Training a key part of our corporate training?

The morning of June 12th 2010 started off uneventfully. I had not seen my dad for over a month and I waited in anticipation as I wanted to share some really exciting things with him. The day was not going fast enough for me. Suddenly the quiet was interrupted by the harsh ring of the telephone. For some uncanny reason the feeling of anticipation turned to fear. It was a call from one my relatives saying that he had just then seen the news of a bomb explosion on a railway track near Villupuram. In a flash I realized that my Dad was traveling to Chennai on that route. Time stood still…. Instinctively I called my father on his cell but call would not go through. The feeling fear elevated to one of horror. Stress overtook me and I found I was quickly incapable of all rational thinking. We just sat frozen as near the phone as possible.

About an hour later we got the much longed for news – dad was safe. Oblivious of all the confusion and tension that prevailed at home, my dad informed us that his train was right behind the one that bore the explosion. It was close call. I had always admired my dad for his amazing capability to stay calm in crisis. He did just that once again! He got down from the train, walked a kilometer to the nearest highway and boarded a bus to Chennai. He was not perturbed by the explosion rather he was grateful for his safety. I was reminded of this quote:

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.”-Corrie Ten Boom

I realized that there was so much I could have done – go to Villupuram (which is only 2 hours away), call the railway help line, send a text message to my dad’s phone….. and many other things that could have saved his life, if there was danger. This could have relieved us of a lot of heartache and tension. I think the moral of the story is that it is not the challenge that causes us the problem but the anxiety and stress generated in our mind.

No matter how tough the situation is, staying calm in a crisis is a key leadership quality in todays global work environment. A President/Prime Minsiter of a country is called upon primarily in times of crisis; a manager should be able to calm a disturbance and a leader should bring peace when there is restlessness.

Here are some of our blogs on soft skills training:

  1. 3 Invaluable Soft Skills For The Workplace
  2. How NOT To Deal With Stress
  3. 3 Steps to Efficient Negotiation

Leadership is About Effective Handling of Change

Continuity gives us roots; change gives us branches, letting us stretch and grow and reach new heights. ~Pauline R. Kezer

Change is an inevitable part of life. But it is not easy to either change or to deal with change. There are two important factors for effective change: First, our perception of the situation and second, our attitude to embrace rather than resist the change. In short, change should first happen inside each one of us.

Let me narrate an interesting story…

It was Pete Gray’s dream to play baseball in the Yankee Stadium one day. At the age of twelve he was an excellent right-handed pony baseball player and represented his school in the game. And then one fateful day his dreams came crashing down…….

While doing chores on the family’s Pennsylvania farm, Pete slipped and fell off his father’s pickup truck. This completely crushed his right arm without which it was virtually impossible to play baseball. Anyone else would have given up their dreams but not young Pete!

The Adidas ad says, “Impossible is Nothing” – a slogan that Pete entirely embraced. He taught himself to bat, bowl and field with his left hand. His speed, strong throwing arm, and excellent athletic ability allowed Pete to perform this miracle quickly enough to be a solid, dependable outfielder.

Against all odds, by the 1944 season, the one-armed outfielder had a batting score of 333, stole 63 bases, and won the League’s Most Valuable Player award. Baseball fans were astounded!!!

One year later, in 1945, the one-armed outfielder, Pete, achieved his boyhood dream when his team, the Browns, played against the Yankees. The Browns defeated the Yankees, and Pete played a major role in his team’s victory.

As Robert E. Quinn rightly said, “One key to successful leadership is continuous personal change. Personal change is a reflection of our inner growth and empowerment.”

Perhaps that is why Gandhiji said, “Be the change you want to see.”

Success Is Failure Turned Inside Out

Winston Churchill was to have quoted,

“Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm”

This attitude is an important characteristic to possess if we aim at success in all that we do.

At the workplace it may sometimes seem impossible to keep your chin up through all the stress, pressure and the effort to balance life and work. It is an accepted fact that on some days at work, you may not be able to be as productive as you would like to be. The causes can be many. But the point here is that you should not be put off by failure. When the clouds of doubt cloud your vision, do not succumb to it. Instead keep endeavouring.

Always learn to derive enjoyment while on your path towards success, since it is equally important to make the journey an enriching one. After all, life is a culmination of experiences from which we teach the next generation on how they may live their life in a balanced manner.

Always be motivated to think and act positively. After a while you will find that being positive and motivated comes naturally. During our Soft Skills Training sessions in Motivational Training, participants learn to deal with setbacks and strive forward with a positive mental attitude.

This then is the very essence of success – the more we keep persisting despite setbacks and failures, the more chances we have at succeeding. Remember what Thomas Alva Edison said,

“I haven’t failed, I’ve found 10,000 ways that don’t work”

When The Going Gets Tough…

Stress has been known to cause serious impediments in our body and mind. The only way to resolve it is through self awareness. It helps to know your natural reactions to stress. This will help you be better prepared in the face of a crisis.

Stress Management techniques teach participants to channel negative stressful energy into a more positive tone. Through my years of experience as a Soft Skills Trainer and Executive Coach, I have seen that the audience imbibes what is taught with regards to stress in a brilliant manner. This goes on to show how important it is to expose ideas such as stress management tips to employees in the organization.

Many times, the under-current of despair and hopelessness get ignored during the monotonous struggle of daily organizational tasks. The management needs to bring this to light, recognize it and be proactive so that the culture of the organization is not affected.

Due the above substantiation, we have made Stress Management Training an important element of our Soft Skills Training program. We aim at providing the participant with long-term and easy-to-use methods that would help them not only in their profession, but in their personal life as well. We firmly believe that a happy employee means a happy organization. And happy organizations definitely means a happier world to live in.

As an ending note, I would like to bring to light the instance of the carrot and the egg. When both a raw carrot and an uncooked egg are dropped into a pot of boiling water, what happens after a while?
The raw carrot which was initially hard now becomes soft, and the egg which was soft within, now becomes hard.

Now ask yourself, under stress, which is equated here through the pot of boiling water, what are you like – the carrot or the egg?

‘The Night is Darkest Before Dawn’

The Obamas’ struggle to achieve victory

A new book called Renegade recounts US President Barrack Obama’s unlikely run for the presidency. An article relating to this book in the Times of India newspaper (dated June 8, 2009) recounts a particularly tense period in the personal lives of the Obamas during the year 2000.

The Obamas’ marriage was supposedly on the brink of collapse because of Barrack’s political aspirations and First Lady Michelle’s experience as a first time mother.

This particular episode is long past. They are now known today, as the most romantic First Couple of America. Which now brings me to my question – is it necessary to dig up the past and exhibit information that has no relevance to the present? Is journalism about reporting relevant facts or has it become about providing shock value to the reader?

In my opinion, I think we should focus on the fact that amidst all the pressures in their life; they were able to rebuild their marriage. In life we all fall down, but the ones who succeed are the ones who pick themselves up, dust themselves off and keep moving without looking back. This shows that Obama is tenacious and is capable of leading a broken down country – it shows that he is a man who achieves his missions. This is what the learnings need to be for the reader.

Let’s not get tangled by the volume of information that hits us day after day. Let us approach daily news not from the perspective of the journalist, who wants as many newspapers to sell, but as a reader who wants to learn from the lives of people; who have reached unimaginable levels in their lives through sheer persistence, focus and vision. This will help us to reach not only those levels but beyond those levels.