STRESSED TO THE MAX?
The Best of Times|June 2021
Experts and Regular Folks Weigh in with Tips for Reducing Stress

2020 was a stressful year and the first few months of 2021 haven’t been much better. In hopes of lightening your (stressful) load, we polled a diverse group of leaders to share their tips for dealing with stress. Here’s what they said:

DR. JOHN CHUBACK

Cardiovascular surgeon, personal development & success training expert, and author of The Straight A Handbook: The 50 Most Powerful Secrets For Ultimate Success In And Out Of The Classroom

1. Control your mind. As a cardiovascular surgeon, I have performed countless, highly technical, high-risk surgical procedures. Such operations would be intensely stress-provoking for any individual who had not spent many years training for such experiences. However, in the same operating room, an observer - a medical student for example - feels no stress during cardiac surgery because they bear no responsibility. So we see that stress as an actual entity doesn’t really exist. Stress is only experienced in the mind of the individual. It’s a perception of a situation; it’s not the situation itself. Once one masters one’s mind, stress begins to gradually dissipate and be replaced with self-confidence, self-control, and tranquility. It is essential that we understand the workings of our mind in order to take control of how we will respond to the challenging situations life has to offer. This is perhaps the most empowering skill one can develop.

SCOTT SCHRODER college student and co-author of 101 Ways to Rock Running for Office

1. Tune in when you tune out. Make sure your free time isn’t causing you additional stress. A family friend of ours put it well: The root of “vacation” is ‘vacate.’ If you’re coming to work Monday worn out, try spending your weekends differently.

2. Plan some fun. Create something small to look forward to every few days. I have always found the “light at the end of the tunnel” to help me manage my stress, whether it was a night out with friends, a movie, a ballgame, or a meal.

MELANIE GIBSON

Black belt in taekwondo and author of Kicking and Screaming: A Memoir of Madness and Martial Arts

1. Look for the root cause. When you are feeling stressed, pause to figure out why. Sitting with the discomfort of anxiety can feel uncomfortable, but you are building the skill of finding the root cause of your distress and taking action to address it. Journaling is a great way to build self-awareness of your emotions. You’ll see patterns, triggers, habits, and choices that you didn’t notice before.

2. Redirect. Distractions can be the best medicine for stress. A distraction pulls our attention away from the cause of our stress and can help give us a different perspective or lighten our mood. Take a walk, listen to music, watch a funny video, work on a puzzle, do a sport—do anything to take your mind off the cause of your stress, even if it’s just for a few minutes. This gives you a chance to relax, regroup, and refocus.

DAYNA STEELE

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