Successful People Know How to Manage the Stress in Their Lives

If you want to create the successful life and career that you want and deserve, you need to perform at a high level consistently.  High performance is one of the competencies in my Common Sense Success System.  I discuss it in detail in several of my books: Straight Talk for Success, Star Power, I Want YOU…to Succeed, Your Success GPS and 42 Rules to Jumpstart Your Professional Success

High performers manage their time, life and stress well.  They pay particular attention to their health and well being.  It’s impossible to perform at a consistently high level if you don’t feel healthy and energized.  In this post, I’d like to discuss two issues when it comes to managing your stress and feeling healthy and energized – restoring energy and dealing with headaches.

We all get tired, run down and out of sorts occasionally.  That’s when it’s important to catch your second wind.  Here are my best ideas for getting your second wind.  These ideas work for me, and I think they’ll work for you – but remember, I am a Doctor of Education, not an MD.

Eat a healthy snack – something that is rich in fiber, like an apple, dried apricots, celery or a handful of pistachio nuts.

Take a few minutes and breathe deeply.  Relax and spend a couple minutes taking deep breaths.  Deep breathing always makes me feel calm, gives me more energy and helps me get focused better.

Visualize yourself in a relaxing place.  Close your eyes for a few minutes and imagine yourself in your special, peaceful and restful place.  This type of visualization helps rejuvenate my psyche.  My special place is Washington Park in Denver – not far from my home.  When the weather is nice, I just don’t picture myself there, I ride my bike to the park and sit on a bench for five or ten minutes.

Splash some cold water on your face – or pop a breath mint.  Mint flavors are stimulating.  You might want to begin your day by using some mint shampoo – it will help you wake up and get going.

Focus on what’s good.  At the end of every day take a few minutes to list the good things that happened to you that day.  You’ll be surprised at how many things went well.  Doing a good news inventory will help you relax, and you’ll sleep better.

Most of us get headaches too.  Headaches can be a real productivity robber.  Americans spend over $4 billion a year on over the counter pain relievers – most for headaches.  Here are the five most common causes of headaches and my best tips for preventing headaches before they start.

Stress – Exercise daily.  It helps reduce stress and tension.  Also, if you are so inclined meditate, daydream or just relax.  I have difficulty doing nothing, but I find that if I take the time to relax, I deal with the stress in my life better.

Eyestrain – When I’m not consulting or coaching, I spend a lot of time in front of my computer.  This can lead to headaches.  I try to work in five minutes of away time from my computer screen every hour.  I make a phone call or go for a short walk in the office.  I also have my vision checked every year.  I have found that deteriorating vision can cause headaches.  I keep my vision prescription up to date.

Food – Caffeine, processed foods, chocolate and MSG can give me headaches.  I always ask for no MSG when I am at an Asian restaurant.  Other people say that red wine, and some cheeses lead to headaches for them.  Figure out what foods cause you headaches and do your best to avoid them.

Sitting for an extended period of time – This is closely tied to spending your day in front of a computer.  Yes, you’ll get eyestrain that can cause headaches, but when you sit at a computer you often hunch over.  This tightens your muscles and leads to tension headaches.  Get up and move around.  Stand while you’re on the phone, take a walk around the office, or go for a longer one at lunch time.

Sleep – Too much or too little sleep can lead to headaches.  I suggest going to bed and getting up at the same time every day – even on weekends.

The common sense point here is simple.  Successful people are high performers.  High performers maintain a reasonable level of health and fitness.  They manage their stress.  Here are a few simple steps you can take daily to increase your health and fitness and manage your daily dose of stress.  Snack on healthy foods when you begin to feel a little slow and low.  Take a few minutes in the afternoon to breathe deeply and relax.  Move around – don’t spend all day every day in front of your computer.  Exercise as often as possible.  Get the same amount of sleep every night.  If you follow these simple, common sense pieces of advice, you’ll be able to prevent a lot of stress related illnesses.

That’s my take on enhancing your job performance by managing your stress.  What’s yours?  Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts with us.  As always, thanks for reading.


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  1. You have some good common sense ideas for reducing stress and headaches. I would add “daily stretching” to your list. It help keeps the muscles from tightening up. It’s also a good job to really focus on what relaxed muscles feel like so that you are more aware of the difference. Most people don’t know how much stress they carry in thier neck and shoulders because they can’t remember what relaxed feels like so they don’t see the difference.

  2. Alan:
    You’re right — stretching is a great stress reducer.

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