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Handling stress

Stress is one of the most frequently used reasons for executive burnout and loss of productivity. We live in a world of increasing stress, with real-time expectations for just about everything. The Internet has made human interaction a 24/7 proposition. How people handle stress can be the difference between the balanced life people are seeking and one that is out of control.

I have asked hundreds of executives how they deal with the demands of their leadership positions. The answers are varied, as you might expect. I have used a number of these suggestions over the years to deal with my own stress levels. Here are some things to think about if you are dealing with high levels of stress:

  • Get a hobby. It doesn’t matter what it is; it will just be an outlet for your brain.
  • Talk to mentors and advisors; they have probably been through the same thing.
  • Read. Reading keeps the mind occupied and focused on something else. It is also a great source of ideas. I like to read Eastern philosophy and business magazines.
  • Spend time with family members. They are your greatest source of strength.
  • If you are faith-based, use religion as an outlet for your focus and problem-solving.
  • Volunteer. Giving back to people less fortunate can be a great way to get perspective on your own situation.
  • Exercise. Get out and move your muscles. It is the best way to blow off steam.
  • Keep a consistent and healthy diet. Don’t let your stress become worse by depleting your body’s strength.
  • Don’t be afraid to share your issues with others. They will support you if they care about you.
  • Keep your eye on the ball. Prioritize your day and stop doing unessential activities that waste time and energy.
  • Delegate. If you can delegate less important activities to other people, do it.
  • Focus on your passion and what makes you happy.
  • Face the brutal facts. Stop diluting yourself and deal with the issues at hand. Then you can move on.
  • Be willing to ask for help. No one can handle everything. After all, we are human.
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