What stress does to you
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Stress is something that can catch us all at one point or another no matter the job/business/industry.
Having attended a huge conference for entrepreneurs in the UK back in November and through working with female business owners something has become very clear to me.
Too many people running their own businesses are STRESSED!
I mean we all know it can be stressful juggling and running a business but it almost feels like it’s just accepted as the norm, as part and parcel of chasing your dreams, or even worn as a badge of honour.
They’re MORE stressed than when they were in their jobs. It’s almost as if it’s accepted to be par for the course of owning your own business that you head towards burnout on a daily basis.
But what if we just let go. What if it didn’t HAVE to be that way...that would be nicer right? Maybe even more fun?
In previous blog posts i’ve talked about a lot of things that contribute to (Overwhelm, Procrastination, Perfectionism, Lack of certainty to name a few) and can help ease stress (Mindfulness, Visualisation, Journaling, Gratitude, Reframing, Kindness) but I want to just highlight a couple of things that I feel are really important to understand.
Stress can be literally dangerous to your health.
In certain situations stress CAN be good for you don’t get me wrong, in terms of an extra boost of motivation, or saving your life from a rogue lion but when there is no real imminent danger or threat and you’re living your life in a perpetual state of stress and anxiety it’s very much in the NOT good for you camp.
It’s a natural reaction and very normal but what we want is to be able to limit it and not let it get out of control. As I often say, you can’t control your first reaction but you CAN control your second.
Unfortunately your body doesn’t really tell the difference very well between emotional ‘threats’ and actual real life danger physical threats so you get stress hormones, Cortisol and Adrenaline, running through your body either way. Which, over time, can have huge detrimental effects on your overall health.
Over time stress has a big effect on your body.
It can affect pretty much every area. All your energy is constantly going to the key areas to help with ‘fight or flight’ which means energy and attention is taken away from other key systems and processes you need in your body.
For example, when you’re stressed a lot you tend to get ill, have a bad stomach, headaches, sleep issues, pains in your body, extreme tiredness, you also have an increased risk of heart attack among many other things. So, many physical symptoms from quite an emotional response.
Other effects of stress on the body is heart disease, high blood pressure, physical aches and pains, loss of sex drive, stomach issues, insomnia among a tonne of other things that it can CAUSE you to do. Think overeating, not eating enough, too much alcohol, smoking, snapping at people, withdrawing from people...essentially numbing out!
The danger is also stress turning into full on burnout which can wreak havoc for entrepreneurs (and anyone really!) and can leave you floored for weeks, sometimes much longer.
It’s also not just you it affects, it affects your loved ones too. It might make you irritable, forgetful, hindering your ability to concentrate.
There are also a LOT of simple things you can implement in your life that will calm this response down and be able to act as an intervention when you’re really feeling it!
Meditation and Mindfulness
Who is this helping
4-7-8-3 and other mindful breathing techniques. Breathe in for a count of 4, hold for a count of 7, breathe out for a count of 8 and repeat 3 times. This always grounds me and brings me back to the calm place I want to be.
Get out of overwhelm with the scary brain dump to do list and outsource anything not in your zone of genius.
Exercise and eat right! I know it sounds really boring and like a broken record but it makes SUCH a difference. Find an exercise that’s right for you, even if it’s walking and eating the right foods will make a world of difference.
Set yourself a resource anchor for a different state. So when you feel stress, access a time you felt totally calm, or happy, or in control, whatever you may want to feel instead that would be helpful for you and really take yourself back to that moment. You can’t feel two opposing states at the same time and this may be enough just to ground you in the moment and get you back on track.
The key is really to create that awareness. Your body is sending you all these signals for a reason. It’s time to slow down. Take time to look after yourself but making sure that is a consistent part of your routine because if you’re perpetually in a state of stress or anxiety what’s the point really? You only get one life and that’s not what it’s all about.
Taking care of yourself isn’t selfish, it’s selfless. It’s not just for you that you’re doing it. Take a moment to picture yourself going about your day WITHOUT the stress, are you still getting things done? In fact, are you getting MORE done?
Work out what triggers the stress response in you and then get brainstorming about how you can make sure it doesn’t happen in the first place. What can you outsource? What specific tasks tend to be the ones that stress you out? What in your life is causing you stress?
It’s really easy to look at some of these things and say you can’t do anything about them but honestly, the majority of the time there really is something you can do about it, something you can do differently, you just need to look for it and question it.
And as for the rest of the time, if you have no control over it and REALLY can’t do anything about it what is the point of getting stressed about it? Will it change anything? Will it hurt anybody apart from yourself? Will it hurt the people that love you? Will it actually help anything?
The scary thing is when people ignore stress and it gets out of control. That’s where the damage gets done. So start to be aware, use the tools and techniques i’ve talked you through in other posts and make sure you use them and if you feel you need it of course please go see your doctor.
You weren’t meant to live your life in a constant state of stress, so let’s change it!
If you know that now is the time to start changing things for yourself and want to explore this further, have any questions or want some accountability to make sure you’re doing the things you need to then please book in a free discovery call so we can see what needs to happen to get you from where you’re at right now, to the successful business owner you know you can be!! All the details are in the link below and I hope to see you on the inside.