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How to Combat Stressful Situations at Work

work stress

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For many of Us, work is a huge part of our day-to-day routine. It can even take up roughly 30 percent of our lives, which equates to about 90,000 hours. Considering that our profession consumes such a significant part of our time, we can only hope that our job is a pleasant experience. However, as with any area of life, stress can creep in and disrupt our peace. It’s a fact of life that stressful moments will occur at work, whether in-person or over digital communications.

Rather than letting stressful situations affect your attitude or mindset, it’s more effective to combat any potential conflict instead. Who knows more about combating stressful work situations better than business professionals who have put their hearts and souls into their companies? So, we reached out to founders and CEOs to find out their advice on how you can combat stressful moments at work.

Take Action

Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon — a site that surely needs no explanation as the world’s largest online retailer — has famously spoken about stress, likening it to not doing something within your capability to do, so it essentially looms over you. His solution, therefore, is to do the action that causes stress in order to get it out of the way.

“Stress primarily comes from not taking action over something that you can have some control over. I find as soon as I identify it, and make the first phone call, or send off the first e-mail message, or whatever it is that we’re going to do to start to address that situation — even if it’s not solved — the mere fact that we’re addressing it dramatically reduces any stress that might come from it.” – Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon

Follow a Ritual or Cadence

Jack Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of the social news and networking platform Twitter, also has an idea for what stress consists of. He considers stress to be unexpected situations which in turn bring anxiety from their unwanted surprise. His solution is to stick to a ritual to keep yourself feeling level headed. 

“I think generally stress comes from things that are unexpected. The more you can set a cadence around what you do and the more ritual and the more consistency you can build in your schedule, the less stress you’re going to have.” – Jack Dorsey, Co-Founder and CEO of Twitter

Practice Deep Breathing

Mehdi Marrakchi, CEO of Mob Hookah, a source for buying hookah products online, recommends deep breathing as a de-stressing practice through visualization of inhaling the good and exhaling the bad.

“As someone who practices de-stressing techniques like deep breathing, sometimes I surprise myself with how helpful simple breathing exercises can be. It doesn’t take much, but when I need to recenter myself I take a few quiet, solo moments–even at the office, because it doesn’t draw any attention to myself–and focus on taking deep inward and outward breaths. I try to picture exhaling all the tension I’m feeling and inhaling peace and tranquility. When I open up my eyes after a few minutes or even seconds of calming breathing, I instantly feel relieved.” – Mehdi Marrakchi, CEO of Mob Hookah

Make To-Do Lists

Trisha Bantigue, CEO of the marketplace for formal dresses Queenly, says that her favorite measure for avoiding and preventing stress is by planning out what needs to be done through lists.

“I’ve found that I can help prevent stress by staying highly organized and making daily to-do lists. I make to-do lists for everything, my work life, personal life, grocery lists–essentially every thing that I have in my head I put down onto paper or digital lists. It feels like an important measure for me because I make space in my mind for more important information. Then I can constantly consult my lists and get the accomplished feeling of checking items off when I complete them. Whenever I feel moments of stress about what I need to get done, I look at my to-do list and remind myself that all I have to do is work through one task at a time and check them off as I go.” – Trisha Bantigue, CEO of Queenly

Move Around and Get Fresh Air

Michelle Hodgden, Chief of Staff at Kinoo — an app that takes video chat to the next level — advises that you be sure to incorporate movement into your day, particularly when faced with stress.

“I recommend moving your muscles and getting some fresh air whenever you can during the work day, and also immediately after being faced with one of those stressful situations at work. This way, you symbolically move the stress from inside yourself, out. When I move around, I feel as though I am physically moving through my problems, as though I can get through to the other side. And fresh air always sharpens my senses so I’m better prepared to act in a way I’m proud of when dealing with conflict.” – Michelle Hodgden, Chief of Staff at Kinoo

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Bradley Hall, CEO of SONU Sleep — a mattress company committed to revolutionizing the sleep industry — emphasizes the importance of getting a good night’s rest every single day.

“We can prevent a lot of stress before it arises by getting enough proper sleep at night. When you get the recommended amount of sleep that your body needs, you have a clear mind that is ready to accurately process through your emotions and conflicts so you can face them head on. Sleep also naturally calms the body and helps level your mood, which also allows you to combat stress before and when it comes up at work.” – Bradley Hall, CEO of SONU

Write Down Your Thoughts

Julie Harris, co-CEO of the Harris Real Estate University, says that she uses writing out her thoughts as a cathartic way of getting her mental processing out onto paper.

“I always like to write out my thoughts. I think of it as though I have a cluttered room in my mind and by writing out my thoughts, questions, concerns, and worries, I slowly clean through the room. At the end, with my visualization, I am left with a fresh open space conducive for me to use my brain to the best of its ability. I encourage anyone else struggling with stress or who simply has a highly active mind to try writing things down.” – Julie Harris, Co-CEO and Head of Coaching of Tim & Julie Harris Real Estate Coaching

Take Breaks

Rabah Rahil, the CMO of the e-commerce operating system Triple Whale, stresses the necessity of separating your work day into well used breaks. 

“Taking regular breaks during the work day is really important for your mental health. After too long at your computer or sitting in meetings, you can start to feel a kind of heaviness that can begin to weigh on you. I recommend you take regular breaks and use them wisely so you can return back to work with a freshened mind. Stand up, walk around, get outside into the fresh air if you can, drink some water, eat a snack, and take some time for yourself if you need to. The biggest way to struggle when faced with those inevitable stressful moments at work is to be personally drained or overloaded so that the moment feels like something too hard to work through. So take your breaks. Enjoy them. And return to work refreshed.” – Rabah Rahil, CMO of Triple Whale

Talk to Someone About Your Struggles 

Max Schwartzapfel, the CMO of the personal injury law firm Schwartzapfel Lawyers, reminds of the importance of talking about the things on your mind, like working through stressful situations.

“Have you ever noticed how it helps to talk to someone when you’re working through a lot of emotions or a stressful period in life? This phenomenon of talking it out has long been understood to carry immense benefits. Talking can make a big difference in both preventing stress and combating it when you have to deal with it at work. Talking through a stressful situation with open communication can be a great way to work through a problem. If you need to talk about something stressful after you’ve faced it, maybe grab a trusted co-worker, or converse with a friend or family member after work. You also might want to try speaking through your thoughts with a mental health professional. However you decide to go about it, give talking through your concerns a try.” – Max Schwartzapfel, CMO of Fighting for You

Address Conflicts Head On

James Shalhoub, co-founder of the premium dog supplements brand Finn, suggests addressing tensions and stress before they escalate. “Sometimes we can feel tension rising and sense that something is amiss before any conflict is explicitly mentioned. In these scenarios, it can be smart to face stress head on. Address those conflicts with the others involved and see if, with patience and open communication, you can work through tension and come to a solution. This way, you address the stressful situation before you are in the heat of the moment, when tensions can ride high.” – James Shalhoub, Co-Founder of Finn

Get Regular Exercise Before and After Work

The CEO of the athleisure clothing brand Public Rec Zach Goldstein recommends getting regular exercise to prevent stress and be adequately prepared to face it when needed.

“Some people love to exercise, while others do it more as an obligation because they know it’s good for them. But we all understand the benefits and importance of exercising. Not only does it keep us healthy, give us increased energy, help us sleep better at night, etc., it also helps regulate mood and prevent stress. Exercise releases endorphins which make us feel good and help us to feel calm as well. Clearly, exercise can help you arrive at work each day with preparation for everything you may face. I like to get some movement both before and after work, before to wake up my body and give me energy, and after to work off the tension of focusing for so long. But whenever you decide to exercise, you’ll enjoy the effects.” – Zach Goldstein, CEO of Public Rec

Make Positive Relationships With Your Teammates

Joshua Chin, the CEO of the team of lifecycle marketing experts at Chronos Digital, says it’s wise to form strong relationships with your co-workers to prevent conflicts.

“Perhaps the best way to combat stressful situations and moments at work is to try to prevent them beforehand. Make positive relationships with your work teammates and be clear with each other that you would prefer to talk through issues before they come up rather than get to a point where issues arise. Remember that you and your co-workers are in your situation together, and you all have a shared goal that is more important than minor tensions at work.” – Joshua Chin, CEO of Chronos Agency

There you have it, expert advice on how to combat (and prevent) stressful moments and situations at work as provided by successful business experts. If anyone knows how to balance their work lives to be productive and peaceful, these CEOs and founders do. You can apply these tips to both your work and personal life.

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