Saturday, August 31, 2013

STRESS Unveiled

Stress continues to be an area of concern for many of us.  I thought of sharing my thoughts on how I deal with stress by unveiling each letter of the word STRESS.

S - Silly yourself.  The ability to laugh at yourself on your mistakes can be one of the biggest abilities to manage stress. We then no longer have to defend or justify our point of view especially in situations when we know in our heart that it is our mistake. So we can simply laugh at ourselves and say to others and ourselves "i am so silly...i messed it up...i goofed up...i am very sorry".  That very moment we become free of any further load of continuing with the mistake. There are also other medical benefits like endorphin's are released in our body which is very good for our health. So learn to not only laugh at yourself but LOL at yourself and you will gradually see the current stress going down and very less of new stress building up.

T - Trash the trash of the past. I am not talking about trashing the big baggage of the past but the day to day past. So if you have a difference of opinion with your colleague or your spouse or even your boss on Monday then don't carry that on Tuesday morning. I am not saying that you should not have your point of view and just agree to others views (except your boss) but the disagreement on a particular point should not percolate in subsequent conversations. All new conversation should start new, fresh and lively with no connect with the past.  If we apply this situation with the spouse then after a difference of opinion on a Saturday the conversation on Sunday  should start as fresh and lively as you had when you were dating each other. When we bring that liveliness back in our lives moment by moment there are no resentments, no burden of the past and thereby a stress free present. Don't show this blog to your spouse and ask him/her to implement trashing the past (as usually we are very good at externalizing the problem) but take the responsibility of implementing this yourself first. After few weeks when the spouse says that these days you have become so lively and lovely every moment, you can share this blog.

R - Restrict yourself in getting into a trap of doing things back to back but learn to intentionally keep blank spaces between activities. Jeff Reiner (CEO of Linked in) has beautifully talked about keeping blank spaces between meetings in one of his blogs. Most people take pride in having back to back meetings. When they do that they are not able to think / process what happened in the meeting and spend time on solving the issues. So if the meeting was on an escalation then after few days there is another escalation meeting called  to handle the previous escalation meeting. The vicious cycle of back to back meetings gives a sense of false pride that we are a great busy executive and the life of an busy executive has to be stress full. So try keeping spaces and see how gradually the stress almost disappears for you and people around you (especially your reportees who also keep attending those back to back meetings and join you in the stressful world).

E - Enlarge your heart. People around you at work and home will make mistakes and the ability to forgive and let go by enlarging your heart will help reduce stress. I am not saying that tolerate insincerity or incompetence but enlarge your heart to look at them as people who will learn to deliver. Spend time in training, coaching and mentoring people so that they also find a purpose in their being. Looking at people grow around you will help reduce your stress.

S - Standardize.  There are many repetitive tasks in our lives like buying grocery, paying electricity bills, monthly maintenance, car servicing etc. Try and see if you can standardize those by putting templates, creating a recurring reminder on your laptop, phone so that you don't have to remember them.   My wife has put a post it on our refrigerator and all of us at home write when any item gets over. We just pick the post it while going to the supermarket and don't have to think about what to buy as our short term memory cannot remember the butter that got over last Monday and with the traffic in Bangalore city it can create big stress to go back to buy butter. I also pay advance money when paying electricity bill and automatically the amount keeps getting deducted not needing me to pay electricity bill every month.  I know many people who are very particular about loosing bank interest from advance may not like this but try and look at this as an investment to make more time for yourself and help reduce stress. You can use this extra time to listen music or to nurture your hobbies which by the way can also help reduce stress.

S - Synergize. It is the ability to make 1 + 1 = 11 and not 1 + 1 = 2. It is about unleashing the potential of everybody around us.  When we synergize we get things done by everybody around us and not take the load of doing everything by ourselves.  It means my brain and your brain can create a better solution then only me thinking about an issue.  This also means celebrating differences. Finally it also means synergizing with yourself.  Meditation can be of great help in uniting yourself, creating peace within and dealing with stress. www.sahajayoga.org is a great school of mediation that I have been practicing for last 18 years and you can try that as well.

I am sure there may be many more ways of managing stress and I look forward to your sharing in helping each other deal with stress to lead a lively and loving life....Lets all learn, share and care.

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