As a business owner, it’s imperative to stay healthy both physically and mentally. If you’re a planner and think ahead, you may have systems in place which can handle your business during your absences. However, illnesses wear away at your vitality and your passion for your business. When that happens, regardless of the systems you have in place, business and profits suffer.
Now we’re not just talking about the costly effects of getting sick - and it is costly. Annually, illness costs US businesses more than 45 billion and that doesn’t take into account your personal costs for medical expenses and time off of work. What may be more insidious are the effects of mental health on your business.
Stress causes us to feel:
• Ambivalent about our success
• Burned out
Chronic stress, the type of stress that seems never-ending and inescapable, like the stress of a bad marriage or an extremely taxing job (this type of stress can lead to burnout), is the most insidious of the various types of stress. It is this type of stress causes severe complications, symptoms and conditions including chronic headaches and a decreased immune system.
According to many studies as many as 90% of doctor’s visits are for stress caused symptoms. The good news is that stress, at least the majority of it, can be not just managed but eliminated completely.
If you’re too stressed to enjoy your life and to focus on your business positively and productively then something needs to be done - quickly!
Take Control Over Your Life, Your Health and Your Success
When you take the steps to take care of yourself you’re not only poised for better success and profits, you’re in a better situation to enjoy the fruits of your labor. What good are millions in the bank account if you’re too sick or depressed to enjoy it, right?
The question is, how do you eliminate stress? Here are five steps to get the job done.
Step One - Recognize the cause of your stress. There are a few instances where you feel tremendously stressed - which of these triggers can be eliminated from your life?
For example if you’re stressed by customer service responsibilities the fastest way to eliminate this stress is to outsource the task. If you’re stressed by not having enough money to meet the bills, consider consulting an expert financial advisor or credit counselor. This may not eliminate the stress however it will give you more control over the situation which will go a long way toward reducing your stress.
Step Two - Catch yourself when you’re thinking negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. An easy way to do this is to make a list of the negative thoughts you have regularly, just let go and don’t edit yourself. Write down every negative thought, these are often complaints, which come to mind.
For example, “I’ll never get this done,” or “I’m too busy,” or “I’m always exhausted, sick, angry...” “I’m never going to get this business to the next level,” and so on...
Now taking a look at the negative thoughts in your life, turn them around and make them positive affirmations.
For example, if you’re complaining about never having any energy, change it to say “I’m always awake, alert and alive.” When you feel yourself starting to complain or think or say a negative comment, stop yourself and think or recite your affirmation.
Some experts recommend posting your affirmations where you can see them, say for example your bathroom mirror, and then reciting them several times a day until you have them memorized and/or you’re no longer feeling the negative emotions and can move onto cleaning or eliminating other negative effects on your life.
Step Three - Take better care of yourself. Get better sleep, exercise more and eat a nutritious and life sustaining diet. We’ll talk about all three of these in subsequent chapters however it’s important to know that diet, sleep and exercise all help your body and mind better cope with stress so that even when you are feeling stressed, it doesn’t have the negative effects on your body and mind.
Step Four - Calming rituals. Find your own calming ritual, for example meditation, a candle lit bubble bath, massage, and even aroma therapy (scents like lavender have a proven calming effect).
Step Five - Remember what is good in your life. Regularly making entries into a gratitude journal is a wonderful way to remember all that is good in your life and when you’re able to feel gratitude, suddenly the problems you do have don’t seem as big or important. If journaling isn’t your thing, just try to think of five things you’re grateful for before you go to bed or first thing in the morning before you get up. You can even create a ritual out of it, for example sitting outside on your patio, enjoying your morning cup of joe and saying thanks for all that you have and all that you are.
You don’t have to live with stress and you certainly don’t have to suffer the symptoms and conditions it causes. In addition to managing stress and striving for optimal mental health, it’s important to know that diet, sleep and exercise all play a role in how your body and mind handle stress. The healthier you are the better you’ll manage the stress you have and the happier and more productive you’ll be.