Woman sitting at desk biting a pencil as she works on managing stress in a highly competitive work environment.

Managing Stress in a Highly Competitive Work Environment

We work and live in tumultuous times. The current state of affairs only amplifies the stress we regularly experience. Stress is a slippery slope. Before you know it, you become paralyzed, unable to advance in your personal and professional life. To that end, managing stress is one of the most important things you can do for your career.

Here are six actions you can take to minimize stress and gain a competitive edge in your personal and professional life.

6 Ways You Can Start Managing Stress Today

1: Keep Moving

Woman managing stress by doing yoga on a cliffside

Did you know that physical activity produces endorphins?

There have been many studies that attempt to measure the benefits of physical activity in stress reduction. One study that reviewed 56 other studies on this subject found that physical exercise reduces fatigue, depression, stress, and improves psychosocial functioning significantly. Get up and get moving!

2: Eat Well

Food for thought quote for managing stress

Numerous scientific studies have found that what you eat has a significant impact on managing stress levels and how you feel more generally. Studies in nutrition and stress reduction also emphasize that diet and exercise work together to reduce stress and improve mental function. A healthier body leads to a happier mind. As Jack Lelane once said to the effect of Exercise is King, diet is Queen and together you have a Kingdom.

According to an article in Everyday Health, the following foods help reduce stress:

  • Warm, Soothing Foods
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Whole-Grain Carbohydrates
  • Bananas
  • Fatty Fish
  • Water
  • Milk
  • Nuts
  • Oranges and Other Vitamin C–Rich Fruits
  • Avocados
  • Leafy Greens

Stress reduction not only helps improve your production, but it also boosts your ability to manage relationships in an increasingly competitive workplace..

3: Managing Stress with More Sleep

Did you know that sleep deficiency has played a role in human errors linked to tragic accidents, such as nuclear reactor meltdowns, grounding of large ships, and aviation accidents?

Quote about sleep as a way for people to start managing stress better

The relationship between sleep and mental health is a thoroughly researched topic. Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life. Quality sleep is critical to your mental and physical health, quality of life, and managing stress. Lack of adequate sleep can negatively affect how well you think, react, work, learn, and get along with others.

Sleep helps your brain work properly. Evidence suggests that a good night’s sleep boosts productivity, improves learning, improves attention span, and leads to better decision making. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), adults need between seven or more hours of sleep per night.

Put down your phone and get some shut-eye!

4. Create New Habits

Would you be surprised to know that more than 40 percent of the actions you perform each day aren’t actual decisions, but habits?

Lao Tzu quote about managing expectations, managing stress, and starting something new

Want to transform your life? Start by transforming your knowledge or inspiration into a daily habit. Your habits are a significant aspect of your routine and are a part of your identity. Breaking old habits is an incredible challenge. Start small. Want to eat healthier? Skip morning indulgences like a donut or sugary pastries until it becomes second nature.

The first step to reaching any goal is to establish a daily habit. If you want to find a new job, you have to get into the habit of looking for work every day. If you want to master a new skill, learn to play a musical instrument, run a race, or learn a martial art. Furthermore, if you want to start managing stress, create a habit around actions or thoughts that help you do that.

Need help picking a new habit? Choose one that can help advance your career. Things like reading pertinent publications, taking on a mentee or mentor, listening to educational podcasts, or adding a 30-minute nap to your day to help refresh your brain.

Habits, good or bad, set the tone for your entire life. For instance, if you have a habit of greeting your family with joy, you’ll become a joyful person. If you develop the habit of learning something new every day, you’ll become more knowledgeable. If you have a habit of managing stress, you’ll become stress-free. Well, it probably isn’t that easy. However,  setting yourself up to live a happy and healthy life by choosing to develop more good habits is a great start.

5: Avoid Negative Thinking

Attitudes can be defined as habits of thought. Unfortunately, the habit of negative thinking can cause your brain to distort the truth, and make managing stress levels all but impossible.

Researchers continue to explore the effects of positive thinking and optimism on health.

Health benefits of positive thinking include:

✔️Extending life span
✔️Lowering rates of depression
✔️Lowering levels of distress

Bad stuff happens, but we can’t let a bad thing ruin your entire day. Allowing a negative moment to define your day can cause missed opportunities and impede your daily goals.

Most importantly, a good way to stop thinking negatively is to replace those negative thoughts with positive ones. How do you do that? Start by helping others. Compelling data tells us that the act of giving is a powerful pathway to personal growth and lasting happiness.

Who can you help today?

6: Be Kind to Yourself

Take time to think kind thoughts about yourself and loved ones. These kinds of thoughts have psychological and physical benefits.

Unfortunately, most people don’t treat themselves with the kindness they deserve. If you are capable of being kind to others, you can, and should, practice that same kindness on yourself.

If you need help being kind to yourself, start with this list:

  • Give yourself recognition
  • Set aside “me” time (at least 30 min a day)
  • Make a list of things you did well at the end of each day
  • Try morning mantras
  • Reward yourself when you reach a goal
  • Forgive yourself for mistakes you’ve made (you’re only human)
  • Listen to yourself and trust your gut and do what feels right
  • Start a new hobby
  • Write yourself a “love” letter
  • Eat your favorite food

In conclusion, it is essential to recognize the stressors in our lives and take the necessary steps to manage stress as much as possible. Identify your stressors to understand how they impact you and find healthy ways to manage your day-to-day stress. By investing time in this kind of self-examination, you can improve your overall lifestyle and experience joyful living.

Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help you manage stress! We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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