5 Benefits for Why Self-Awareness is Important to Manage Stress

 

There are many great ways of improving yourself. One of these ways is to look for the positive attributes you possess and appreciating that part of you. Another important way of becoming a better person is by acknowledging your weaknesses and actively working on improving. These two methods of self-improvement define what it means to be self-aware.

In managing stress or becoming emotionally intelligent (EI), self -awareness is the basis – you can’t make improvements if you don’t know why you do what you do, why you act or react, and the like. You can’t change what you don’t know.

Being self-aware can help you relate well with people and increase your ability to achieve your goals. These are not the only benefits of self-awareness, however. Here are some more reasons why it is important to be self-aware.

 

  • Increases your social abilities

 

Human beings are social beings who thrive on relationships. People who are self-aware are very successful when creating relationships. This is because they are able to realize exactly what they want in each person they meet. That certainty comes from knowing one’s own abilities and challenges. Self-awareness also promotes emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence helps us relate to the feelings of other people. Lacking this skill can leave us in conflicts with others. The best way to improve your level of emotional intelligence is by learning your own emotional patterns, which allows you to regulate them for more positive interactions.

 

  • Promotes versatility and open-mindedness

 

Knowing yourself can be very crucial to affecting the approach that you have on issues. Self-awareness in itself is the ability to actively seek to listen to the body and mind to know your natural response to change. This consciousness can thus help you have a clear focus when dealing with issues. You are also able to accept opinions, feedback, and criticism from other people without being subjective. Ultimately, you are able to have multiple solutions to a single problem.

 

  • Promotes productivity

 

People who are self-aware are fast thinkers. They understand themselves and are able to focus on the challenges of the day without hindrances. Without understanding yourself, there is a big challenge where you are held back by uncertainty. This results in time wastage caused by pondering over many different courses of action even when a swift decision is needed. People who are self-aware know their productivity levels – when they are most energetic and focused and maximize these times to get more done.

 

  • Improves leadership skills

 

One of the most important attributes of a good leader is swift decision-making. A leader should also be impartial and confident. All these are things that we gain by becoming self-aware. Knowing yourself removes internal fear and you are able to focus on important matters. Self-awareness also includes listening to one’s intuition, along with knowing what skills need developed that leads to being a successful leader.

 

  • Promotes Overall Objectivity

 

Being self-aware promotes objectivity. People who are self-aware are also self-confident. This means that they can easily make decisions without being clouded by poor judgment. They also have empathy towards others and are able to implement boundaries for what they will accept from others as well as what they will give; they are not afraid to say ‘no’ when needed.

 

  • Gives the Ability to Manage Their Stress and Other Triggers

Self-awareness allows for one to know the source of their stress, or triggers, and what leads to feeling overwhelmed and unable to handle situations they face. Triggers can include people, habits of others, or those that go against one’s values, such as a coworker who procrastinates on their part of a project or not doing their work on time. Knowing these triggers allows you to find solutions to face them calmly, detach from the outcome, and stay in your own lane, thus decreasing stressful feelings.

 

Being self-aware takes effort – self-assessing, noting your habits and patterns, and then delving in to uncover reasons for your behaviors. It is only through being self-aware that you can build on your strengths and skills which leads to confidence and increased self-esteem. It takes some level of bravery to delve into one’s behavior but it’s the learning curve needed to lead a more positive and productive life.

 

If you’re ready to do the deep-dive in learning more about yourself, and how this relates to positive changes in your life, reach out to learn about our services and programs – get started today!

 

 

How To Stay Positive In Stressful Situations

 

Sometimes nothing seems to turn out the way you had planned, no matter how hard you attempt. Regardless of where the stress is stemming from, it is essential to equip yourself with resources to rise above the negativity and stay positive. Maintaining a positive attitude can help alleviate stress and assist in accomplishing your objectives.

In difficult times, it can feel impossible to think positively when things are falling apart. However, negativity breeds negativity affecting your emotional and physical health. The more you view your situation in a negative light, the more stress and anxiety you will feel.

When you feel like you have hit a dead end, and start to sense any negativity, stop! Here are a few tips on how to remain positive even when you are in challenging situations:

 

  1. Count your blessings

Regardless of how rough things are, if you think about it, you have lots of things to be grateful for. Whether it’s having a job when a lot of people are jobless, having a supportive family, or simply being in a good health. By revisiting everything you have in your life, you can’t hold on to the negativities. You will feel confident, proud and positive.

There are countless things in your life that you can be thankful about, many you may dismiss as important. Five years ago, I participated in a 100-day gratitude challenge –  it was so impactful that it lasted for four years and the blessing were many to my outlook and things I attracted into my life (one was a new car). Every day, write down at least three things you are grateful for each morning and evening – you can work up from there.

  1. Reward yourself

When you achieve something, regardless of how little it is, pat yourself in the back for the job well done. The list of ways that you can reward yourself is endless. You can reward yourself with new opportunities to explore or learn something new, such as taking up a new hobby or going to places you have been wanting to (theme park, art gallery, restaurant, etc.).  You can even take your friends out for coffee. A positive attitude can hardly arise if you don’t even feel great about yourself.

Begin to notice people and events in your daily life and recognize actions that either you have taken towards someone else or that are done to you, no matter how small; examples include someone letting your out in traffic, holding the door for you, giving you a compliment, or helping you out in some way. This helps to recognize your worth that needs to be remembered and recognized.

  1. Exercise regularly

Another great way to manage stress and remain positive is by exercising on a regular basis. If you don’t exercise, try to find something that you enjoy doing such as swimming, biking, playing golf, playing tennis, or going for a walk. Breathing exercise can also help alleviate stress; breathing has been proven to help manage stress, and is one of the best ways to calm the brain and body quickly. Movement has also been shown to ease stress and anxious feelings quickly; easy ways to move, especially if your are at work, is to march in place or take a short walk.

  1. Take time out

If all you think about is work, you can easily be overwhelmed by stress. Be sure to give yourself time off and read a book, listen to music or do whatever it is that you find relaxing. You can also go out with your family and friends. Give yourself permission to veg on the couch of take short breaks during the day – go eat your lunch outside or ideate.  Having time-outs will help you remain focused and positive when you are at your work station so you can dive into the work in front of you with more ease. You will ultimately thank yourself for it.

How to always stay positive in a challenging environment takes awareness of the stressors and retraining the way you think. While you will not alleviate stress overnight, following these simple steps will help you develop and maintain a good attitude about your work and your life. The benefits will be many.

 

If you or your team are feeling stress, why suffer – reach out to learn about our stress management program and services to live stress-free. Take control today to avoid problems in the future.

 

 

Got Stress? 5 Ways to Feel Calmer Quickly

5 Way to Feel Calmer Quickly

Feeling panicked and over-worked? Stressed out all the time and struggling to focus? You just described pretty much the majority of the population.

Unfortunately, being stressed and burned-out is rapidly becoming the ‘new normal’ in a world where we have too much to do and not enough time to do it in. The good news is that with the ubiquity of this issue, there is also a large array of options when it comes to treating and solving it. Here are five ways you can feel better almost instantly:

Breathe

One of the best ways to feel calmer is to breathe – deep breathing, or belly breathing – as this calms the mind and body quickly. When under stress, we often will take in short breaths which stops air flow and leads to panting and more stress. Also, cortisol is released which increases anxious feelings. Taking your breath in, using the 4-7-8 method (in slowly for a count of 4, hold for 7, then out slowly for 8) becomes an instant calmer; the more you practice, the more automatic this becomes.

Organize

You can go Marie Kondo on your home, or you can just do a little spring clean. Whichever you choose, you’ll find that having a more organized space can instantly help you to feel better about your current predicament.

It’s been said that when our space is messy or disorganized, it can lead to anxious feelings so clearing out can help you feel more in control and relaxed. If you only have five minutes, then just clear your immediate area. It’s often enough.

Eat

If you’re feeling very anxious, it might well be because you have allowed your blood sugar to drop. Something as simply as eating a meal can help to boost it back up and significantly improve your mood again. Our moods are tied extremely closely to what we eat, due to the link between our blood sugar and the release of cortisol and serotonin (the stress and feel good hormones respectively!).

There are some foods that help to regulate blood sugars and help our brain, such as fish, fruits and vegetables, turkey, and sweet potatoes. Just watch on using food as a coping skill.

Go for Walk

Walking helps to engage the ‘default mode network’ – the network of brain regions that spring into action whenever we’re not doing something highly active. The result is that your mind wanders and you feel calm and creative. Fresh air and scenic views will do the rest. A five minute spin around the block is all it takes. If you can, walk in areas with trees as they give off oxygen, which helps as a relaxer.

Meditate

Just five minutes of meditation can be more than enough to help boost your mood and help you to feel better. The aim of meditation is to calm your brain by focusing on something other than the negative thoughts you’re currently experiencing – even if that ‘something else’ happens to be nothing at all!

Meditation is not to take the thoughts away but it is geared so you don’t have to do anything about them. Just set a timer for five minutes, and make an effort to focus on the ins and outs of your breathing. It’s that easy!

Exercise

Another way that you can overcome stress and anxiety is to exercise. This stimulates the release of serotonin, not to mention being extremely good for distracting yourself!

Again, five minutes might well be enough. Just take a moment – do leg lifts in your chair, dance, push-ups, arm curls with light weights, march in place; these are all great ways to get the blood circulating and feeling better in no time.

When you start to feel stress creeping up on you, use these five methods to relax and feel better quickly; the more you keep doing them, the more mastery and good habits you will create to take back control and be able to handle those stressful days.

 

“It’s not stress that kills us, it’s our reaction to it.” (Hans Selye)

 

 

If you’re ready to get your stress under control, reach out to take back the control. We also work with leaders and teams, and do training on stress management and well-being so call today to get started (before it’s too late).

 

Understand Work Stress Burnout And Take Back Control Today

Work stress today is very prevalent at all levels; prior to the pandemic, work stress was high but, since, work stress is out of control. According to the American Institute of Stress, 80% of workers feel stress on the job. I am sure that number is higher in certain industries, such as restaurants and retail.

The effects of stress can be very detrimental to one’s health and well-being, the effects which can be long-lasting. You may be experiencing the symptoms of work stress burnout no matter your age.

Symptoms of Work Stress

In order to manage stress, you need to understand what the symptoms are before you can take control of it. The symptoms will vary by each person, but there are some general ways stress presents itself. Here are some questions to answer:

+ Are you feeling a lack of personal achievement and satisfaction at work? This is one of the early warning signs.

+ Is going to work a time-consuming drudgery and work itself a day-long bore?

+ Do you get frustrated more easily and/or getting angry with work, your coworkers, your boss or customers?

+ Do you find yourself tired, both physically and mentally?

+ Are you having frequent headaches, backaches, eye strain, or neck pain?

+ Having problems sleeping, either falling asleep or frequently waking up?

+ Are you having trouble eating – either too much, reaching for foods with sugar, or not eating a lot due to an anxious stomach?

+ Do you have racing thoughts that seem to permeate areas of your day?

+ Are you feel anxious during the day, or worry about the future? Have heart palpitations or chest pain?

 

If you answered yes to these, you’re not alone. You are experiencing the effects of stress and may be on the downhill slide to burnout.

You may not be aware of the severity of these symptoms as you may ignore them or attribute them to some external factor. But they can creep on your slowly, taking its toll on your physical and emotional health.  Others may not  understand what you are going through, as burnout is extremely personal in nature – you are having the crisis, not them.

There are emotional and physical symptoms associated with what you are going through.

Emotional symptoms of stress at work…

The emotional symptoms usually show up as the first sign of burn out. You may often feel an unrelenting stress, lack enthusiasm, have a sense of loss of control as well as experience an unexplainable grief.

You may want to blame those around you for the way you feel, but this rarely resolves the inner turmoil that you are experiencing.

In severe cases of work stress, many people experience a sense of total detachment and wanting to escape the situation; the more they have these thoughts, the more detached and shut down they can become.

This feeling often results in a loss of productivity and creativity. It also fuels negativity and cynicism, with a quickness to get angry and blame others. Over time you may find solace in detaching yourself from others by isolating from your team members; however this will not resolve the issue.

One of the biggest effects of prolonged stress is feelings of guilt and shame – this list could go on, but many feel guilty for not working as hard or contributing as their teammates, or just for not being ‘strong enough.’ These types of thoughts and feelings only add to one’s stress level, which the spiral down continues.

 

Physical Symptoms that accompany job stress…

Work stress also affects your body. The feeling of “never being able to do enough” may drive you to work extensively long hours in an effort to catch up.

Physical exhaustion may take the form of headaches, physical shaking from head to foot, inability to think clearly and being unable to relax. Pain can show up in other parts of your body, such as you neck, eyes, hips – we each hold stress in differently. You might find your hair falling out and you are more susceptible to colds and illness due to your immune system being compromised.

Physical exhaustion also causes you to lose your natural communication ability, so communication between your spouse and children, your boss or co-workers may sometimes become explosive; you might have the opposite effect with withdrawal behaviors – not speaking up, being overly agreeable despite not wanting to.

There is also the possibility of experiencing gastrointestinal problems; you may find comfort in food or alcohol as a way to cope, or you may feel an aversion to food due to a ‘nervous’ stomach.

 

Is there a solution?

Yes there is. You need to gather information and make a lifestyle change. Making the determination to deal with stress is the first step. Understanding the concept of stress, such as through the American Institute of Stress (http://www.Stress.org) will help as awareness is the key.

Another step is to be more aware of the symptoms you are experiencing, i.e. know your body. Begin to notice when you have aches and pains, when your routine veers from its normal, when you detach or become aggressive in your behaviors towards others – this is when you, then, are able to stop the feelings and learn to use good coping skills that will lesson stress and its effects.

Stress can be managed but, if you’ve been under its effects for a while, it can take time to begin to feel more relaxed and able to handle your job. Write down you stressors to see how you can go about managing them so you can enjoy your work again.

 

 

If you are having difficulty with workplace stress, reach out to get help as we have programs that can help you and your team survive and thrive so their performance, productivity, and satisfaction are at their highest. Help is available – just reach out.

5 Ways To Practice Stillness in Your Work Routine

5 Ways To Practice Stillness in Your Work Routine

When you hear the word “stillness,” you probably think of the act of physically sitting still without any sounds, movements, or feelings. This is true, in a sense, but stillness also refers to a sense of inner peace and serenity (or, calmness); it is a mindfulness practice that leads to more focus and productivity which are essential in these crazy and uncertain time we are currently living in.

Because stillness involves the body, mind, and spirit, there are plenty of ways that you can practice stillness and improve your overall mental state. Let’s go over some of the easiest ways that you can practice stillness in your life right now!

1. Take Time to Reflect

How often do you find yourself just going through the motions of life and never looking back? While this is a good strategy to avoid harping on the negatives and reliving bad experiences, it also denies you the opportunity to reflect.

One of the best ways to practice stillness is by sitting down and reflecting on past events that have happened to you. Think about things that have happened, ideally happy moments, and think about what they meant to you and how they’ve changed you as a person for the better. Sitting in past circumstance can show that you have lived through other experiences and will again. Any negative memories won’t have control over you, despite thinking that way.

2. Focus on Gratitude and What You’re Thankful For

As humans, we spend a lot of time looking toward the future and constantly setting new goals. This is great for advancing yourself as a functioning member of society, but it’s also good to slow down a little and take a look around.

Take the time to think about what you do have currently in your life. This could be friends, family, physical items, and experiences you’ve had. Just focus on the positives that have happened in your life and identify what you’re thankful for and jot them down in a gratitude journal. Be sure to include yourself in this practice, either through actions that you have taken or something you have done for others, and who has done for you. This will enhance your self-esteem and confidence levels.

3. Just “Be”

How often do you just merely “exist” as a human? We’re talking about just sitting or lying there, not doing anything productive, not thinking about anything that’s going on in your life, and not distracted by your phone or other technology.

Take the time to just relax and do nothing. You can do it in your home or at your favorite place, but just focus on breathing, passing by any negative thoughts that might be lingering, and just work on the concept of existing. This is a boundary issue that is okay to be selfish at times. You will feel refreshed and recharged to face each daily.

4. Try Meditation

It’s hard to go a minute in your life without being stressed by something, let alone being stress-free for an hour or more. Therefore, it’s a great idea to proactively rid your mind of the stress you’re experiencing, at least for a little while.

Find a comfortable spot and play some soft music or a guided meditation track. Focus on taking deep breaths, clearing your mind of any lingering stress, and shifting your mind toward nothing (yes, nothing at all!). Start small, say two minutes, and work your way up. Meditation does not mean that you won’t have any thoughts but that you don’t have to do anything about them, thus leading to more peace.

5. Explore the World

When was the last time you went any further than 30 minutes away from the house (and not to go to work or the department store)? Now, think about the last time you actually went off the beaten path and explored nature a little bit.

You don’t have to go on a road trip or go anywhere further than the local hiking trails at the park. But, spend a little time engulfing yourself in the beauty of the world around you and you’ll begin to recognize that there’s much more to life than your own little world. This is a helpful practice if working from home – go outside on your lunch hour to connect with nature. Somehow, the air and change of scenery is a mood-lifter so you have more energy to face the day.

Final Thoughts

When you begin to actively practice stillness in your life, you’ll begin to notice that you feel much calmer than you normally do, which will reflect in your work. It takes a little bit of time and effort on your part, but this is honestly one of the best ways to achieve a sense of inner peace.

We focus on all things corporate, especially workplace stress. If you, or your employees, are struggling right now, why not schedule a call to see how we can help. We’re here for you!

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