5 Strategies to Control Stress and Boost Productivity
Your alarm goes off, and you wake up. For a moment, you’re disoriented. Then you remember that it’s a workday. Oh no! You’d give anything to pull the covers over your head again. You hate your job, and your life. You’re beyond stressed: you’re heading into depression, and you know it. Productivity is impossible with low spirits and energy.
There is an alternative to blah mornings. What if you woke up feeling great, and couldn’t wait to blitz through your day? You can’t avoid stress, but you can channel it. Use the adrenaline of stress and transform it from desperation to enthusiasm.
These five strategies will help you to control your stress and become more productive.
1. Control Your Mind. Focus on Your Ideal Life: Make it Real.
What if you could have and be anything you chose? What would your ideal life look like?
Close your eyes for a moment, and imagine a day in your ideal life. It’s morning. You open your eyes. What do you see? Look around you. Get up, and go to the window. What’s outside?
Do This Now: Write down your impressions of your ideal day. Do the same exercise tomorrow. Imagine it, then write it down.
2. Be Spontaneous. Trust Your Intuitive Insights.
You’re the result of your ancestors’ intuition. Those puny humans stayed alive despite savage bears and saber-toothed tigers by relying on their instincts. Everyone has a “gut instinct.” Allow your instincts to guide you. Scientists take intuition seriously, and so should you.
Your intuition lives in your body. Neuroscience researchers say that you should pay attention to what your body tells you, then act. Has your “still small voice within” been trying to tell you something? Your intuition can be persistent. It can also occur as a flash of insight.
Many years ago, before Amazon and the Internet, I spent months looking for a book I needed. The book was long out of print. While visiting a client in another state, I had a strong urge to walk down a street. I was already late, but I obeyed my intuition anyway. At the end of the street, I found a small bookshop. I walked into the store, directly to a shelf in a dark corner—right to the book I wanted.
Do This Now: Take a deep breath. Close your eyes. Direct your attention to an area of your body. Any area which catches your attention will do. Perhaps it’s your belly, your chest, or even one of your arms. Just let your attention rest there for a moment.
This simple exercise helps you to pay more attention to your body. It’s a meditative technique. Use it often. It helps you to become more conscious of what’s happening in your body. You’ll become more aware of intuitive insights.
3. Be Grateful.
Gratitude makes you happy. It can even improve your health and lead to better relationships. Most of us have lots to be thankful for. If you’re feeling blah, think of one thing, past or present, for which you can be grateful. Everyone has something. You don’t need to wait for the Thanksgiving holiday to give thanks. You can do it every day.
Develop the habit of thankfulness and your life will improve because whatever you focus on becomes stronger.
Do This Now: Think about your blessings for two minutes. Write down three things you’re grateful for.
4. Eat Better, Exercise, and Sleep for at Least Seven Hours.
If you’re eating junk, and never exercise, you can’t feel well because you’re not providing your body and brain with the fuel they need.
Do This Now: Commit to a healthy diet. Eat the things you know are good for you: protein, fruit, and vegetables. Want junk food? You can have your pizza, but eat your salad first.
When you get home from work, walk around the block. Then, go to bed earlier, so that you get at least seven hours of sleep a night.
You’ll feel the benefits immediately.
5. Accept Yourself, Just as You Are.
If you have a strong inner critic, self-acceptance is impossible. This lack of self-acceptance results in low self-esteem, but you can change this. Metta meditation can help you to greater self-esteem, by developing your qualities of love and compassion, for others, and for yourself.
Do This Now: Think of someone, or something you love. I think of my Jack Russell terrier, Honey. Allow feelings of tenderness and affection to arise. Where are they in your body? You may feel a sensation of expansion and warmth in your chest.
Now direct the feelings of love to yourself, and wish yourself well. Say silently: “May I be happy.”
Give our five strategies a try. Allow your intuition to guide you on how to do this. You may choose a strategy a day, or one a week. Each strategy will help you to eliminate the blahs from your life. Not too many mornings from now you’ll wake each morning overflowing with excitement and enthusiasm. You’ll be happy and will increase your productivity, so that you blitz through your days.