You Need This 7-Step Action Plan to Stop Stress in its Tracks

Aha Moment: Gain control over stress by being prepared.

Good leaders travel light.

Just as a lighter suitcase helps you to navigate a crowded airport more efficiently, the less stress you carry around will help you to navigate life.

In fact, how you manage stress is a predictor of how productive you will be.

Everyone has stress, but do you ever wonder how some people seem to handle it so well?

It so often knocks you for a loop for a specific reason: You’re not expecting it!

For example: You find out at 11 p.m. that you have an 8 a.m. meeting the next morning and you’re the one who’s in charge.

If you aren’t prepared for the unexpected you’ll be in a constant state of tension.

But you don’t have to be.

Keeping three truths in mind can help you to deal with stress in a positive way:

  • It’s inevitable.
  • It has to be dealt with.
  • Being prepared makes all the difference.

Let’s look at the ways you can manage stress in order to be more effective and productive in your career.

1. Anticipate problems

We plan for success but we forget to plan for failure.

You’re usually aware of all the things that could go wrong but stop there  –  never getting past the point of worrying.

The key is to know ahead of time how you would handle different scenarios that could come up.

There is comfort in preparedness!

2. Have coping mechanisms

A coping mechanism is anything that you do in a time of stress that puts your mind at ease.

For some people, it may be taking a long walk, while others are soothed by a cookie and some Starbucks.

Have your coping mechanism, whatever it is, in place before the pressure sets in.

3. Neutralize stress

When you change the way you look at stress, you can smile at it.

Are you wondering how you could possibly get to that point?

Here’s the trick: Look at each situation as a challenge.

See it as an opportunity for learning and growth.

Mentally shift the situation from something that’s going to sink you to a battle you will win.

4. Be a superhero

Sometimes, a situation seems so confounding that it requires the energy and mentality of a superhero.

When Batman sees the Bat Signal in the sky, does he wring his hands and pace the floors of his mansion, lamenting how he could ever conquer whatever evil foe is wreaking havoc on the streets of Gotham City?

No! He puts on his Bat Suit and he gets to work.

You can look at your stressful situations in the same way.

It’s all about your psyche and being mentally prepared to face whatever comes your way.

If it helps, give yourself a superhero nickname and a theme song!

You’ve got this, Debbie the Do-er! Mighty Mike!

5. Call for backup

You don’t have to go it alone, so why even try?

It’s okay to ask for help  –  whether it’s from a personal friend or professional!

But you have to make the choice to ask for help when you need it.

It’s important that you have a go-to support team already in place for those times when you need some backup.

There’s no shame in it, but rather the opposite is true.

A good leader knows when they could use some assistance and they aren’t ashamed to ask for it.

6. Have a benchmark

There are certain scenarios that are common to whatever work you do.

These aren’t unexpected but they’re still stress-inducing.

Think about how you’ve dealt with recurring issues in the past or how others have successfully resolved these same issues and apply those strategies. Always have a toolbox with proven techniques to use at your disposal when dealing with stress.

7. Put it in perspective

Keeping the right focal point will help you to view the stress you face in the right light.

Give the situation the gravity it deserves, but don’t go overboard.

Expecting the unexpected is key

Preparation and planning give you power over your stress.

A good leader understands that knowing how to handle it when it comes makes all the difference.

Do you have a go-to person or activity that helps you put your stress into perspective?