The Blog

How to Stress Less - What Stresses You Out?

As an entrepreneur, therapist, husband, father of two and fitness fanatic, I think it's fair to say that I have a fairly pressure sensitive lifestyle, and fully understand the working pressures and difficulties that most men have when it comes toto achieve a work-life-balance.

It's suggested that over 70% of men experience stress related symptoms on a daily basis...

I recently asked my followers: What stresses you out?

While I wasn't surprised with the mass volume of replies; the variety of answers and the number of men who failed to take action to rid those stressors was significantly higher than anticipated. My conclusion was; that either they were completely unaware of the benefits of simple lifestyle alterations, or they couldn't be bothered to do anything about it.

As an entrepreneur, therapist, husband, father of two and fitness fanatic, I think it's fair to say that I have a fairly pressure sensitive lifestyle, and fully understand the working pressures and difficulties that most men have when it comes to "attempting" to achieve a work-life-balance.

I accept that with modern demands to deliver and be an-all-to-everyone, there seems little time at the end of the week to dedicate to personal growth and some well-deserved R&R, because of these limitations it's no surprise that so many men consider themselves stressed, but this being said, there are some things that you can do.

Caveat: providing you are ready to take a long hard, honest look at your life and actually take the action needed - Change nothing and nothing will change it's as simple as that.

If you're stress levels have peaked, you've noticed an increase in negative emotions or you just want to take preventative measures, then here are some of my top tips for managing stress. Remember stress is completely natural, it's how long you hold onto the stress that becomes the biggest failing.

Tip 1: Write down what makes you stressed.

If something irritates you and raises your stress levels then get it down on paper and act upon it. There is something to be said for getting thoughts, emotions and stressors down in black and white. The sooner you release those thoughts from your mind the sooner you'll be able to work on a resolution plan.

It can be a good idea to rank stress between 1 and 10, with 10 being the worst (boiling point) and 1 being mildly uncomfortable (shrug it off).

Once you've got those thoughts down, research ways to make it better, if you're overweight and lacking in fitness then take the action today to do something about it, if you're late on repayments then call the lender and arrange a plan of action. The longer you delay the inevitable the worse the situation. The absolute choice to improve is yours.

Tip 2: Explore your past for the solution.

One thing I would usually avoid doing when looking at any form of positive change is to look to the past for the solution, however when it comes to stress the past offers some really good clues about what happened, and when stress levels became heightened.

Exploration exercise: close your eyes and visualize these past situations, if they are too painful then see yourself as the third person floating above, see yourself as you are...perhaps whisper relaxing or calming words to the "seen" you...and as you do...notice how you become more relaxed...calm and able to deal with that situation without stress, anxiety but with added confidence...with a smile...being completely stress free...

Although this may dig-up unwanted thoughts and emotions, the concept behind the short visit will identify times where stress wasn't a factor within your life, simply by picturing those environments or people that made you happy.

Use visualization to document all of the things that changed, from the "not" stressful time to the "stressful" time and run your life as a parallel, noting what adjustments you can implement to reduce the stress triggers.

Tip 3: Size doesn't matter when it comes to stress.

With heightened levels of stress comes the sense of failure - comparing yourself to others generally increases and a demoralizing thought process starts. These momentary lapses of concentration do nothing for your ability to regain the control of your life. Whether stresses at work, home or in general, stress will reduce your confidence levels and blur your overall picture of life and what it has to offer - often referring to life as "being a little too much".

If you find yourself slipping into a "his life is better than mine" then it's time to stop and list all the great things that you have in yours. There will always be someone with a better car, bigger house, nicer office and finer tailor, avoid wasting any precious energy on these comparisons it will bring about nothing positive - your life is yours if you're not happy then change it, otherwise make the steps required to regain control on stress levels.

Tip 4: Have a mindful detox.

Hypnosis, meditation and all mindful relaxation techniques are a great way to level out your emotions and clear out unwanted "stuff". We've all heard of the Buddhist- teaching whereby the master continues to fill a cup until the disciple shouts "Stop, stop! The cup is full; you can't get anymore in."

When you feel your stress levels on the rise, stop what you are doing, close your eyes and take 5 long deep breaths, on the outward breath notice how your shoulders, neck and back relax. Once you've finish those 5, take a further 5, this time on the inward breath smiling and releasing any tension within the muscles around your face...and for a further 20 breaths, noticing the rise and fall of the chest...

View your mind as a something that has limited storage; so start clearing out all those unhelpful, unsupportive or restrictive values and beliefs. If you need additional support then reach out, there is nothing shameful in asking for help - leave your ego at home.

Tip 5: Do you have a legacy?

I often refer to the mind being like a heat seeking missile, needing clear and specific direction on what and where it is heading. If you lack a legacy then now is the time to establish one, a legacy is what will guide and offer you the all-important structure needed to reduce stress levels.

Think about it this way, how can you expect your body and mind to know where it's going if you haven't given it a long-term destination. Spend some time over the coming days giving conscious "true" thoughts over what you really want to achieve in life, perhaps draw it out on a timeline with certain achievements signifying progress.

Tip 6: Be grateful for what you have and not for what you don't.

It can be a common practice to think about what you don't have and forget what you do; this isn't a great thinking strategy to adopt. Living in this negative thinking state simply highlights and reconfirms the reasons why you should be stressed at every opportunity. Choose to focus on everything positive in your life and work towards some micro-achievements that contribute towards your legacy.

Create a couple of motivational affirmations that will remind you to be grateful. Keep these in your wallet or pin them to the fridge, as a constant reminder as to the reasons why you should be grateful for those you have in your life.

Tip 7: Plan some R&R...

My life is manic, I have several businesses, children at home, two dogs and an active social life, but I ensure that I book in time to take some time out, because without it I wouldn't be able to function at my peak.

Get your yearly planner and rule out some time for you to get away, this could be somewhere overseas or local, it's the planned time out that will provide a sense of purpose to your working week.

Rest and recuperation can be anything for you that will reduce stress levels and allow you to rationalise the reasons why you're struggling with stress. It's only when you're fully relaxed that you can apply logic to your life and implement a stress management plan.

To summarise - remember do-nothing-and-nothing-will-change, implement small changes to your life and you'll notice your stress levels reduce within just a couple of days - the choice is yours...

Benjamin has a proven track record in getting to the root of any problem in high-speed timing; his no-nonsense approach towards change has made him the leading choice with A-List Celebrities and International Athletes. Benjamin's Hypnotherapy and Coaching clinics run most weeks from Central London and the South Coast. If you're struggling with fears, phobias or are in need of weight related support then you can email him today

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