Mynd.Works - Anxiety Treatment Canberra

Top 10 Tips for Less Seasonal Stress

The festive holidays will soon be upon us and this period is almost always among the top 20 most stressful events of life – sometimes as high as fifth or sixth.

Other events are infrequent  (deaths, marriage, divorce and even house moves), but Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, Las posadas and even New Year stress comes around with great regularity!

At a time when advertising bombards us with scenes of joyous family gatherings, and we’re expected to be in a perpetual state of celebration, it can feel shameful to confess to others that the whole thing fills you with dread.

However much fun this time is traditionally meant to be, there is no doubt that the festive season brings frustration and stress – even for the kids!

here are my Top 10 Tips for Reducing seasonal Stress:

 These tips mainly reference Christmas, but will help in all situations.

1) not Too Much

You’re not superhuman! If you’ve already agreed to host your own party and go to a further 3, do you really need to accept extra invitations?

You need time to rest as well as have fun.  Build in plenty of down-time, time to flop around and chill out. If you are reading this and thinking, “No chance!” then that merely emphasises just how much you do need to build it in.

So, insist upon it. Everyone will benefit if you have more energy at the key moments.

 

2) Plan Ahead

Buying presents over a few months takes away the stress of having to find them all at once and also spreads the financial burden.  It’s atmospheric to shop when the lights are in the shops and it can be fun, to buy a last special present on Christmas Eve – but you don’t have to do all of your present buying in December.

It’s also not wise to wait too long for something that’s likely to sell out.  It can be extremely stressful to find that an important present is out of stock everywhere.

 

3) Buy Online

Checkout queues can be a really stressful, some people even suffer trolley rage.  It’s possible to order food, drink and gifts for delivery to your house if you get in quickly enough.

The delivery charge is worth it for the loss of stress!  Do it early or you’ll worry about whether it will arrive in time or not.

 

4) Remember nothing’s Perfect

You don’t have to be Ebenezer Scrooge to acknowledge that, while there is the perfect Christmas tune (Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You – don’t look at me like that, it must be, based on the neverending airtime it comands ), there is no such thing as a perfect Christmas.

You’re not responsible for everyone’s happiness.

It might be your job to cook the dinner and pick the presents, but if Aunt Flo is in an awful mood, or Grandma insists on watching 3 hours of continuous soaps and upsets everyone else, it’s not your fault.

Although, you can help to set the atmosphere, essentially people will make up their own minds whether they’re going to be in the festive spirit or not.  Which brings us nicely to…

 

 

5) Be Responsible

Alcohol is either a friend or an enemy depending how you treat it.  Entertaining can be so stressful that many people like to have a small drink just as it’s about to swing into action.

This can be relaxing and can help you to feel jolly – creating a festive atmosphere.  Of course, this does mean just a tipple… a drunken host or hostess is not a good idea!

If you’re cooking, why not get someone else onto drinks?  They should make sure everyone has what they want without overdoing it.

Since tensions can be high, it’s not a good idea to get so drunk that you tell your sister exactly what you really think of her and her children!  That will greatly increase your stress for a long time to come!  This is less likely if you stick to an amount of alcohol you know you can handle well.

Parties are a great time to let your hair down, but it’s a good idea to drink soft drinks interspersed with the booze during the night and some water before bed.  Overdoing it will often ruin what was otherwise a great night, so one way of dealing with that is to say, “I am going to drink only 4 drinks tonight” (or whatever you know you can handle and not suffer the consequences).  If you plan it that way, then you will find you can stick to a sensible limit more easily.

 

6) The In-Laws

Or, as some call them, “the Outlaws.”  If you have wonderful ones then this is no problem at all – move on to the next item.  If yours are hard work, you may just have to accept that it may be a strain.

Knowing what has made it easier in the past can help, as can the notion that you can take 10 minutes out from time to time – agree this with your partner beforehand and work together as a tag-team.

 

7) keep it simple

Sometimes, less is more.  Although there are certain things you cannot avoid putting extra effort into at Christmas there may be others that are so stressful that they aren’t worth the payback.

Is it necessary to prepare every meal as a gourmet feast or to put up so many decorations that your house can be seen from space?  Even the kids may appreciate doing something lower key for some of the holiday.  If they don’t chill out at some point, there will be tantrums.

 

8)   Time to Relax

Speaking of chilling out, it’s important to have something stress-free planned.  Many people book a massage or spa session either just before or just after (or both if you have the time and money).

Perhaps a round of golf or playing some other sport can also do this – if it’s not too cold!  And of course, there is the Boxing Day sport schedule.

Counsellors often have very busy January’s when new clients want to unload the stresses they underwent over the Christmas period.  It can be good to unburden this to an empathic ear.

My own door is always open, book your FREE consultation here.

 

9)   Go For a Walk

It can be a relief to go for a walk on Christmas Day, Boxing Day or New Year’s Day.  It can be a blessed break from TV, relatives, broken toys and over-indulged stomachs! Getting out in nature, especially if there is festive weather can really help to lower stress levels.

 

10)   Having a Spiritual Moment

If you are a religious person it can be the highlight of Christmas to support your faith or go a Carol Service.  If you’re not, it can be calming just to enjoy the music in the malls or on street corners – take a minute to enjoy!

It can be great to escape the manic pace of shopping, find a cafe, grab a seat, pop in some headphones and listen to my FREE 7-min relaxation audio and lower your pulse rate.

The festive season can be such a happy time of celebration and connection. However, it can be a time of isolation, so reach out to others and check they’re okay.

If you do find Christmas stressful then remember keep this list handy and it might ease the burden.

wishing you a joyously festive season.

Mynd.Works - Anxiety Treatment Canberra

5 Ways to Stop Anxiety and Panic

What happens if you’re feeling anxious, about to panic but don’t have half an hour to calm down with meditation…

Here are some quick-fire ways to drop the ANXIETY and refocus your mind.

DISTRACTION

You’re in a queue in cafe, your coffee’s almost ready and suddenly, you’re overcome with anxiety. Did you remember to ask for a sugar in that drink? Do you ask for that sugar now… or when they give you the drink? Will you hold up the customer behind you? What if you need to visit the toilet, but your drink isn’t ready? What if your card doesn’t work at the checkout? What if that urgent call you’re expecting happens as you’re paying?

What if…? What if…? What if…?

Quickly stop your mind from derailing and find some things you can focus on. The idea behind this technique is to use all of your senses.

  • Look around – find objects, people, furniture, signposts… whatever you can see and focus on them. Notice shapes, colours and textures.
  • Listen – What sounds can you hear? Try to hear individual sounds and notice where they’re coming from.
  • Touch – What textures can you feel? Run your hands over your clothing, whatever you’re carrying or perhaps the closest piece of furniture or object. How does it feel? Hot, cold, smooth, textured?
  • Taste and Smell – What scents fill the air, can you separate individual smells or tastes.

Refocussing your senses helps drag you back into reality when your anxious thoughts have taken over everything.

A POSITIVE MEMORY

When I’m feeling low or something/someone has annoyed me, I find that I can usually turn things around by directing my mind away from the immediate situation and towards a thought or a memory of something that made me smile or feel good.

It takes a bit of practice beforehand, but if you’re forearmed with some examples… that time you heard that baby laughing and started chuckling yourself. That funny show you watched on Netflix, you know the one; The comedian on YouTube that had you in stitches or those funny cat and dog movies.

Sometimes, to get out of feeling down or anxious, think of something that made you smile or laugh and focus on it until you feel your anxiety drop.

SO WHAT?

Ask yourself in your head if there’s any REAL evidence to support your anxiety and if there is, what’s the worst that can actually happen? Will holding up the customer behind you be the worst thing in the world? If your card is declined, use cash or explain that you’ll go to the nearest cash machine. Try to rationalise the situation. Is worrying about what might happen going to actually help or stop it from happening? Can you change anything? If so, do it… if not, move on!

NUMBERS

This one’s a great one. When you catch yourself feeling anxious quickly attempt to recall your phone number… backwards!

That’s right, forwards isn’t usually a problem, but backwards gets you thinking. If you want to have fun, try repeating the alphabet backwards, or your address. Anyway to get your brain into analytical mode will steer it quickly away from anxiety.

 

NIP TO THE LOO

If there’s one near and the situation allows for it, nip off for a quick toilet break. Even if you don’t ‘need’ it, a toilet break will give you a quick time-out to take a breather.

You can even do the other techniques at the same time. It can help just to get a bit of quiet clarity before returning a little less overwhelmed.

What other quick ways help reduce anxiety when you have no time?

Take advantage of my FREE stress-reducing MP3 download by clicking here.

Or join over 30,000 others and listen to my FREE short meditation exercises on INSIGHT TIMER.

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7 Effective Stress-Busting Techniques for Salespeople

If you’re in sales, you’ll be aware of just how stressful your days can be. This article from TENFOLD gives you 7 effective techniques to reduce that daily stress.

Your alarm clock goes off for the nth time this morning. Snooze button abused.

You’re late for work — so you miss breakfast and grab a coffee on the way – which, of course, you spill on your suit.

Arrive at the office, sit down and start calling customers who just aren’t too enthusiastic about your company’s offer. You try your best to strike up new leads, do everything you can to keep the sale on the line, and then all of a sudden, the client decides to go to your biggest competitor instead. You keep on going, mindful of the weekly, monthly and yearly quotas that you need to meet to keep your family well-provided for.

If you’re a sales professional, chances are you’ve experienced this scenario at least once in your career. While salespeople are often expected to be lively and energetic at all times, the long hours, the growing list of responsibilities and the pressure to meet quotas can all add up and take its toll.

In fact, sales professionals are considered by some experts as highly overworked.

“As technology automates much of the function, there is simply no need for a human interface,” said Roy, a career coach and author of The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide. “Since the products are now not much more than commodities, sales people are seeing shrinking spreads and fewer opportunities to generate rich commissions.”

More stress= less sales?

We all know that too much stress is bad. It can make us overeat, sleep too much or too little, lose focus, and if left untreated can lead to diseases like diabetes, hypertension and other cardiovascular illnesses.

But did you know that apart from its ill-effects on your personal health, stress also has economic consequences? An article released by the Farleigh Dickinson University shows that “workplace stress costs U.S. employers an estimated $200 billion per year in absenteeism, lower productivity, staff turnover, workers’ compensation, medical insurance and other stress-related expenses.”

In particular, skyrocketing stress levels have detrimental effects on a company’s sales force. According to The Oxford Handbook of Strategic Sales and Sales Management, sales reps who experience stress on a regular basis “tend to be less involved in their jobs, less committed to the organization, and to experience lower levels of work and life satisfaction. These salespeople do not perform as well and are more likely to leave the organization.”

In short, high-stress levels among your sales team can lead to unmet targets and decreasing sales figures, which can trigger even more stress. Before you know it, you’ll have a burned out sales force and a company on the verge of collapse. It’s a vicious cycle—and decisive steps need to be taken to stop it.

Here are some proven stress-busting techniques for salespeople:

  1. Understand the 4 A’s.

Stress often stems from feeling out of control—you become anxious or afraid because it seems as if you cannot control the situation or its outcomes. As such, the first step to beating stress comes from recognizing that you do have control—you can control how you respond to a problem.

Stress management experts from the Mayo Clinic suggest the 4A’s approach in dealing with stress, wherein you can choose to alter, avoid, accept, or adapt to any given situation.

Alter: Sometimes changing the situation is the most promising strategy. Let’s say you are always stressed when you are going to be late for a meeting. Change the situation by setting an alarm so you will leave five or ten minutes earlier, depending on the traffic. Your stress levels will most likely decrease once you’ve had ample time to prepare for your meeting, and are confident that you’ll arrive early enough to make a good impression.

Avoid: Believe it or not, sometimes avoiding a potentially stressful situation altogether is the way to go. For example, you might have a persistent caller who repeatedly calls to ask for unreasonable discounts or complains about the company’s services despite your previous attempts to resolve the issue. Avoid the situation by learning how to say no. You might say “I understand how you feel, but I will not [or cannot] provide you with a 70% discount off your monthly subscription rates.” Take note however, that avoiding the situation is only valid if there are no or limited repercussions to you and to the company.

Accept: There are things, like taxes, that we simply cannot alter or avoid. This is where the art of graceful acceptance needs to come in. For example, you need to accept that despite all of your efforts, there are always going to be leads that reject your offer or that there are always going to be clients who are fickle and extremely difficult to deal with. Learning to accept these as a part of your job makes it easier for you to anticipate and handle stressful situations.

Adapt: Wayne Dwyer once said “the activity of worrying keeps you immobilized”. Learn how to adapt to the situation by looking at the bigger picture. For instance, you might be worried about a particular caller that you had difficulty handling. Stop and ask yourself, will this matter to me in a month? What about a year? If the answer is no, and as long as you try your best to improve your call-handling skills, stop worrying.

  1. Be flexible.

Good salespeople are resilient, in the sense that they are able to handle stressful situations, look for a silver lining and turn their mistakes into learning opportunities. One key aspect of developing resilience is by learning how to be more flexible—developing your ability to take a stressful situation and use it to your advantage.

Let’s say that after years of working on the day shift, your supervisor has suddenly decided to move you to the graveyard shift. Instead of resisting the change, look for positive aspects (you’ll be able to set daytime appointments, you won’t have to deal with rush hour traffic, you’ll most likely receive additional compensation), and make appropriate arrangements (look for a nearer place to stay, connect with others who are on the same shift, etc.) that will help you make the transition easier.

  1. Live well.

Your overall physical well-being plays a huge role in determining your capacity to beat workplace stress. Basically, eating healthy food, getting enough sleep and taking the time to exercise can go a long way to making you feel refreshed and invigorated. Some tips to living healthy include:

  • Stretch your muscles when you feel tired; use your chair or desk as a prop.
  • Walk to the cafeteria instead of getting food delivered during lunch hour.
  • Limit your coffee intake to two cups a day.
  • Get enough sleep, 8 hours a day is ideal. Listen to soothing sounds or use blinds to help you fall asleep when you need to.

Avoid too much alcohol, sweets or carbonated beverages. Snack on fruits and nuts instead.

If you’re having trouble sticking to your exercise goals, find a buddy who can join and motivate you.

  1. Make it a team effort.

Busting stress in the workforce can only be successful if it’s done by the entire team. Cultivating a sense of camaraderie and cooperation among your sales reps can help in making them feel more relaxed and capable in handling stressful situations. For example, after a conversation with a difficult client, you might want to take a break and talk with some friendly colleagues. Having a consistent support group can help you gain perspective and reassurance and will lessen your stress levels.

  1. Get organized.

Chaos in your physical space can contribute to your stress. Some of the things you can do to make your workspace more productive and less stressful include:

  • Keeping your desk organized. Use file folders, baskets, or containers – whatever you need to do to keep things neat. It can also be helpful to group like items together.
  • Clearing up clutter on your computer. Make sure your electronic files mirror your hard copies, and that you have a way of keeping things organized. Don’t just throw everything onto the desktop or into My Documents. Use tools to manage your email.
  • Using to-do lists. Have a notebook or a document where you can list all of your tasks for the day and tick off those that you’ve accomplished. This will help you prioritize tasks and make you feel more productive at the end of the day.
  1. Learn to relax.

The simplest way to kick out stress is by learning to sit back and relax. You don’t have to go on a three-week vacation to do this, there are some simple ways by which you can loosen up and unwind, even while sitting at your desk. Some of them include:

    • Breathing exercises. One of the most effective ways to eliminate stress is by regulating your breathing via the 4×4 breathing exercise. This involves closing your eyes and sitting up straight while keeping both feet firmly on the floor. Inhale through your nose for four counts; hold your breath for four counts, exhale through your mouth for four counts, then wait for four seconds. Afterward, repeat the entire process for four times. According to psychologist Judith Tutin, “Deep breathing works by slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure.”
    • Listening to music. Music has the power to soothe or to give us energy. Find a type of music that relaxes you and play it when you need to calm down. When you fell tired and listless, play some upbeat tunes, instead of drinking coffee, to give you a pick-up.
    • Simple massage techniques. Holding a fingertip to the point of most pain or tension and pressing very hard into the offending muscle for up to a minute can avert a headache or relieve tension. You can also use aromatherapy oils to help relieve headaches and calm you down.
  1. Take time off.

A vacation represents a time of well-deserved rest. Make the most out of this by unplugging yourself from social media or other electronic devices that can remind you of workplace stress. Taking the time off to do things that you enjoy (be it cooking, playing sports, fishing, or simply enjoying a glass of wine in your living room), spending time with people who invigorate and inspire you (mentors, family and friends), or just being by yourself, can go a long way towards providing you relief and helping you win the war over stress.