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“It’s not just physical things anymore that are distracting us and dragging at our mindset and productivity… but it’s also these things in the ether: these ideas, these emails, these tweets. It’s nonstop.” - Josh Ellis
Entrepreneurship is never all rainbows and unicorns, doesn’t matter if it’s Jeff Bezos who started Amazon in his garage or Steve jobs in his father's basement.
Stress is real, and it's a struggle!
If you are a young blooded, energetic and a world-changing entrepreneur, then you must be familiar with this boogeyman known as “Stress”.
If you are jumbling across multiple projects, constantly overcoming failures, handling teams, strategizing things.
That’s a lot.
Coming to the real reason you're here – how to fly your way to a low-stress entrepreneurship path?
With a broader mindset, you can make the stress your friend.
The word “Stress” was coined by Hans Selye, it is referred to the interaction between a force and the resistance to counter that force, Hans Selye was the one who first incorporated this term into the medical idiom to describe the “nonspecific response of the body to any demand”.
You are energetic and lively when you manage clients and employees, but what about when it comes to managing stress? There is always a question mark.
Finding that sweet spot for your work-life balance is crucial.
Learning the best practices to accept your emotions and listening to the voice of your mind can help you draw a line between managing stress rather than ignoring it.
Reality check - current research suggests that the most searched term on health symptoms on Google across several countries is ‘Stress’ which can be a warning sign for your mind because it also needs “breaks” as much as you do.
It takes practise and mindset to manage stress even for entrepreneurs. Here are few ways you can start with.
Two out of five American’s say that they worry everyday. In the famous Ted Talk, Mc Gonigal, a health psychologist, discusses “how to make stress your friend ?”.
She mentioned a study done by Harvard says “Participants who learned to view their stress response as helpful for their performance, well! they were less stressed out, less anxious, more confident, But the most fascinating thing to me was how their physical response changed.”
She also mentioned that when oxytocin (the stress hormone) is released in the stress response, it’s somehow motivating you to notice and seek support from the people you care about.
In return, your stress response becomes strong and all it uses is; the power of human connection.
So, should you go to your loved ones and burst all your feelings out?
Sharing those sceptical feelings and then listening to what our friends and mentors have to contribute is strong and helps us to realize that:
“Entrepreneurship is hard, what you are doing is hard, if it was easy then everyone would have done it”.
It’s a no brainier. It’s so common that it has become a cliche. As an entrepreneur, taking care of your body is fundamental because “Our body is the only place we live in”.
Thousands of research and studies have shown improved alertness, reducing fatigue and enhancing overall cognitive ability as after-effects of workouts, your entrepreneurial mind feeds on these activities.
Let go of the hurdles and sweat it out, apps like headspace for a focused mind and building a routine plan for workouts has helped many entrepreneurs in reducing stress.
Choose the best time but do take out time.
"I rise a bit before four, I like to take the first hour and go through the user comments and things like that, and sort of focus on the external people that are so important to us”. “Then I go to the gym and work out for an hour because it keeps my stress away”- Tim Cook, Apple CEO.
Worry and stress are inside-out feelings, signing up for this wasn’t easy for you.
But being one in a million is courageous, reflecting on your “why” and taking a step back — seeing the bigger picture is how creative minds assess any blurry situation clearly.
In the book Decisive: how to make better choices in Life and work, Chip and Dan Sheth coined this term “spotlight” in their book which means:
“What’s in the spotlight will rarely be everything we need to make a good decision, but we won’t always remember to shift the light. Sometimes, in fact, we’ll forget there’s a spotlight at all, dwelling so long in the tiny circle of light that we forget there’s a broader landscape beyond it.”
Being said that, it means we are so enclosed with the bundle of information we have in front of our eyes that we fail to search for any new information.
Nobel Prize winning Psychologist Daniel Kahneman notes this tendency “what you see is all there is.”
As an entrepreneur, looking beyond your problems helps in getting a different perspective on the things that are going wrong.
As an entrepreneur, you can be busy at times but, to have that one hobby which gets your creative juices flowing is a eureka moment.
Research shows that people with hobbies and or those engaged in creativity are less likely to suffer from stress, low mood, and depression.
Hobbies that had a lasting impact on our minds, some of them were — song writing, creative writing , visual art, crochet and musical performances.
You don’t need to be an expert — what matters is, it should be enjoyable and meaningful for you. It reduces your stress level and your mind gets some fresh air to get back on track.
As Marie Forleo says “Don’t try to monetize all your passions and hobbies.”
But enjoy them for the peace of your mind.
"I find that surrounding myself with other entrepreneurs, whether through personal networks or professional ones, is the most effective way to not feel so lonely. It never ceases to amaze me how similar all of our stories are, whether it has to do with the challenges of balancing work and family, making decisions in our companies, or living a healthy lifestyle. Being able to share our experiences with one another allows me to get perspective on how other entrepreneurs have dealt, or are dealing, with similar struggles." Jeff Nazar, CEO, Comquest Osteopathic Specialists
Entrepreneurs are also humans seeking support from peers, people who work with us are as important as we can think. Social support is crucial in the time of mental stress. As per the studies, it enhances the ability to optimize the neuro chemical stress response.
It’s based on a few factors that need attention.
Network size and frequency of social interactions, functional dimension with emotional (such as receiving love ) and instrumental (practical help such as gifts) components.
Several researchers have found that functional dimension is a better predictor of good health than quantity of relationships.
The next time your mind says “You are the only one going through this”, go and meet your old homies from the last meetup. You can even start online, using forums like – startup threads or warrior forum.
In the world of competition and booming startups. The stress of expectations can be overwhelming but when you focus on smart-ways to reduce stress, you can
Exercise your entrepreneur chivalry with less unchecked boxes and more reality check boxes.
Don’t stress over "stressing".
You are doing great, keep taking breaks.
Meet your Entrepreneur fam and come back even stronger.