Stress Management Techniques for the Small Business Owner

Owning a small business comes with lots of perks…your own hours, being your own boss, and building something meaningful to you.

However, the work of managing and running a small business is also an incredibly stressful endeavor.  While stress is understandable, it’s important for your health to reduce tension and anxiety.   Neglecting  stress management and not taking care of yourself can cause health issues, which will prevent you from performing at your optimum level.

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The first step in managing stress is identifying the triggers that cause anxiety to occur.  By eliminating or cutting back on these situations, you will feel more calm and relaxed throughout the day.  For example, does a particular task, such as accounting, bother you?  Hiring an account will leave you with more time to manage other parts of the business, and relieve  the stress associated with managing finances.

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Ensuring that you are healthy, both mentally and physically will also reduce your daily stress. It’s important to learn these stress management techniques:

  • Get a good night’s sleep each night.
  • Focus on the positive – use simple mindset shifts for success.
  • Eat healthy, avoid greasy meals such as fast food.
  • Stay hydrated by maintaining adequate water intake.
  • Meditate and practice breathing exercises throughout the day.
  • Take vitamins and nutritional supplements, such as fish oil.
  • Relieve built up tension through exercise.
  • Keep your work environment well organized and clean.
  • Take a break from the electronic world.  Avoid your computer, tablet, smart-phone and TV and go get some fresh air.

In the end, remember that while stress is a normal part of running a business, it’s important to understand where the stress comes from.  Many entrepreneurs are too hard on themselves, constantly comparing their success to the success of others.  This may stem from fear of failure.  These emotions are healthy and normal, but ultimately cause unnecessary stress and anxiety.  Take it easy on yourself, laugh, and appreciate where you are and where you are going.  You’ve worked hard on starting up a business – it’s time to congratulate yourself.  

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Thom Torode is a Morris County based Executive & Business Coach. He has owned over 5 different businesses and is also a licensed facilitator and co-principal for Elevate Your Leaders in NJ. When not helping business owners and their teams create the business and lives they want and need, he can be found following his kids activities.

Sunrise Business Advisors can be reached at 862-219-6890 or info@SBAnow.com

 

 

Does Your Business Need a Laugh Break?

Does Your Business Need a Laugh Break?

Thom Torode, MBA (1 of 3)

 laugh breaks are the best medicine

The idea that laughter promotes good health first received widespread attention through Norman Cousins’s 1979 best-seller, Anatomy of an Illness. But centuries earlier, astute observers had ascribed physical benefits to humor. Thomas Sydenham, a seventeenth-century British physician, once observed: “The arrival of a good clown into a village does more for its health than 20 asses laden with drugs.”

Does your business need a laugh break? Executives and managers today are increasingly acknowledging that laughter is good not only for personal health and well-being, but for career success and overall workplace wellness as well. Around the office, laughter can motivate and facilitate team building, improve stress management, and increase productivity and morale.

In other words, business can (and should) be a laughing matter.

Here’s what the American Association for Therapeutic Humor, composed of more than 600 health care professionals who study the effects of humor on humans, is discovering:

Laughter decreases the amount of stress hormones in the body, activates the cells that boost the immune system and increases the activity of natural killer cells that go after tumor cells and fight viruses.

  • Three minutes of deep belly laughing is the equivalent of three minutes on a fitness rowing machine. This kind of laughing also releases anti-depressant mood chemicals.
  • By the time a child reaches kindergarten, he or she is laughing some 300 times a day. Compare that to the typical adult who, one study found, laughs a paltry 17 times a day.
  • When you laugh, your heart rate goes up, bringing more blood and oxygen to the brain. You also breathe faster, expanding your lungs.
  • Laughter increases production of catecholmanines, which increases the level of alertness, memory, and ability to learn and create.
  • After you laugh, you go into a relaxed state. Your blood pressure and heart rate drop below normal, so you feel profoundly relaxed.

So with all their prods and wires and gizmos and gauges, professionals are telling us what we knew all along: when we laugh we feel better. It doesn’t take much to reach the conclusion that all this extra brain power and relaxation leads to enhanced performance at work.

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Look for pt 2 on some additional benefits.  In the mean time check out this page for your own laugh break of the day.

Stress Less Communication at Work – Success in 5.5 Steps!

What would your work day be like if you had Stress Less Communication at work? 

Think about this scenario:

You’re in the break room with a colleague, when he looks over and asks, “Do you always butter your bread that way?”

Ha, ha, you laugh. But inside, your story is going like this: Who does he think he is, Mr. Manners? What’s wrong with the way I butter my bread? Jerk. He’s always so critical.

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Freeze frame.

If something as minor as buttering bread can provoke such feelings of defensiveness, imagine what can happen with more important issues at work.

What happens, says Sharon Ellison, M.S., is essentially war. Ellison, founder of Powerful Non-Defensive Communication, teaches that the way we communicate with each other uses the same principles and tactics we would use in physical combat, based on the belief that we must protect ourselves by being defensive. As soon as we feel any threat, either of not getting what we want or of being harmed or put down in some way, we choose from among the three basic defensive war maneuvers: surrender, withdrawal or counterattack.

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The myth, says Ellison, is that defensiveness will protect us, that to be open is to be vulnerable and weak. On the contrary, it is being defensive that weakens us. If the people you work with can’t rely upon your keen assessment of your role in a given situation they won’t trust you as much.

In a corporate setting, defensiveness can result in power struggles and unnecessary, destructive conflicts. And if you are defensive with customers and clients, you are more likely to lose them.

While you’re busy defending yourself, there’s also not much room for meaningful contact with others. Nor can you learn from their feedback or from your own mistakes. Your defensiveness hurts you the most.

Despite clear advantages to non-defensiveness, the opposite is pervasive. Ellison estimates that we use 95% of our communications energy being defensive. She describes the six most common defensive reactions as follows:

Surrender-Betray. We give in but defend the person’s mistreatment of us, taking the blame ourselves.

Surrender-Sabotage. We cooperate outwardly but undermine the person in some way. Passive-aggressive behavior falls into this category.

Withdrawal-Escape. We avoid talking to someone by not answering, leaving the room or changing the subject.

Withdrawal-Entrap. We refuse to give information as a way to trap the other person into doing something inappropriate or making a mistake.

Counterattack-Justify. We let someone know she is wrong to be upset with us, explaining our own behavior and making excuses.

Counterattack-Blame. We attack or judge the other to defend ourselves.

To curb your own defensive reactions, consider these 5.5 steps to Stress Less Communication.

  1. If you feel criticized, rather than reacting or retreating, take a deep breath, tell yourself that it’s only feedback and just listen. You can correct the record later, if necessary.
  2. Consider if there is a kernel of truth in the criticism. If there is, acknowledge it and work to improve in that area. Your willingness to acknowledge when you’re wrong inspires colleagues, clients and management to feel confident in you.
  3. Realize that sometimes people’s criticisms are all about the “story” they have made up around a situation. Try not to take it personally or as your responsibility.
  4. When someone uses the words “always” and “never,” ignore those words and focus instead on the rest of the message.
  5. Listen for the (usually) hidden need expressed in a person’s complaint or anger, acknowledge the need, and then see whether there is something you can do to meet it. For instance, when a customer is complaining about your “defective” product, what he may need is to feel stable and secure, in this instance, to be able to rely upon your product. Address that need in a clear and compassionate manner and you regain not only his confidence, but his loyalty as well.

5.5 Call us for your leadership communication assessment for Stress Less Communication at work, NOW!

Changing how we communicate as individuals—learning that we can protect ourselves and have greater influence without using defensiveness—can not only dramatically shift our professional and personal relationships, but can also improve the bottom line.

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Thom Torode is a professionally certified business and executive coach, he has also earned his MBA and has been the owner of over 5 business.  He is currently the managing director for Sunrise Capital Group, LLC and Inspirance, LLC.  We specialize in helping organization have stress-less communication. Additionally, Thom and his partner Jeff are co-principals for Actuate Performance a licensee for Elevate Your Leaders.  They are currently interviewing high performance managers for their next 12 month program. 

Call them at 862-219-6890 for an interview.

www.SunriseBusinessAdvisors.com

Author’s content used under license, © 2011 Claire Communications