BURNOUT & You’re Going to Run Into Anxiety and Burnout. Here Are 7 Strategies to Cope With It

By Marcek Schwantes, Inc. Magazine, 3/21/16.

In 2013, author Jessica Bruder documented the emotional and mental brutality that comes with being a founder, in her prolific and shocking Inc. report, The Psychological Price of Entrepreneurship. It was a wake-up call for entrepreneurs everywhere.

There is a price to pay for being a founder. For some, anxiety, burnout and depression bring them to their knees. For others, the ultimate price brings them six feet under, as documented by the high-profile suicides in Bruder’s report.

There is an unwanted stigma that comes with being a founder with mental health issues. No entrepreneur leading the way wants to be perceived as incompetent, mentally-ill or “damaged goods.”

So, shame and isolation kicks in, causing many to fly below the radar, preventing themselves from seeking the help they need to cope with their troubles.

This is a serious issue. A study by Dr. Michael Freeman, a clinical professor at University of California, San Francisco, reported that nearly half — yes, half — of all entrepreneurs surveyed suffered from things like anxiety and depression…

Here are some simple techniques that have worked for me over the years.

What To Do

1. Do not isolate – find community.

Firs off, you have to believe that you are not alone in this, and have everything you need to go into battle — resources, support groups, counselors and coaches, fellow peers, family members, friends…

2. Be totally present with your feelings.

Don’t condemn or deny your feelings — it is how you feel and they are legitimate! After positive reframing to your doomsday scenario, and coming to terms with how you feel, work towards changing how you deal with these emotions before they consume you.

3. Journal to release your emotions.

Cancel that meeting, put the “do not disturb” sign on your door, and journal about your fears and worries. Then process what you wrote, and put an action plan together about how you will cope with those emotions.

4. Accept that some things are beyond your control.

Okay, so you’re the controlling type who thinks the world is accountable to you. STOP! Many times, your worries are a direct result of the fact that you’re not in control of the people, things, and situations in your life or business…

5. Lean on your faith, or something greater than you.

Understanding that you can’t and shouldn’t control everything, and releasing your worries to your Higher Power (or whatever you call your god/God) is the best answer to give you peace, relief, and a sense of freedom. As I once heard, “let go and let God.”

6. Pursue activities that bring you peace.

Get involved in an activity that’s enjoyable; something that will bring you back that bounce in your step. What is it that you love to do? What brings you peace? Hint: Think hobbies or exercise. I often take the lunch hour to swim as it releases endorphins.

7. Practice Mindfulness

A growing body of research in neurosciencesuggest that mindfulness is one of the best-kept secrets for entrepreneurs to deal with anxiety.

You can practice it by intentionally putting the focus on your emotions, accepting in a non-judgmental way whatever thoughts and sensations you’re experiencing in the moment. This Harvard Business Review article shows you some excellent techniques.

Matt Tenney, author of Serve to Be Great: Leadership Lessons from a Prison, a Monastery, and a Boardroom, summarizes it like this:

We train our awareness so that we become less distracted by our own thinking, which allows us to enjoy our lives more, to be more present with people, and to see our world, both inner and outer, with greater clarity.

Read more at … http://www.inc.com/marcel-schwantes/youre-going-to-run-into-anxiety-and-burnout-here-are-7-strategies-to-cope-with-i.html

STRESS & Good Leaders Model Well-being Practices #TakeTimeOff

“Help Your Team Manage Stress, Anxiety, and Burnout” by Rich Fernandez, Harvard Business Review, 1/21/16.

… Model and encourage well-being practices.

Worker stress levels are rising, with over half of the global workforce (53%) reporting that they are closer to burnout than they were just five years ago, according to a Regus Group survey of over 22,000 business people across 100 countries. And while stress can be contagious, the converse is also true: when any member of a team experiences well-being, the effect seems to spread across the entire team. According to a recent Gallup research report that surveyed 105 teams over six three-month periods, individual team members who reported experiencing well-being were 20% more likely to have other team members who also reported thriving six months later. Takeaway: understand and prioritize activities that promote well-being for yourself and your team. They could include such things as offering personal development tools, like mindfulness and resilience training; explicitly encouraging people to take time for exercise or other renewal activities, such as walking meetings; or building buffer time into deliverables calendars so that people can work flexibly and at a manageable pace.

Allow time to disconnect outside of work.

According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, workers around the world spend 34 to 48 hours at work each week on average, and many engage in work or related activities after business hours. McKinsey Quarterlysuggests that “always-on, multitasking work environments are killing productivity, dampening creativity, and making us unhappy.” And one of the most significant findings in employee pulse surveys that I’ve seen in companies large and small is that employees have an exceptionally hard time disconnecting from work…

Read more at … https://hbr.org/2016/01/help-your-team-manage-stress-anxiety-and-burnout

STRESS & Research Shows Count Your Blessings Daily to Overcome It

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: We all sense that focusing on the positive will reduce stress. But researchers writing in the Academy of Management Journal found that even just “counting your blessings at the end of day” can improve employee morale, alleviate stress, increase productivity and make a happier workplace. Here is the abstract and a link to download the full article.

Building Positive Resources: Effects of Positive Events and Positive Reflection on Work Stress and Health

Authors

  1. Joyce E. Bono1,
  2. Theresa M. Glomb2,
  3. Winny Shen3,
  4. Eugene Kim4 and
  5. Amanda J. Koch5
  1. 1University of Florida
  2. 2University of Minnesota
  3. 3University of South Florida
  4. 4Georgia Institute of Technology
  5. 5Human Resources Research Organization

Abstract

This three-week longitudinal field study with an experimental intervention examines the association between daily events and employee stress and health, with a specific focus on positive events. Results suggest that both naturally occurring positive work events and a positive reflection intervention are associated with reduced stress and improved health, though effects vary across momentary, lagged, daily, and day-to-evening spillover analyses. Findings are consistent with theory-based predictions: positive events, negative events, and family-to-work conflict independently contribute to perceived stress, blood pressure, physical symptoms, mental health, and work detachment, suggesting that organizations should focus not only on reducing negative events, but also on increasing positive events. These findings show that a brief, end-of-workday positive reflection led to decreased stress and improved health in the evening.

Footnotes

  • © Academy of Management Journal
  1. Published online before print September 6, 2012, doi: 10.5465/amj.2011.0272 ACAD MANAGE J December 1, 2013 vol. 56 no. 6 1601-1627

Read the full article here … http://m.amj.aom.org/content/56/6/1601.abstract

STRESS & A Simple Yet Powerful Way to Handle a Stress Episode

by Monique Valcour, Harvard Business Review, AUGUST 27, 2015

The acronym RAIN, a tool used by many meditation teachers—originally developed by Michele McDonald—is a simple yet powerful way to handle a stress episode. It allows us to shift our perspective of the stressor from threat to manageable challenge, and to activate our own resources to meet the challenge with equanimity:

  • Recognition: Consciously take notice of what is occurring in your body and mind. For example, “My mouth feels dry and there is a pit in my stomach. I feel like an idiot.”
  • Acceptance: Acknowledge that the stress response is present and allow it to be here. This doesn’t mean that you’re happy about it, but giving up the effort to resist it is, paradoxically, the quickest way to help it subside.
  • Investigation: Ask yourself calmly what thoughts and emotions are present, what stories you are telling yourself. Following this technique, the candidate might have answered, “I can’t believe I sound so lame. I’m afraid that I will lose this opportunity, that I will not be admitted to business school, that I will feel like a failure in front of my family and friends, and that I won’t have a successful career.”
  • Non-identification: Having recognized, accepted, and explored the implications of your stress symptoms, the final step is to realize that although you are experiencing them, they do not define you. “I am having the thought that I may feel like a failure” is very different from and much more manageable than “I am a failure.”

Read more at … https://hbr.org/2015/08/a-simple-yet-powerful-way-to-handle-a-stress-episode

STRESS & How Successful People Stay Calm

by Travis Bradberry, Ph.D., 4/9/15.

TalentSmart has conducted research with more than a million people, and we’ve found that 90% of top performers are skilled at managing their emotions in times of stress in order to remain calm and in control…

Research from the University of California, Berkeley, reveals an upside to experiencing moderate levels of stress. But it also reinforces how important it is to keep stress under control. The study, led by post-doctoral fellow Elizabeth Kirby, found that the onset of stress entices the brain into growing new cells responsible for improved memory. However, this effect is only seen when stress is intermittent. As soon as the stress continues beyond a few moments into a prolonged state, it suppresses the brain’s ability to develop new cells…

Top performers have well-honed coping strategies that they employ under stressful circumstances. This lowers their stress levels regardless of what’s happening in their environment, ensuring that the stress they experience is intermittent and not prolonged…

They Appreciate What They Have

Taking time to contemplate what you’re grateful for isn’t merely the “right” thing to do. It also improves your mood, because it reduces the stress hormone cortisol by 23%. Research conducted at the University of California, Davis found that people who worked daily to cultivate an attitude of gratitude experienced improved mood, energy, and physical well-being. It’s likely that lower levels of cortisol played a major role in this.

They Avoid Asking “What If?”

“What if?” statements throw fuel on the fire of stress and worry. Things can go in a million different directions, and the more time you spend worrying about the possibilities, the less time you’ll spend focusing on taking action that will calm you down and keep your stress under control. Calm people know that asking “what if? will only take them to a place they don’t want — or need — to go.

They Stay Positive

Positive thoughts help make stress intermittent by focusing your brain’s attention onto something that is completely stress-free. You have to give your wandering brain a little help by consciously selecting something positive to think about. Any positive thought will do to refocus your attention. When things are going well, and your mood is good, this is relatively easy. When things are going poorly, and your mind is flooded with negative thoughts, this can be a challenge. In these moments, think about your day and identify one positive thing that happened, no matter how small. If you can’t think of something from the current day, reflect on the previous day or even the previous week. Or perhaps you’re looking forward to an exciting event that you can focus your attention on. The point here is that you must have something positive that you’re ready to shift your attention to when your thoughts turn negative…

Read more at … https://medium.com/@TravisBradberry/how-successful-people-stay-calm-202b825b30dd?source=tw-504c7870fdb6-1429172877106

STRESS & How to Manage Stress and Avoid Burnout #IncMagazine

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “Adam D’Angelo is CEO one of the fastest rising start up companies in recent memory. But, he also points out there were many places along that route where he could’ve been discouraged. Here he shares three of his ways to overcome stress.”

Read about how other startup CEOs handle stress here … http://www.inc.com/yun-fang-juan/how-6-startup-founders-manage-stress-and-avoid-burnout.html