The Key to Managing Stress Successfully

It happens to all of us, no matter how hard we try to avoid it, S-T-R-E-S-S makes its way into our lives.  Also, called strain, pressure, worry or tension, stress can be brought on by one big project or the many demands from both our personal and professional life.  How we deal with that stress, no matter what our role, can make all the difference in the world. 
As I’ve moved through my career the past 25+ years, I’ll be the first to admit, when I didn’t know how to manage stress, it generally showed in my reaction to situations or in my health.  Over time, I’ve become more self-aware of how I handle an overflowing workload and the associated stressors.  The key to managing stress, lies in how we react to it. 
Personally, whether I was leading a team, starting my own business or hanging with my family, I realized one simple mantra could save me a lot of time and energy.  When a bad situation presents itself or when the stress is just more than I can handle, I tell myself I can either laugh or cry. 
I chose laughter to help alleviate stress, for a good reason, even a simple smile has a positive impact on your mood and those around you.  The actions needed for laughing or smiling, triggers muscle movements in your face that cause your brain to release endorphins, the chemicals responsible for making us feel happy and lower stress levels.  Worst case scenario, if you just can’t manage a real smile, a fake smile has the same effect, the brain can’t tell the difference.
When it comes to shedding a tear or two, remember there is nothing wrong with a good cry, it is a way for your body to release toxins and it can improve your mood.  Research shows tears are produced by stress and can help the body get rid of chemicals that raise the stress hormone, cortisol.  In a study at the University of South Florida, the shedding of tears improved the mood of almost 90 percent of criers.  So, if a good cry is what you need, find a safe spot and let the tears flow and then get back to business. 
At Lead to Inspire we challenge you to become more self-aware. The key to success is to dig into what triggers stress for you, and then find a healthy way to manage it, allowing your more control in your life and career.