Stress is unavoidable.

What the Experts Say… Stress is unavoidable. “We live in a world of ongoing worry, change, and uncertainty. You have to get used to it,” says Justin Menkes, an expert in the field of C-suite talent evaluation and the author of Better Under Pressure: How Great Leaders Bring Out the Best in Themselves and Others. “Stress is an inevitable part of work and life, but the effect of stress upon us is far from inevitable,” says Shawn Achor, an expert in positive psychology and the founder of Good Think, Inc. Both Achor and Menkes agree that altering your approach to stress can yield positive effects. “Stress can be good or bad depending on how you use it,” says Achor. In fact, how you manage pressures can distinguish you as a leader and give you a career advantage.

Focus on what you can control

One of the most positive things you can do when faced with worry or anxiety is to remember what you can affect and what you can’t. Far too many people spend time feeling bad about things they simply can’t change. In Achor’s book, The Happiness Advantage, he outlines an exercise he calls the Island Experiment. He suggests you write out a list of stresses and put them into two circles, “islands.” One island holds the things you can control. The other is for the things you can’t. Ignore that second island and choose a single concrete action to take in the first. This will begin to solve the stress and move you toward your goal.

Principles to Remember

Do:

* Think of stress as an indicator that you care about something, rather than a cause for panic
* Focus on the task, rather than the emotion
* Build relationships so that you have people to turn to in times of stress

Don’t:

* Assume your stress is going to last forever
* Worry about things that are out of your control
* Spend time with people who are negative

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