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11 Stress-Busting Mindset Hacks You Need in Your Life Right Now

11 Stress-Busting Mindset Hacks You Need in Your Life Right Now

We live in a fast-paced, competitive, and stressful world. You may believe that you’ll eventually make it big, but there’s no escaping the everyday doubts and disappointments that everyone faces. However, there’s no reason to blame yourself at all.

According to the American Institute of Stress, 80 percent of workers are stressed with their job due to increasing hours, concerns about job security, and personal issues. When left unchecked, stress will slowly consume you—physically and mentally—and will cause you to miss out on the better things in life.

It may be hard, but you need to be resilient. Despite the blur we call life, you need to stay focused on your goals. Here are 11 mindset hacks that will help you do this:

1. “Can I do something about it?”

The golden rule of managing stress is to focus only on what you can control. Doing otherwise will only waste your time and energy. The disappointment will also lead to even more stress.

The key here is to liberate yourself and save your energy for things that count. Every morning, determine the tangible goals you can accomplish that day and try not to be distracted with meaningless things, like the bad weather, heavy traffic, and the sour attitude of your boss.

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2. Try a little humor

A dose of humor is an excellent cure for stress. Whenever you feel overwhelmed with work, try taking a break and revisit an episode of your favorite sitcom. Social media also makes it easy to find lighthearted videos – be it a prank or an animal video.

3. Drink a little caffeine

Stress and being out of energy are closely connected. Fortunately, people have known a cure for midday drowsiness for years. Not only will a cup of coffee help stimulate the brain, it will also provide you with an excuse to have a 5-minute break from work.

Studies have shown that coffee has positive effects on a person’s mood. Just remember to keep it moderate and not have more than 400 milligrams of caffeine in a day.

4. Try being mentally neutral

    A lot of people experience stress by focusing on one of two extremes. After all, not everything has a “right” or “wrong” answer. You can avoid a lot of stress by looking for a middle ground. For example, just because a co-worker has a different idea from yours, doesn’t mean you can’t work together for a common goal. Put the differences aside and look at the things you can agree on.

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    5. Try a little less

    People today can learn a lot from the philosophy of minimalism. Rather than giving in to consumerism and aiming to have more, you should roll back to the essentials and prioritize value. Web designers, for example, prioritize user experience over fancy graphics and visual effects.

    You can apply minimalism to your life in a variety of ways. A good start is to embrace minimalism at home and focus on owning less possessions. In addition to organization, having a minimalistic home will also lead to big savings in the long run.

    6. Look for the “at least” in every failure

    “Too bad the employer didn’t choose me, at least they pointed out the weaknesses in my resume.” Nothing is more powerful than the spirit of a lifelong learner. Remember that every failure has a silver lining. Leverage them and make a commitment to improve yourself.

    7. Isolate home from work

      Everybody deserves an escape from a hard day’s work. Unfortunately, some people deny themselves this privilege and choose to resume working when they get home.

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      If possible, try to discuss with your boss the possibility of postponing urgent assignments until the next workday. Home is where you should be resting, not a place to worry over tomorrow’s deadlines.

      8. Ask for help

      A lot of stress at work can be avoided if only you asked for someone else’s help. It doesn’t matter if you’re unsure about something or simply incapable of handling all the tasks yourself. At the very least, you should accept the input of others and learn.

      9. Try stress-busting apps

      Yes – there are now mobile apps and games for busting your work-related stress. Alternatively, you can look at apps that can help you organize and maintain your life/work balance.

      10. Look forward to future events

      It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do; there’s bound to be something you’re looking forward to right now. Admit it, there should be a few things that popped into your head upon reading the last sentence.

      Whether it’s an upcoming birthday or a new movie, you need to identify these simple pleasures and appreciate that you have something worth looking forward to.

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      11. Experience the joy of others

      Sometimes, the key to beating stress is to be selfless and focus on the happiness of others rather than yourself. If there’s nothing you can do to cheer yourself up, perhaps there’s something you can do to lighten up someone else’s day.

      Remember that it doesn’t take much to do something good for another person. Showing your gratitude by saying “thank you” should be enough to put a smile on someone’s face. Now that you thought about that, try to remember the last person who helped you out. It’s payback time.

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      Image Credits:

      Woman girl freedom happy sun, Freedom sky hands handcuffs clouds Via Pixabay

      Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

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      Published on July 29, 2020

      How to Build Strategic Thinking Skills for Effective Leadership

      How to Build Strategic Thinking Skills for Effective Leadership

      Have you been thinking of how you can be a more strategic leader during these uncertain times? Has the pandemic thrown a wrench at all your carefully laid out plans and initiatives?

      You’re not alone. The truth is, we all want some stability in our careers and teams during this disruptive pandemic.

      However, this now requires a bit more effort than before and making the leap from merely surviving to thriving means buckling down to some serious strategic thinking and maintaining a determined mindset.

      Is There a Way to Thrive Despite These Disruptions?

      Essentially – yes, although you need to be willing to put in the work. Every leader wants to develop strategic thinking skills so that they can enhance overall team performance and boost their company’s success, but what exactly does it mean to be strategic in the context of the times we live in?

      If you happen to be in a leadership position in your organization right now, you are most probably navigating precarious waters given the disruptions caused by the pandemic. There’s a lot more pressure than before because your actions and decisions will have a much greater impact these days not just on you, but also to the people who are part of your team.

      Companies often bring me in to coach executives on strategic thinking and planning. And while pre-pandemic I would usually start by highlighting the advantages of strategic thinking, nowadays, I always begin these Zoom coaching sessions by driving home the point that this pandemic has now made strategic thinking not just an option but an absolute must.

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      Assessing and making plans through the lens of a good strategy might require significant work at first. Nevertheless, you can take comfort in the fact that the rewards will far outweigh the effort, as you’ll soon see after following the 8 strategic steps I have outlined below.

      8 Steps to Strategic Thinking

      As events unfold during these strange times, you’re bound to feel wrong-footed every now and then. Being a leader during this pandemic means preparing for more change not just for you, but for your whole team as well.

      As states and cities go through a cycle of lockdowns and reopening, employees will experience the full gamut of human emotions in dizzying speed, and you will often be called on to provide insight and stability to your team and workplace.

      Strategic thinking is all about anticipation and preparation. Rather than expending your energy merely helping your company put out fires and survive, you can put the time to better use by charting out a solid plan that can protect and help you and your company thrive.

      Take the following steps to build solid initiatives and roll out successful projects:

      Step 1: Step Back, Then Set the Scope

      One of the things that leaders get wrong during their first attempt at strategic thinking is expecting that it is just another item on a checklist. The truth is, you need to take a good, long look at the bigger picture before anything else. This means decisively prioritizing and stepping away from tasks that can be delegated to others. Free up your schedule so you can focus on this crucial task at hand.

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      Then, proceed with setting the scope and the strategic goals of the project or initiative you plan to build or execute. Ask yourself the bigger question of why you need to embark on a particular project and when would be the right time to do so.

      You need to set a timeline as well, anywhere from 6 months to 5 years. Keep in mind that your projections will deteriorate the further out you go as you make longer-term plans.

      For this reason, add extra resources, flexibility, and resilience if you have a longer timeline. You should also be making the goals less specific if you’re charting it out for the longer term.

      Step 2: Make a List of Experts

      Make and keep a list of credible people who can contribute solid insight and feedback to your initiative. This could range from key stakeholders to industry experts, mentors, and even colleagues who previously planned and rolled out similar projects.

      Reach out to the people on this list regularly while you work through the steps to bring diverse insight into your planning process. This way, you will be able to approach any problem from every angle.

      Bringing key stakeholders into this initial process will also display your willingness to listen and empathize with their issues. In return, this will build trust and potentially pave the way for smoother buy-in down the line.

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      Step 3: Anticipate the Future

      After identifying your goals and gathering feedback, it’s time to consider what the future would look like if everything goes as you intuitively anticipate. Then, lay out the kind and amount of resources (money, time, social capital) that might be needed to keep this anticipated future running.

      Step 4: Brainstorm on Potential Internal and External Problems

      Next, think of how the future would look if you encountered unexpected problems internal and external to the business activity that seriously jeopardize your expected vision of the future. Write out what kind of potential problems you might encounter, including low-probability ones.

      Assess the likelihood that you will run into each problem. To gauge, multiply the likelihood by the number of resources needed to address the problem. Try to convert the resources into money if possible so that you can have a single unit of measurement.

      Then, think of what steps you can take to address these internal and external problems before they even happen. Write out how much you expect these steps might cost. Lastly, add up all the extra resources that may be needed because of the different possible problems and all the steps you committed to taking to address them in advance.

      Step 5: Identify Potential Opportunities, Internal and External

      Imagine how your expected plan would look if unexpected opportunities came up. Most of these will be external but consider internal ones as well. Then, gauge the likelihood of each scenario and the number of resources you would need to take advantage of each opportunity. Convert the resources into money if possible.

      Then, think of what steps you can take in advance to take advantage of unexpected opportunities and write out how much you expect these steps might cost. Finally, add up all the extra resources that may be needed because of the different unexpected opportunities and all the steps you committed to taking to address them in advance.

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      Step 6: Check for Cognitive Biases

      Check for potential cognitive biases that are relevant to you personally or to the organization as a whole, and adjust the resources and plans to address such errors.[1] Make sure to at least check for loss aversion, status quo bias, confirmation bias, attentional bias, overconfidence, optimism bias, pessimism bias, and halo and horns effects.

      Step 7: Account for Unknown Unknowns (Black Swans)

      To have a more effective strategy, account for black swans as well. These are unknown unknowns -unpredictable events that have potentially severe consequences.

      To account for these black swans, add 40 percent to the resources you anticipate. Also, consider ways to make your plans more flexible and secure than you intuitively feel is needed.

      Step 8: Communicate and Take the Next Steps

      Communicate the plan to your stakeholders, and give them a heads up about the additional resources needed. Then, take the next steps to address the unanticipated problems and take advantage of the opportunities you identified by improving your plans, as well as allocating and reserving resources.

      Finally, take note that there will be cases when you’ll need to go back and forth these steps to make improvements, (a fix here, an improvement there) so be comfortable with revisiting your strategy and reaching out to your list of experts.

      Conclusion

      A great way to deal with feelings of uncertainty during this pandemic is to anticipate obstacles with a good plan – and a sure road to that is practicing strategic thinking.

      In the coming months and years, you’ll need to continue navigating uncharted territory so that you can lead your team to safe waters. Regularly doing these 8 steps to strategic thinking will ensure that you can prepare for and adapt  to the coming changes with increasing clarity, perspective, and efficiency.[2]

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      Featured photo credit: JESHOOTS.COM via unsplash.com

      Reference

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