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The secret of stress control

How to harness swirling anxiety

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in Leaders & Managers,Workplace Communication

The best way to manage stress is to separate what you can and can’t control. Problem is, some crises beyond your control can still immobilize you. Accept such stress and compartmentalize it. Here’s how:

Clock it. Once you feel the first signs of stress from something outside your control, check the time. Then allot a few minutes to give the anxiety free rein.

Rule of thumb: Engage in a relaxation exercise every day for at least 15 minutes, such as slow, deep breathing, jogging or yoga. Then allow yourself exactly half that time—but no more—to feel stress.

Move on. As stress sets in, ask yourself if you’re dwelling on the past or worrying about what’s to come. If you’re looking back, stop. Instantly. Tell yourself, “The past is done,” and look ahead.

Take a bird’s-eye view. If you’re anxious about events you can’t control, try to see the whole picture or adopt a different viewpoint.

Example: You’re agitated about pending layoffs. Since you have no say over what unfolds, you imagine you’re a manager at your company’s biggest competitor, who can hardly wait to hire you and your colleagues.

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