Staying Calm in Chaos

Do you work in a pressurized environment? Do you feel as though there are never enough hours in the day? Do you feel as though you make bad choices and decisions because you are under stress? If so, you are not on your own. According to a report by Robert Murphy of Farrell Grant Sparks , 82% of respondents felt they had to work very hard and 38% felt they never had enough time to get everything done. A quarter of workers report that they always or frequently find their work stressful and that it impacts on their home life.

So what could be done to eliminate your stress? One thing that strikes me about a lot of the stuff written on stress is that it focuses on what your employer should do--that could mean you are waiting for a very long time…they are probably too stressed themselves! So let’s look at what YOU can do to eliminate your stress….

1. One thing Now: Do one thing at a time and give it your full present attention. Have you ever noticed how stressed out you can get thinking about all the other things you have to do instead of giving the task in front of you your full attention?

2. Remind yourself: Create a poster with “What’s important NOW?” on it and place it somewhere as a constant reminder to focus on ONE thing NOW.

3. Get a daily overview: One client of mine had a projects spreadsheet which he reviewed daily to see what needed to get done. This allowed him to get an overview of his work and also made it easier for him to say NO when he was asked to take on extra work. It also stopped him getting sucked into doing other people’s jobs.

4. Breathe and break: Recognise the physical symptoms of when you are going into overwhelm. Take a break and breathe deeply. Go outside for a few minutes if you can.

5. List and Eliminate: Have you ever considered simply listing your sources of stress? And then generate a list of possible solutions beside each one. Be outrageous, think big and don’t limit yourself! Do so this week and investigate at least one solution.

Source of stress Possible Solutions

Long commute Work from home two days a week

Change job

Listen to tapes in the car

Move house

Move into office (just kidding!)

Find a different route to work

Do a car pool

6. Bring in fun: Is there any way to bring more fun, more joy to your work? Can you get other people to help you?

7. Is it true? Byron Katie ( offers some simple profound tools to help you tackle the beliefs that cause your stress--asking if each stressful thought is true. (i.e., my boss hates me… Is that really true?). How do I feel when I think that thought? Who would I be without that thought?

8. What is this stress telling you? If the stress was a wakeup call, what would it be telling you to wake up to? What do you need to change? We are not physically designed to live at high levels of continuous stress.

9. Get it out: One big help to tackling the reality of stress is to get it outside of ourselves. We could do this by talking to a trusted friend/colleague or by journaling and reading back what you have written. If you stay stuck in your head, it’s very easy for the stress to take you over. Talk or write about it…it will immediately begin to lose its power over you.

10. The power of example. Let the change begin with you. Work on reducing your own stress levels and gradually it will begin to affect others in a positive way. Be the ripple in the pond.

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