Through the past decade as an executive coach, career coach, and life coach helping people from all walks of life navigate professional and personal challenges, one thing is clear.
No matter what problems we may face at any given moment, the sands always shift, taking us to a different place sooner or later. Life goes up and down continually regardless of our struggles to prevent this, bringing to mind the saying, Don’t push the river, it flows by itself.
When you’re in a “down” cycle of life or under major stress and pressure, it’s easy to grow discouraged. Whether you’ve hit a career plateau, lost a significant relationship, or encountered a serious stumbling block in your current position, it can be tempting to revert to a low mood or feelings of frustration and despair. Yet if you expect the rollercoaster to dip, then you also know it eventually will rise whether or not you go through the experience white-knuckled or loving the ride.
Stressful periods present an opportunity to practice grace and humility.
While you may feel least like doing so, your efforts at this time will make the biggest difference to yourself and those around you. Here are four ways to embrace grace under pressure in your career and personal life:
When things go wrong, you always have a choice to focus exclusively on the problem in front of you, or to widen your view to include things for which you feel grateful. Getting into a more appreciative mindset isn’t just a nice thing to do for yourself research has proven that consciously cultivating a gratitude attitudeâ€ helps to reduce stress hormones while improving your mood and physical well-being.
Bring it back to the positive.
There’s nothing like a crisis to set off feelings of panic and anxiety feelings that can make it harder to problem-solve effectively. Instead, help your mind stay anchored on thoughts that relieve stress rather than exacerbate it by making an effort to stay positive. If you feel yourself developing tunnel vision about a worrisome situation, intentionally try to think about one positive thing. Whether it’s something good that happened earlier in the day, a supportive family member, or a recent accomplishment, thinking this way helps bring your attention to the days high note when you are feeling low.
Go back to the basics.
Pressure-filled situations have a tendency to bring out everyone’s bad habits. But when you’re stressed out, it’s even more important to take good care of yourself and make healthy choices. Limit your caffeine intake instead of imbibing more, avoid alcohol which can disrupt your sleep, and make sure you are getting enough rest and downtimeâ€”as well as 7-9 hours per night of shut-eye. Instead of reaching for sugary snacks and soft drinks, focus on eating a healthy low-fat diet with plenty of fruits and veggies, lean protein, and whole grains for optimum energy.
Talk nicely to yourself.
Everyone goes through rough patches but when it happens to you, do you find yourself engaging in negative self-talk? That inner voice that chastises you for screwing things up again can take a big toll on your well-being, making it more difficult to regain your equilibrium. Be on the lookout for your brain’s natural tendency in the face of threats to inflate their severity. If you can recognize negative self-talk before it tanks your mood, you can move beyond the problem more quickly and embrace a positive outlook.
Mark Strong is a Life Coach, Career Coach, and Executive Coach based in NYC. You can find more information at www.markstrongcoaching.com.