Busy professionals and entrepreneurs often feel there aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish everything they need to do. There are days when your task list seems insurmountable with no light at the end of the tunnel.
In these moments of high stress and tight deadlines, it’s important to find fast, effective ways to take a step back and regain perspective. To help, we asked Young Entrepreneur Council members to share their approaches for quickly finding mental calm.
1. Focus on the Present Moment
Forget about past mistakes or mishaps and rule out worries of things in the future. When you adopt this approach, you become more centered, more focused on the tasks at hand and more productive overall.
Meditation is great for situations where you’re stressed and want to feel relaxed. It helps me feel calm when my business has a lot going on or is about to hold a big launch. Taking myself out of the moment just to relax makes a huge difference in how I feel and my overall well-being.
3. Anchor Your Mind to Small Movements
When things get stressful and your thoughts start to overwhelm you, just focusing on your body helps. By concentrating intently on your breath or by rubbing your fingers together, you can break away from intense negative thoughts. Try to anchor your mind to small body movements by concentrating on how you feel. You’ll be more present and detach yourself from unhelpful thinking.
4. Break Down Large Projects
Massive projects can lead to plenty of stress. If I need to find mental focus, I stop and analyze the current phase of our project and break down one aspect of what we are focused on. I find that by concentrating my attention on several small goals, I can work towards larger goals without the added stress.
5. Talk to Someone You Trust
Sometimes, the best way for me to find a mentally calm state amidst the chaos is to talk to someone who makes me feel comforted and cared about. When I tell someone about what I’m going through, just knowing they’re intently listening and care about my situation is enough to lighten the burden.
6. Question Your Negative Thoughts
We often believe and pay too much attention to our negative thoughts, which can be extreme and irrational. A quick way to find calm is to ask yourself if you’re being rational. Question yourself on whether your thoughts are too extreme, too rigid or if you’re making assumptions about other people and circumstances. When you see through your irrational thoughts, you’ll find peace.
7. Take a Moment for Self-Care
I make time for self-care for the sake of my mental health. Mental health not only affects your physical health, but can also affect those around you as well. Self-care can be anything from going outside to get some fresh air, doing a hobby you love, meditating, taking a personal day to spend with yourself and much more. Overall, self-care is highly beneficial to your mental health.
8. Enjoy the Great Outdoors
My approach is to take some time out for myself and go outdoors. I️’m fortunate enough to live in southern California where I️ can take advantage of the beautiful weather. By going for a walk outside and getting some sunlight, I’m able to quickly recharge and get myself in a better mindset.
9. Set Priorities
My No. 1 contributor to stress is being overwhelmed by how much work there is to do and uncertainty about the best approach to doing all of it. I find that taking a quick inventory of top issues and ordering them by priority can give me clarity and help calm my nerves.
10. Listen to Binaural Beats and Frequencies
I use noise-canceling headphones and listen to YouTube binaural beats and frequencies to mitigate stress and increase concentration. If you are looking to heighten the benefits of this practice, you can observe the frequencies in a meditative posture. You can do this in a split second without going outside, without disturbing colleagues or drawing attention to yourself or the issue at hand.
11. Distract Yourself
When the pressure’s on and time is tight, keeping something around to distract your brain helps manage the stress. This could be anything from a favorite book that you read in 10 minute chunks to a game on your phone. The key is to ensure it’s capable of fully pulling you away from what you’re doing for a short period of time. These little micro-breaks help the brain breathe and provide relief.
12. Use a Calming App
When stress is high and time is limited, I use a calming app on my phone because it’s quick and convenient. Breathe2Relax is a good calming app that helps you practice the stress management skill of diaphragmatic breathing.
Exercise increases my overall health. I feel happier and lighter after a walk or exercise. It pumps up my endorphins, which gives me a happy feeling, improves my ability to sleep and reduces stress. Everything feels better after exercise.
14. Take a Breath Before Making a Decision
In situations where the stress is high I have learned to not make rash or quick decisions. Sometimes it takes a bit of time to formulate the right perspective before deciding on a path. Taking a breath helps take the emotions out of those intense situations.
15. Take a Break From Everything
When I find myself in high-stress situations, the best way for me to get some mental calm and clarity is to simply take a break — from everything. That means not looking at my email or checking the clock on what meeting is coming up next. Just taking a break from the situation at hand can be instantly calming.
These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.