As a business owner, dealing with stress has become part of my daily life. Stressors include taking care of my family, taking care of my employees, taking care of my clients, and taking care of myself. For many people, stress comes in waves, comprised of heavy burdens followed by calm waters. For others, it is a constant rollercoaster comprised of no rhyme or reason. For me, it is a constant factor that I have learned to deal with through the implementation of various “rules.”
Hans Selye, known as the father of “stress,” defines stress as “the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change.” (1) These non-specific responses are further broken down into three defining categories.
These categories include:
Eustress: Defined as “moderate or normal psychological stress interpreted as being beneficial for the experiencer.” (2)
Neustress: Defined as “any kind of information or sensory stimulus that is perceived as unimportant or inconsequential.” (3)
Distress: Defined as “extreme anxiety, sorrow, or pain.” (4)
Stressors that lead to eustress can include winning the lottery or being accepted into college. Stressors that lead to neustress can include casual conversations or walking from one place to another. Stressors that lead to distress can include falling down and hurting oneself or participation in a violent argument.
In life and in careers, there is no escaping stress. As a result, there are methods that can be employed to assist us in dealing with it. A plethora of ideas exist toward this end. My experience as a business owner has led me to the following conclusions:
- Honesty is the best policy. No matter how hard it may be, tell the truth. Even telling white lies leads to distress. Additionally, if you always tell the truth, you rarely have to worry about or have to remember what you previously said.
- Be loyal. Whether at home or work, loyalty is required for any relationship to properly function. A break in loyalty is a break in trust. Once trust is lost, it is virtually impossible to recapture.
- Follow through on your commitments. If you promise to do something, then, by all means, do it. If you promised to do something, but an event has occurred that makes following through impossible, refer to rule number 1.
- Always do your best. If you commit to something, commit to it wholeheartedly. It is better to decline doing something at all, if you are going to do it half-heartedly. If you have a problem saying no, refer to rule 1.
- Be solution oriented rather than problem oriented. When an obstacle appears, train your brain to see positive possibilities. This paradigm shift is required for the enjoyment of a successful career and life.
- Make your home a safe-haven. Home should be a place where you escape from distress. Set this as a standard and communicate it to your spouse.
- Set personal boundaries. Set a time when your day is over. Keep regular hours so clients and partners know when to contact you. Keep your personal life out of the office.
- If you are a business owner or manager, treat your staff with respect. If you take care of your staff, they will take care of your clients. If you mistreat your staff, they will mistreat your clients.
- Constantly work on bettering yourself. Never stop learning and encourage others to do the same.
Stress, whether good, bad or neutral, is a part of everyday life. Comprised of eustress, neustress, and distress, it has, for me, contributed to various methods or rules, leading to peace of mind for everyone involved. As a result of my efforts, I have a healthy mind, home, and business. May you follow these rules and experience the same benefits in your private and public life.