How to Expand Your Influence at Work by Managing Stress
Many leaders have concerns about managing their daily demands, pressure and stress. In a recent HuffPost article titled “Work Stress Is a Major Health Problem, Even for CEOs” business reporter Shane Ferro discusses the health challenges of their new CEO, Oscar Munoz. The article goes on to state, “While there is not great research that points to a direct connection between stress and heart attacks, doctors do know that stress negatively impacts health.
“Munoz is the second relatively new CEO of a major corporation to suffer a health incident in just over a month. BMW’s CEO, Harald Krueger, collapsed onstage at the Frankfurt Motor Show in mid-September after he chose to appear at the event despite not feeling well that morning.”
We cannot be influential when stress controls our health, thinking and results. When stress begins to control you, the perception others have of you can range from a lack of confidence, knowledge and/or trust to your inability to lead others. There are several ways to develop mind/body control. With frequent practice, professionals can bring their inner mind and outer body to an equal state of inner peace and exterior confidence.
- Breathe. In the Journal of Neurophysiology, Dr. Jose Herrero reported that during times of stress, or when heighted concentration is needed, focusing on one’s breathing can indeed change the brain. To practice control over breath, close your eyes while in a meditative state and concentrate on the rate in which you breathe.
- Pay Attention to You. If you wish to control your thoughts and feelings of discomfort during silence, it’s time to slow down and be quiet in your mind. As you meditate, concentrate on a single thought. If your mind begins to drift elsewhere, gently pull it back to the original thought and slowly guide your mind to stay focused. Use meditation as a means to slow your mind, concentrate on your thoughts and find intention in your body’s response system.
- Be Calm. Once you’ve practiced sitting in silence, focusing on your thoughts and slowing your rate of breathing, you can use these steps to help ease jitters and anxiety before a high-stakes conversation. Before the conversation, take a few moments in quiet to calm your nerves by focusing on your thoughts. Practice your ideas at a slower rate of speed while concentrating on your breath. Concentrate on your heart rate and focus on slowing it down. Your body will align with your concerted inward efforts, allowing you to think and speak with greater intention.
- There’s an App. If sitting in silence with eyes closed and mind open sounds intimidating at first, consider using apps built to help you slow your thoughts and concentrate on your posture and breathing. Pzizz is a downloadable app that has a meditative tool designed to help listeners slow their thinking, focus on posture and concentrate on breathing.
In order to get others to act upon what we have to say, we must demonstrate confidence in every word we speak and every pause/breath we take. To control the many demands you face day-to-day, which may be the culprit of your stress, practice mind/body control. It will become as natural as breathing itself.