Psychological effects of stress harm you in many ways. They steal energy, both physical and mental, discourage you, and even create massive anxiety.
As a result, your productivity goes down, and so do your life vitality and motivation.
The strategy below will allow you to:
- Lower the level of worry and other negative emotions
- Gain better mental clarity
- Enable better and more constructive decisions
Understanding Psychological Stress
This is a special kind of stress manifestation that has more to do with your interpretation of reality than with the reality itself. So, it is very insidious.
An example would be a pattern of thinking in which you keep repeating to yourself something like, “There’s now way I will ever finish this project on time. They just have to get off my back!”
At the same time, you know that your boss or client won’t get off your back, and you’re expected to deliver on time. It’s easy to go into a mental loop with this kind of a thought pattern.
This results in tremendous stress and waste of energy on the seemingly uncontrollable.
A Simple But Powerful Strategy to Overcome Psychological Stress
This strategy involves asking yourself some questions, writing down the answers, and taking constructive action.
Step 1. Ask the following questions and write down the answers:
Question 1. What is the problem right now?
Describing the problem with total clarity is half the solution. Be honest with yourself when writing down the answer.
It could turn out that the problem is that it is simply impossible to get something done in the time period you promised or agreed to (which are the same things, by the way).
Or, perhaps there is a way to solve this on your own by improving your productivity. But if you see that the scope of what needs to be done in the given timeframe is not realistic, then ask the next question.
Question 2. Am I allowing others to place unrealistic demands on me?
This question implies something very important. You see, you are not asking if others are placing excessive demands on you. You are asking whether you are allowing them to do this.
And there’s a huge difference. Others will gladly ask more of you than they should. Gladly. And all you have to do is agree. If you do, you are making a promise.
And now, if your answer is, “Yes, I am allowing other to place unrealistic demands on me,” then the only proper way out of this situation is to renegotiate your promise.
Question 3. How can I renegotiate my promise?
There are two basic terms you can renegotiate – the amount of work and the time frame (the scope and the deadline).
If you request to renegotiate both, this might not make you look very competent. You want to do less and take longer to do it. So, renegotiate just one term – the amount of work or the time frame.
Choose which of the two you believe will deliver the best result. Make sure you’re clear on your preferred solution before you proceed to step 2.
Step 2. Renegotiate the terms.
If you are working for yourself, then negotiate with yourself against your competing commitments. If you are delivering a result for someone else, negotiate with them.
But whoever is the person or entity to whom you are answerable, make sure you have a good plan of action before you arrive at the negotiation table. This will make you look good and give you a better chance of success at renegotiation.
Now, your plan may not necessarily fit the plans of the person you committed to. So, hear the other party out.
Arrive at a new agreement that is doable and shake hands on it.
Step 3. Take immediate action.
Now, with your new, renegotiated commitment, you are ready to do the work. So do it. The hard part is done. Now is the time to deliver on the promise.
How to Get Started Right Away
Whatever you’re doing, if you have a nagging feeling that “it’s all just too much,” stop immediately.
Take a breath of fresh air or go for a walk. Breathe. You can do some “belly breathing,” which really helps to relax.
Grab a pen and paper and sit down where you wouldn’t be bothered.
Go through the three steps outlined above.
If you do, you will see results very quickly. In my experience, people are usually willing to renegotiate because deep inside they also know that it was too much. They were just getting away with it because you had accepted the terms.
Till next time,