Here are four simple and effective steps reduce stress, anxiety and overwhelm, and still stay focused and driven.
If you are somebody who wants to achieve success at a high level, you’re likely going to find yourself in a position where you experience high levels of stress, pressure and expectations.
This in turn can create anxiety and overwhelm, which if not managed, will hold you back from performing at your optimum level and stop you moving forward. I, myself have struggled with this for years, as I have always wanted to achieve more and be the best I can be, therefore putting high expectations on myself, and I’ve witnessed the same behaviour in others. With that comes anxiety, maybe imposter syndrome, overwhelm and other negative emotions.
I believe one of the reasons for this is due to the fact that there are a lot of things in life that people put in opposing binary boxes. We are conditioned to believe we should be in either the hustle culture – wake up at 4am, work now, rest later– or practise self care – be happy with what you have, be present in the moment. But whichever side you pick, you might feel as if it’s too extreme one way, and too extreme the other – neither feels satisfactory. What I’ve come to realise is that we need to aim to be in the middle, as staying in one can become damaging and dangerous.
This blog is not only about how to overcome stress, anxiety and overwhelm. It also covers four techniques I use and that you can implement today, to keep moving forward regardless, be consistent and still stay driven in order to achieve your goals at a high level.
1. Positively reframe your emotions
When we’re trying to achieve more, we feel stress, anxiety and overwhelm. Instead of looking at these emotions positively, we tend to attach negative emotions to it, such as frustration, anger, fear and self doubt, which only strengthens the initial feelings.
So what can you do to combat that? Feel that overwhelm, the anxiety, the stress. Embrace it and accept it. This is part of what is needed to get what you want, to achieve the goal and attain the result. Don’t view it as negative, but necessary, and a normal part of the process. You want to attach positive emotions to the negative emotions. This is called a positive reframe. For example, in relationships, are you putting off an important conversation? Yet, having that conversation may help move the relationship forward or get out from a toxic relationship. Do you have a fitness goal, but you’re feeling stressed about the workout? Reframe it and focus on this workout will get me the body I want. Are you afraid of going live on Facebook to promote your products or services? Reframe it and focus on the sales it can get you.
Often, people set goals when they are motivated, feeling positive and believe they can do it. Going through it, they begin to lose this positive feeling. It’s common to question yourself, feel demotivated, anxious or experience imposter syndrome. But remember, every emotion comes, every emotion goes. So, in those moments, feel proud for feeling those feelings, because you are doing what is needed to get the results you want in life. Understand that the process is hard and challenging, that you are not always going to want to get up, and this is why a positive reframe is key to keep going.
2. Done is better than perfect
Perfection is an elusive goal. Perfection doesn’t exist. So, if you are someone who continuously sets that bar high, you are only setting yourself up for disappointment, overwhelm and anxiety. Perfection holds people back. Perfection makes people think that they are not good enough and they continuously feel the need to get better before starting. They begin to care too much about what everybody else is going to say and think about them. So, the anxiety and stress isn’t coming from anything to do with them and what they want to do. It’s coming from focusing on what everybody else might think.
If I waited to be the perfect coach, I would not be where I am today. In the last year and a half, I’ve changed many people’s lives for the better, including my own because I didn’t wait to be perfect. So, the only way to combat this is to stop waiting for perfection and take action. Start today. Learn and get better. How? Ask yourself, are there things I can delegate? Do I needto get this task done perfectly at 100% (which by the way 100% perfection doesn’t exist)? Or can it be completed really well at 75%? If you aim to get things done well rather than done perfect, you’ll get more done. You’ll feel better. You’ll make more progress. This will help to reduce those feelings of stress and overwhelm associated with trying to achieve perfection.
Are there areas in your life where you’re not showing up and taking more action? Is it due to the fact that you feel you’re not ready and you need to be better? Note those areas and then take action!
3. Create personal daily non-negotiables
Daily non-negotiables are things that you commit to doing every single day. Choose them based on the benefits it will have on your mind, your body, and your business/finances. The key to staying consistent with this technique is to ensure that they are simple, short in duration and not overwhelming. You want to choose things that you not only do when you are motivated and hyped, but something you will be able to do when you have zero motivation – in those moments when you don’t want to do it. The thought of it being simple tasks that only take 5 to 10 minutes and still benefit you, will make it doable.
For instance, for your body, you might decide to do 10 press-ups or jog on a spot for 30 seconds daily. For your mind, you could decide to meditate, practice mindfulness, or focus on gratitude for 3 to 5 minutes a day. For your business, you may decide to put out a sales post on social media daily. Doing this for your mind, body and business will take only 5 to 15 minutes out of a 24-hour day! Committing to these short non-negotiables, you will be doing something positive and progressive for your mind, body and business/finances without the overwhelm.
When it comes to overwhelm, stress, procrastination, and not being consistent, the actual demon is not the not getting stuff done, it’s not starting. If you commit to something so small and simple, the chances of you starting will be much higher and once you start, you will immediately feel better for doing it. You’ll get an endorphin high; you’ll feel proud and naturally more likely to continue. Your 10 press-ups might turn into 30, as you build momentum and are likely to end up doing more. Your one social media post might get positive feedback, engagement, and sales, making you want to post more. Focusing on gratitude will make you feel good, therefore encouraging you to do more for your mind.
So create your minimal, non-negotiable list and commit to it seven days a week. You’ll see that with motivation or not, you’ll get more consistent over the week and more done. In doing so, you’ll have increased feelings of pride, self-fulfilment, self-worth and confidence whilst reducing, stress, anxiety and overwhelm.
4. Shift your focus, focus on the outcome
Focus on the outcome that is your dream; the result you truly want to achieve. If you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed, you are not positively focusing on that; you’re either focusing on everything that could go wrong, everything that is going wrong, or everything that has gone wrong in the past. Self-doubt and fear of what everybody else is thinking kicks in. You become focused on the negative thoughts, and in turn, these begin to compound, compound, compound. So how do you stop this? Shift your focus. Understand that these thoughts are not serving you. It will only hold you back in life, in relationships, financially, in health. Instead, in these moments, you must be self-aware enough to stop all these negative thoughts and focus on:
- What is the outcome I am working on achieving and how will that feel when I achieve it?
- What will my life be like?
- How much better will it benefit me and my loved ones?
- What will my pride and confidence look like the moment I achieve it?
- What can I do differently to achieve it?
- What’s a time in my life when I did achieve something great – when I was super proud?
If you’ve done something great before, you can do something even greater again. The skillsets and the person you became in the process is transferable to becoming more. This is what we should be connecting with. But instead, we connect with imposter syndrome, the negative chatter, the idea that we can’t do it. So stop looking for the negativity, as you will only compound it and find more. Look for the positives. Compound that. Focus on something you did well, and how that positively impacted you and your loved ones. Reconnect with the bigger mission and vision, and how that will feel daily.
To strengthen those feelings, you can even use visualization. Spend three minutes with your eyes closed visualizing your goal and reconnecting emotionally on a deep level. Choose to focus on the best case scenario. See what you want to see. Feel what you want to feel. Hear what you want to hear. This will reduce stress, anxiety, and overwhelm, and you’ll become more laser focused on the outcome that is your dream, with a positive, relaxed approach.
What are you going to do right now? Will you take more action? Implementing and remembering these four steps will positively change your life:
- Positively reframe your emotions
- Done is better than perfect
- Create personal daily non-negotiables
- Shift your focus, focus on the outcome
You’re capable; you can change your life. You just need to make the decision to act on it.
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