How to Keep Stress Levels Down When Times Get Tough

Manage StressIntroduction to Stress

Nothing can hold you back quite like stress. Unfortunately, stressors are everywhere. Even a small amount can severely impact your ability to perform. Therefore, it’s important to learn how to deal with your stress effectively.

A New York University research study “Cognitive Emotion Regulation Fails the Stress Test,” found that even a small amount of stress negatively impacts a person’s ability to keep their emotions in check.

Stress, if unchallenged, can build up in the body and mind and can even impinge on your love life. One study from 1984 found that chronic stress can have an undesirable impact on sex drive in men. In pregnant women, high levels of stress can have a negative effect on child development. It can also cause issues with body weight.

Finally, stress takes a toll on your heart. When you’re stressed, the hormones circulating in your blood can cause your heart to beat faster than necessary, and make your blood vessels constrict. This increases blood pressure, and can exacerbate an existing heart condition.

It Won’t Happen – Probably

One of the biggest contributors to stress is worry. But, look at it this way: most of the things you worry about probably won’t happen.

Decide here and now to stop mulling over things that are out of your control.

Instead, put that energy into visualizing the outcome you’d like to see. Vividly visualizing the positive has repeatedly been shown to lower stress levels.

Besides, worrying doesn’t contribute to the problem-solving process in any way.When has worry ever actually helped you resolve a crisis? In a stressful situation, you may find yourself asking the question, “What if..?” While that question can get you thinking, the stress-soaked mind isn’t in the position to generate solutions.

Remember that at any given moment, you’re either working on a solution, or you’re spending time worrying. Meditation is a great way to clear your mind and de-stress. To get started, simply designate five minutes out of your day to focus on your breathing.

When your thoughts move away from your breathing – and they will – refocus on each breath. As you gain proficiency, you can increase your sessions from 5 minutes to 10, and then to 15.

Meditation has been shown to reduce stress levels and blood pressure. Although meditation is powerful, there’s an even better way to deal with stress.

Everyday Stress and Stressors Add Up

A single neglected weed can take over a garden in a few weeks. Similarly, life’s small stresses quickly add up. Free yourself of these low-grade stressors by taking stock of them, and then drawing up a plan to deal with them one by one.

As you remove the small stressors from your daily life, you’ll empower yourself to deal with life’s larger issues. You’ll have more energy and feel more optimistic. With optimism comes opportunity.

Proactively dealing with stress is like taking off blinders. Suddenly you’ll find new and exciting ways to express yourself. You’ll form deeper relationships with your family and friends. You’ll also feel more gratitude for everyday things. Gratitude has its own rewards.

Get started now by making a list of all the stressors in your life. Once you think you’ve got them all down, step away for a day, and then go back to the list to add any you forgot. Then, go through them one by and write a sentence or two on how you can deal with them. Take action on your ideas. This takes time, but step by step, you’ll feel your stress melting away.

Till Next Time

Mike Gardner – The Time Doctor


Mike Gardner aka ‘The Time Doctor’ and is highly regarded as one of the UK’s leading Time Management and productivity specialists. As well as being regularly featured in both online and off-line media outlets around the world, he is the author of the best selling time management book, Business Owners: Your Family Misses You. He regularly speaks on topics that are congruent with his mission of helping small business owners, entrepreneurs and independent professionals to be incredibly productive, whilst still balancing their business and family commitments in a way that enables them to feel fulfilled and guilt-free. He is an avid Aston Villa fan, a Dad to Neil & Emma, a hubby to Wendy and in his role as an Officer with the reserve forces, he has completed operational tours of Iraq and Afghanistan.

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9 thoughts on “How to Keep Stress Levels Down When Times Get Tough

  1. Thanks for the tips. I know firsthand what stress can do to the body, especially the heart.

    I love your idea of writing everything that stresses you down. Getting it down on paper gets it out of your head and I’ve found that goes along way to taking the emotions out of it. Once it’s just words on a page it’s much easier to deal with.
    Helena Bowers recently posted…Create Content That Oozes ConfidenceMy Profile

  2. I really enjoyed your Blog, it was full of really easy to implement ideas that will have a huge impact in my life and enable me to become more focused. Thankyou

  3. Hi Mike,
    Stress can kill you!
    With worries, I learned years ago to visualize the worst thing that could happen. Then expect lesser outcomes. Works for me…
    Edward Thorpe