Today’s corporate warriors are often besieged with too many tasks, meetings, email, cell phone calls, pagers going off, Blackberrys buzzing, etc. Individually, these things are not significant, but when combined together in a constant barrage, all day long, they produce a cacophony of stimulation which, if not addressed through specific countermeasures, can cause a significant stress response in the brain. This stress response emanates from our primal, survival oriented center of the brain which, in times of crisis, can overload and over run the higher brain functions – i.e., those that allow us to plan, prioritize, manage time and people, and be creative.
Article in Harvard Business Review
According to an article in Harvard Business Review, when busy executives begin to experience symptoms of this stress response in the brain, they often forget important details, lose the ability to prioritize tasks, and generally feel overwhelmed. Overall tension in the body increases, as well as other important markers such as heart rate and blood pressure.
The ability to reduce and manage stress is a key issue in the overcoming of these symptoms in busy workers. Stress can be reduced in various ways such as relaxation, meditation, vacation, diet, and exercise. It is the last two, diet and exercise, that I am focusing on in my recommendations today.
5 Ways to Help Decrease the Stress
- Begin to increase complex carbohydrates at every meal. (Complex carbohydrates are whole wheat, multi-grain, etc.)
- As you increase complex carbohydrates, begin to eliminate simple carbohydrates. (Simple carbohydrates are white flour, white sugar, and white rice)
- Eat protein and vegetables (or fruit) with every meal.
- Exercise at least 3 days a week for a 1/2 hour or more.
- Daily short exercise breaks – this can be done at your desk or standing up in the office. It is a quick “10 Minute Recharge” for stress reduction and to increase energy throughout the day. This consists of moving all the joints in the body in circles or waves to increase mobility, increase blood flow in muscles and prevent stagnation. These joint mobility exercises coupled with active exhalation breathing aid in the reduction of stress and help to lower blood pressure.
These exercises can be taught quickly and easily, but the benefits are enormous.
For all the aspiring Corporate Warriors out there, how do you deal with stress?