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Top Ways to Manage Stress



Sick of the strain? You can develop strategies to mitigate the tension.

Lisa Gruenloh, a Naples-based organizational consultant and trainer, says self-awareness and understanding are the foundation for business leaders seeking to reduce their stressed-out state.

“It really requires a lot of discipline, attention and awareness on our part to learn what is creating stress,” says Gruenloh, president of Purpose Journey.

Here are five tested ideas for dealing with the stress.

1. MASTER THOUGHTS: By being aware of self-talk, understanding feelings and recognizing stress triggers, you can become more proactive in managing and eventually eliminating stress.

“If we don’t have a sense of when we can feel that stress and tune into what we’re feeling, it’s very hard to do anything about it,” Gruenloh says. “If you’re not keenly aware of the things that cause stress, there’s nothing you can do to proactively reduce, eliminate or manage it.”

A holistic approach to dealing with stress is critical, and seeing the big picture about work and life is more desirable than focusing on just the things that are going wrong.

2. ‘OM’ MOMENTS: Meditation is the answer for Heather Christie, president of Evolve Global, a strategic leadership development company based in Fort Myers. She has taught CEOs and senior-level executives to meditate, even when they’ve told her they won’t be able to shut their mind down or slow down their thought processes.

“When you begin to meditate, you can find that quiet space. If you are mindful, you can get into that state and change your frequency of thought,” she says. “The best-of-thebest leaders not only do this, but it is absolutely the best way that I know to relieve stress. Exercise is a close second.”

3. TAKE CARE: Spending time away from work is an essential element of both mental and physical health. In the short term, the break may take the form of a quick walk in the middle of the workday. For the long term, distraction-free time divorced from work—especially in the company of family members—is critical.

Eric Cioffi, owner and operator of Well Vending, a Naples-based vending machine service that offers healthy snacks and beverages, uses journaling, meditation and exercise to fend off job-related stress.

“It’s being able to understand what actually happens on an emotional level that helps you break negative stress cycles,” he says. “For fitness, I do calisthenics and weight training, and to deal with stress, I run it out. It works nicely for me.”

Sometimes that family member, or excuse for a break, is a pet. Ted Bill, president of Naples-based Pelican Wire Co., says his dog is his best stress reliever. “She makes sure that I take a nice, long walk in the morning, and she makes sure that I take a nice, long walk in the afternoon. She hops up on the couch and reminds me that it doesn’t matter what the day is like, she still needs petting.”

4. DE-CLUTTER: Organization can go a long way in relieving stress. If you prioritize wisely and effectively manage time, you can focus more on adding value to your job, your company and yourself. Gruenloh suggests eliminating unnecessary distractions, time-wasters and opportunities for confusion as part of your organizational overhaul.

5. PLAY TIME: Find a passion to occupy part of your mind and time. Joseph Padgett, an executive for North Fort Myers-based LCEC, sings in a band—called the Kilowatts. Made up of LCEC employees, the Kilowatts perform rock ’n’ roll and country rock tunes, often for nonprofit events. “That’s where I put my energy after work,” he says. “I try to put my passion into something else so that I’m not stressing out over things that are going on here.”

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