How to Handle Big ChallengesAug 17, 2023
If you’ve ever felt like you’ve caught a bad mood from someone, it probably wasn’t your imagination.
I read a study in a journal called Nature Neuroscience, that looked into this, and was fascinated because it’s something I’ve personally experienced (and chances are you have too).
Have you ever been in the middle of a great day, and then you run into someone who is totally stressed out, angry or worried?
And then before you know it, you’re knocked out of your good mood. Suddenly you feel stressed and agitated.
According to the study, scientists found that the "brain changes" associated with stress are actually contagious and can “infect” others.
After a stressor is removed, females are better able to reverse those brain changes, while males have a tougher time with it.
This particular research studied mice, so obviously more investigation needs to be done on people, but it shows how stress has such a profound impact on us (even if it’s not our own stress) right down to the brain-chemical level.
While some stress is healthy, like creating urgency and accountability in your life, too much stress can take a serious toll.
Over time it can affect your health, sleep, and even your waistline.
So, what can you do about it?
At the most fundamental level, you must learn how to manage stress in a constructive way, versus destructive (think drugs or alcohol to temporarily "forget" your problems).
How to Handle Big Challenges
Here are seven positive things you can do to manage the difficulties in your life.
1. Avoid tough discussions before bed
Save the difficult talks for earlier in the day whenever possible.
Stress makes it hard to sleep, which in turn can make you even more anxious.
Make your best effort to get deep, quality sleep nightly because it's the fastest way to feel better.
2. Train hard
Studies show that putting your body through physical stress helps relieve mental stress.
Randomized, near-death workouts will only break your body.
Follow the principles of progression and overload in all of your workouts.
3. Breathe deeply
Inhale for four seconds as you feel your belly and lungs expand, hold for two seconds, and then slowly exhale for another four seconds.
Repeat several times.
You’ll notice your body start to relax.
4. Eat healthy fats like salmon, chia and flaxseed
In one study, medical students who were given omega-3 supplements reported stress reduction of 20 percent.
If you're not convinced that food is your best medicine, try this 12-week experiment: Remove unprocessed foods and be mindful when you eat.
Watch what happens (leaner, more energy, less brain fog, happier, and a laundry list of other benefits).
5. Try aromatherapy
Lavender, orange, ylang ylang and frankincense oils can help you relax.
Place a drop or two into your palms and then rub your hands together.
6. Get some fresh air
It’s amazing what a walk can do to change your perspective.
According to research from the journal Psychology of Sport and Exercise, working out in nature helps to reduce anxiety.
7. Watch a funny movie or listen to uplifting music
Smiling and laughing boosts feel-good brain chemicals.
Bottom line: If you’re feeling frazzled, take a "time out" to relax.
The most important thing you can do is take a step back and take care of YOU.
As you know, this will help you take better care of everyone and everything around you.
One more thing.
A mistake that everyone makes somewhere along the way is thinking that if some is good, more is better.
More things on the to-do list. More ideas and projects. More hours worked.
But the reality is that things don’t work that way.
The law of diminishing returns kicks in: Your appetite for opportunity becomes greater than your ability to accomplish.
But the good news is that the whole "overdoing it" thing is self-imposed.
If you are struggling to get to a healthy weight, for example, I bet you are managing a number of projects simultaneously.
Individually, each project is likely important; but, with each of them getting only 20% of your efforts, none could reach their full potential.
See, having the right strategy is more about what you say "no" to than it’s about what you say "yes" to.
There are a number of things that you could do that would likely move you toward your goals; however, the only thing that matters is what you actually do and do well.
That’s why I both practice and teach the approach of having roughly three key things that you want to accomplish each week and three primary action items you want to tackle each day.
Sure, you can do more but only after you’ve allocated the necessary time and energy to accomplish those.
What’s so great about this approach is that you’re identifying what it takes to "win" each week and "win" each day.
With this approach, you’ve got a simple way to enjoy accountability, gain a sense of accomplishment and move forward in a significant way each and every week.
Most importantly, you'll avoid overwhelm in the process.
If you’re overdoing it, stop now.
Do fewer things better and improve your results.
Have a relaxing day.
To your success,
Joseph Arangio helps 40+ men and women lose weight, gain strength, and slow aging. He's delivered over 100,000 transformation programs to satisfied clients around the globe. If you want to increase longevity with the best online age-management program, or you want to visit the best age-management program in the Lehigh Valley, you can take a free 14-day trial.