Guest Post by: Tumi Frazier, founder of Tumi Frazier International
For as long as we are alive, we will experience some degree of stress, especially when running our own businesses. Stress is a natural physical and mental reaction to good and bad experiences that can be either beneficial or detrimental to our health. Prolonged, excessive stress is not just detrimental to our health, but can be debilitating and deadly. We all know this as entrepreneurs, but somehow take it far too lightly.
Remember, when you are experiencing high levels of stress your muscles naturally tense up to protect themselves from injury. If you are constantly under stress, your muscles do not have time to relax and this may lead to headaches and body pains, especially affecting your back and shoulders, not to mention a compromised immune system that may lead to communicable diseases further down the line.
On a personal level, this is exactly what I experienced recently having been under prolonged and tremendous amounts of stress, as a result of business and other responsibilities. In hindsight, the signs were there that my body was getting depleted and my immune system compromised, but I ignored them.
When I was at University studying Psychology, I had an opportunity to be part of an international programme of students who worked with cardiologists in hospitals, counselling outpatients on lifestyle changes for those who had undergone double or triple bypass surgery. The approach did not only focus on diet, exercise, drinking and smoking, but importantly also on self awareness. Self awareness makes it possible for you to better understand the ways in which your personality and lifestyle affect your health and well being.
Whilst I am a health fanatic, exercise regularly, and do not smoke or drink, I recognise that I am a Type A personality. As highly focused, action oriented entrepreneurs, you may relate to this; the Type A personalities are some of the people you see tapping their foot when they are in line at the grocery store and continually switching from one line to another one that looks shorter, or the ones driving behind you beeping to either move out of the way or drive faster. Type A personalities are very achievement driven, fast paced and highly impatient individuals. Their facial muscles are often tense, they speak quickly and are always under pressure. I am one of them…
Now, one morning just recently, I woke up with partial facial paralysis; the inability to move the muscles on one side of my face. This was a scare and a wake-up call because I thought I knew better. Whilst the specific causes of partial facial paralysis are not known, researchers are exploring the possible causes, some of which may be stress related. Considering the physiological effects of stress on the body, it is possible to make the connection with an event such as the partial paralysis of the face taking place in my case.
Given the overwhelming task of running your own business, pressure and stress is inevitable, but you have to STOP and take a break. You are of no value to anyone when depleted. So, my suggestion is that you practice some of the following techniques: Meditation, relaxation therapy, or simply sit quietly and enjoy a beautiful view. Do whatever you enjoy doing just to escape the day-to-day pressure of the business. This I find requires tremendous self discipline and control, but the payoff is worth it. Ultimately, learn to say No to the good so you can say YES to the great. Also, apply the 80/20 principle - you need to focus on what achieves 80% effectiveness for 20% of the effort, someone smart recently told me.
Tumi Frazier is a South African entrepreneur, professional speaker, author, TV personality, consultant, and founder of Tumi Frazier International, Tumi Leadership Academy, and Tumi Foundation. Tumi is an internationally acclaimed Leadership and Change Management expert who has worked with high profile clients and organizations across Africa, United States and Europe. Tumi has authored 4 books: Courageous Stories of Inspiration; In the Midst of the Storm; Stepping Stones to Success; and Your Moment. Follow Tumi Twitter | LinkedIn
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