STRESS IS ON THE RISE IN EVERY ASPECT OF THE EXECUTIVE’S LIFE –
WHAT TO DO?
The executive lifestyle is demanding and stressful. Time constraints, daily deadlines, ongoing accountability, longer working hours, weekly travel, dining out, entertaining and day-to-day family responsibilities can lead to feeling tired and unhealthy.
And It’s unrealistic to think that escalating demands of career, family and the world we live in will change any time soon. Stress is on the rise in the lives of executives and therefore their bodies.
So how do we take control and stay balanced and healthy while winning in business? The answer is with greater knowledge and targeted daily tactics. And at the center is understanding the science of the nervous system so we can manage the body’s stress response with daily choices.
An executive may not be able to change her boss, work load or travel schedule. However, there are some essential daily personal choices made around nutrition, hydration and sleep that will reduce stress and provide more energy and focus to deal with the professional life.
Our bodies are amazing machines, and the good news is that our bodies respond in predictable ways to daily stressors. Because of this predictability, taking three important steps will allow us to take control of stress and health while winning in business.
3 STEPS TO MANAGE AND CONTROL EXECUTIVE STRESS
- Understand how the nervous system works.
- Identify your top daily stressors.
- Systematically address each stressor with daily choices.
Managing your stress is just like any other business challenge – define it and solve for it. Addressing your body and life objectively with the clear goal of reducing stress and retraining your nervous system sets you on the path to taking control, feeling healthier and living longer.
STEP 1: UNDERSTAND HOW THE NERVOUS SYSTEM WORKS
ALL STRESS ACTIVATES THE AUTONOMIC NERVOUS SYSTEM: (ANS)
No matter the type of stress or how much stress, the body takes all stress into account as a whole and is wired to respond by activating the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS).
The ANS controls all our involuntary processes like breathing, sleeping, digestion and blood flow – basically, things that happen in our bodies automatically.
The ANS is a miraculous mechanism that keeps our bodies digesting, building muscle, growing, sleeping and repairing.
But there are two sides or branches of the ANS; essentially think of two sides of a scale, and the scale needs to stay balanced for our bodies to remain healthy.
Let’s quickly review the two branches of the ANS and why the phrase “Fight or Flight” is so mainstream and critical to understand.
TWO BRANCHES OF ANS: WHAT THEY DO INSIDE YOUR BODY
The two branches of the ANS are the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) and the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS).
THE SYMPATHETIC NERVOUS SYSTEM (SNS):
THE PARASYMPATHETIC NERVOUS SYSTEM (PNS):
The SNS is not the “bad” branch of the ANS. What’s bad is when the SNS dominates and the two branches are out of balance, sometimes for years. Let’s look at the next chart to see what can trigger our stress on a daily basis.
STEP 2: IDENTIFY STRESSORS: HOW YOUR BODY RESPONDS TO TYPICAL DAY
Now that we know the how the nervous system works, and how the body responds to daily stressors, what do we do? The chart below shows some simple individual steps to take to reduce daily stress. Taking these daily steps will also retrain and reset the balance within your nervous system and body for the long term.
STEP 3: DEPLOY TARGETED TACTICS TO SOLVE FOR DAILY STRESSORS THAT TRIGGER SNS “FIGHT-OR-FLIGHT” RESPONSE IN BODY
We have more power than we think to quickly begin taking control of our nervous system and managing our stress response by objectively looking at our lives and making daily choices that solve for stress triggers.
*While we at myMetabolix do not advocate drinking alcohol, drinking in moderation along with proper hydration and nutrition can still support a healthy body. But remember, alcohol is a drug and both a stimulant and depressant for the body.
A key element of the myMetabolix executive wellness program is to provide executives with the tools they need to manage their daily stress on a long term basis.