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What is stress?

Stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand or threat. When you feel threatened, your nervous system responds by releasing a flood of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, which rouse the body for emergency action. Your heart pounds faster, muscles tighten, blood pressure rises, breath quickens, and your senses become sharper. These physical changes increase your strength and stamina, speed your reaction time, and enhance your focus. This is known as the “fight or flight” or mobilization stress response and is your body’s way of protecting you.

When stress is within your comfort zone, it can help you to stay focused, energetic, and alert. In emergency situations, stress can save your life—giving you extra strength to defend yourself, for example, or spurring you to slam on the brakes to avoid an accident. Stress can also help you rise to meet challenges. Stress is what keeps you on your toes during a presentation at work, sharpens your concentration when you’re attempting the game-winning free throw, or drives you to study for an exam when you'd rather be watching TV. But beyond your comfort zone, stress stops being helpful and can start causing major damage to your mind and body. 

It was all sounding good, almost positive until the very last sentence (in BOLD). Over the last few weeks I have experienced more stress than I have ever experienced before, and this is coming from someone who had a stomach ulcer at 33 years old (something that is heavily linked with stress).

The reason for my stress has been a new addition to my world recently 'cashflow'. Since moving my UK manufacturing business to it's new, bigger premises cashflow has been a challenge. I had been told to expect to find cashflow hard, but I never imagined how hard. I have been on a very steep learning curve over recent months.

I know everyone has stress in their life and everyone deals with it in their own way, but I wanted to share four ways that I deal with it.

1) Training. For me this is the most powerful form of stress relief. If I feel like things are getting to me there is nothing better than going for a run or a swim. Shutting myself off from work and just spending an hour or two alone with just the hurt to think about is a very powerful tool and something I would recommend to anyone. 

2) Talking. I try and talk to people and get the things that are stressing me out off my chest. Sometimes it will be a rant to a friend, sometimes a heart to heart with Marsha or my Mum and other times a discussion with my staff, but talking can be a great way to dump off some stress.

3) Working. For me much of stress comes from work, so believe it or not to do more work can help relieve my stress. Much of the time work related stress comes from needing more work in, paying bills, hitting deadlines etc. So, doing more work and concentrating on your work quite often will put me in a better place.

4) Television & Movies. For me TV and watching movies with Marsha is probably one of my favourite things to do. When I am watching a movie it is one of the few times I don't look at my phone, don't think about work, want to check my emails. to totally immerse myself in a TV programme or movie is great and for the 60-90mins I have no stress.

These are very obvious, but sometimes people ignore the obvious things and start over thinking the problems. For me the simple things are always best and any stress can be dealt with if you are lucky enough to have family and friends around you. For me Marsha is my best friend and I am lucky enough that she supports me and puts up with my work hours and the stress that comes with it.

Thought i'd write this post after a bonkers week, helps me put things into perspective, but unfortunately my stress levels will remain very high until tomorrow's Private Equity triathlon is over.