Every job comes with its stressful moments. Your challenge is to make sure those moments don't drag on too long.
- Stress can be good in small doses. Think of the pangs of nervous energy you feel when you're about to give a speech. That shows you're alert, excited and ready to perform at your best.
- When you feel "keyed up," agitated or overwhelmed, embrace that sensation rather than resist it. Treat it as a short-term positive-a phase that you must pass through on your way to deliver peak performance.
- At the same time that you welcome the stress, decide how long it will stay with you. Example: If your boss unexpectedly rejects your report and asks you to redo it, say to yourself, "I'll shift into stress mode for two minutes to deal with what's going on here. Then I'll move on, stress-free."
- To set boundaries on stress:
- Separate past, present and future. It's normal to feel stress about the current situation, especially if it's difficult or unpleasant. But if you're dwelling on past events and still harboring anxiety about them-or you're overcome with dread about a task or meeting that's scheduled for next week-then you put yourself in a weaker state to handle what's facing you right now.
- Draw a "stress box." On a piece of paper, summarize the source of your stress in a few words. Then draw a box that encloses the words you've just written. Give yourself a minute or two to feel anxious about the issue; then take a thick felt-tip marker and draw a big red X through the box. This is your visual signal to stop worrying.