Stress is not something that we need to avoid - it's just a sign that something is important to us. Stress is not a feeling; it's a physical reaction. To be good at stress, we need to learn how to control this reaction. Stress destroys personal relationships. When we go into stress mode we focus on 'getting stuff done'. Our conversations become very transactional - eg. what are you doing/this is what I am doing. There is no depth. What we lose is our ability to connect with people.

When you're having a conversation with someone do you try and finish their sentences? Do you tell fragmented stories as you struggle to be present? Feeling stressed is so common that we may not know that our health and personal relationships could suffer. Here are my 3 steps for working out how to work with it.

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Step 1: Is it important?
When asked, "How are you?" Instead of replying with "I'm really busy" try, "I'm working on something very important to me right now." If that feels like a lie then take a good look at your diary and work out what is most important to you.

Step 2: Get organised
When your world is going too fast we tend to meddle and have seven things half done. Once you've worked out what is important, devote your energy to it until it's completed. The unknown creates stress. Personally, I like lists, but do it your way. Get organised and create clarity.

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Step 3: Slow down

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Stop and breathe. I suck at mediating but this works for me - with your eyes closed, imagine you have a white dot on your forehead and breathe. Feel yourself slow down and the tension in your body release.

It's also likely you have failed to find time to get enough sleep or look after your physical, mental and emotional health. Physical - I train at the gym; mental - golf is my escape from the world; emotional - I find a way to laugh (singing in the car works). Again, do it your way.

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The result? You'll change your physical response to stress. You will have better conversations and a stronger connection in your personal relationships. But the biggest win is that you'll be clear on what is important to you, rather than feeling overwhelmed with what you 'must' do.

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