Three simple procedures for reducing stress when challenges occur

Leadership in today’s fast-paced economy requires a steady hand at the helm of the ship. As challenges arise, and they often do if you are trying to build a meaningful business, the team will look to the leader for direction. This puts a lot of pressure on leaders to not only have the answers, but also to be resilient in the face of challenges.

When problems happen, we can allow them to influence us to act in a way that we don’t want to, or to make a decision we later regret. I have found three techniques that allow me to pause, remain calm and make clearer decisions when challenges arise.

These techniques are meditation, journaling and calling a mentor.

Meditation is oxygen to anyone in leadership. Taken from the book “NeuroWisdom: The New Brain Science of Money, Happiness and Success,” by Mark Waldman and Chris Manning, “a combination of relaxation and mindful awareness eliminates physical and mental stress and allows you to solve problems more easily and attain goals more quickly.”

When you take as little as 30 seconds to step away from an issue and close your eyes to meditate by focusing on your breath, you can come back to the problem with a renewed sense of intuition and clarity. Meditating regularly also widens the gap between information and reaction, allowing you to be the calm captain at the helm of the ship.

Journaling can be a great way to get out of your head and into creativity when a problem arises. Dale Carnegie talked about the practice of compartmentalizing in his book, “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.” The idea of writing down a challenge and questions to a challenge can allow you to work through something that might seem monumental, but really only requires a different perspective.

If you still feel stressed after asking questions and journaling the answers, try this:  Write the problem down on a piece of paper and put it into a drawer. Pull it out in a month and see if it is still a significant issue. Many times, what stresses you today isn’t a big deal tomorrow.

Try calling a mentor or someone who can provide wise counsel. These are people you have learned from, or continue to learn from. Share your challenge. If they are good, they will ask you questions and you will lead yourself to an optimal solution. The biggest opportunity here is to have someone listen. In doing this, you will not feel as though you are all alone in solving your problems.

Today’s fast-paced business world requires new leaders, leaders who are in touch with themselves and have a new set of tools with which to lean on when challenges arise. Meditation, journaling and calling a mentor allows leaders of today to solve significant business challenges in creative ways, while reducing stress levels.

John Ziss Jr. is executive vice president at Kurtz Bros. Inc.