Have you ever met anyone whose life is so stress-free that they have absolutely no interest in learning how to prevent stress? I haven’t either. I know some very calm and balanced folks, but even they are open to continuous learning.
Recently, writer Janette Novak was curious about small habits that increase productivity and reduce stress and asked the following question:
“What’s ONE small habit that helps you either improve your productivity OR helps reduce stress in your life (or both)?
Please limit your response to one habit and provide a brief explanation of how that habit helps you. Please keep your response to 125 words or less.”
Here was my response:
Breathe in and smile after someone makes a request of you. In these few moments while you’re acknowledging the individual with positive body language, you’re allowing your brain to move from a reactive people-pleaser mode and into response mode. Taking just these few moments will give you the space to decide if what you’re about to say yes to will indeed support your professional or personal priorities. Responding instead of reacting will support your quest for productivity and prevent you from over-committing and stressing yourself out.
If the request is in person while you’re wearing a mask or over the phone, you can still implement this habit through the tone of your voice. If it comes during a Zoom call, let that positive body language show! If it arrives via an email, text or instant message, translate the body language into positive words.
Try it out. When pausing before answering becomes a regular habit for you, you’ll definitely prevent stress for your future self.
If you or your team need assistance with preventing stress, you have options!