Stress busting tools so you can quickly get back on track
You are great at your job. I know you love to hit those targets, get a massive kick out of getting the sale, and make all your customers feel happy and well cared for while you’re doing it. It’s a passion for you, isn’t it?
You aren’t just selling a product, you’re making people’s lives better. Helping them to get a great deal on a product you passionately believe in. Giving them great service. And you know that their purchase is going to make things so much better for them.
But it gets so stressful, sometimes doesn’t it? It feels great when you reach those targets, but sometimes it feels a long way off. Sometimes you worry that you won’t do it. You occasionally can’t sleep for it. And your lunch break sometimes consists of a sandwich eaten in mouthfuls between calls. Sometimes you worry that your prospects can hear the stress in your voice, and wonder if that the reason for some of your ‘No’s’.
You love your job, but sometimes it feels overwhelming, and you worry it might be making you ill.
You could really use some tools to help you relax and let go of tension easily when you need it. You know that there are times when you could be more relaxed as you pick up the phone. The buzz of adrenaline helps no end, but not when it is tinged with anxiety and exhaustion.
Fortunately, there are some things you can do before you start work, sitting at your desk, or by taking a short comfort break that can really help.
This simple practice of sitting with your breath, quietly observing the breath, is the simplest, most effective way to calm down your racing thoughts. If you can find 5 minutes before you leave the house, sitting on the train, or in the car park before you go into the office, you will find huge benefit in this practice.
All you have to do is sit with your back straight, eyes closed, and focus your awareness onto your breath. You don’t have to change the pattern of your breath, although you might find it naturally slows down. You definitely don’t have to stop yourself from thinking. All you do is breathe, and pay close attention to the breath. Your mind will wander, and that is ok, just like you, it is doing its job. When you notice the mind is wandering, simply let go of the thought, and return your attention to your breath. You may find you have to do this several times during the session. That is ok. Each time you practice this, it will be easier.
Making this a part of your day will lower your stress levels, give you a valuable opportunity to ‘reboot’ your mind, and provide clarity and focus. It can be done in the morning, at lunchtime, and is very useful at bedtime if you struggle to sleep at night.
Deep, rhythmic breath
This breathing practice, known as Sukha Pranayama, is a slow, deep breath that will help to calm you when you are feeling anxious and stressed. Slow, deep breathing soothes the nervous system and takes you out of the overly emotional stress response, and into the relaxation response. When your mind is relaxed it is better able to find solutions to problems, think creatively and quickly, and respond to other people with empathy. All of which are vital during your sales calls.
Sukha Pranayama is a rhythmic breath, which means that you breathe in for the same amount of time as you breathe out. During this practice you want to fill your lungs completely, so that you feel your abdomen expanding as well as your chest as you inhale. You exhale completely as well, feeling that sense of release and emptying as the lungs expel all the carbon dioxide your body no longer needs.
When you practice this, you want to aim for a 6 second breath, breathing in and out for 6 seconds. If this is not possible, keep your breaths even, and aim to get there one day. You may need to be taught some basic pranayama to expand your lungs to enable you to get there.
This is a very powerful pranayama practice that can help to relax your mind and body, and bring balance to your emotions. I use it if I have trouble sleeping, as well as during my class and personal relaxation.
To perform Savitri Pranayama you breathe in for a count of 6, then hold the breath for a count of 3, breathe in for 6, then hold for 3. Repeat this 9 times.
If you are not used to pranayama I would advise practising Sukha Pranayama for a while at a 6 second count to get your body used to breathing so deeply. When you can master Savitri Pranayama, it is a powerful practice and one you will find very healing and relaxing.
This is Alternate Nostril Breathing. It is a great practice to turn to when you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed. It is best done in conjunction with Savitri Pranayama described above.
The practice is best done with your eyes closed so that your full attention is on your breath.
To begin the practice, take your right hand, and, with your little finger, close the left nostril.
Breathe in for a count of 6.
Hold the breath for a count of 3, then close the left nostril.
Close the right with your thumb, open the left, and breathe out through the left nostril for a count of 6.
Hold the breath for 3, then breathe in through the left for a count of 6.
Hold the breath for a count of 3, then open the right nostril and close the left, breathe out for 6.
Hold for 3
This is one full round. Repeat at least 2 more times, but if you can do this practice 9 times in total then do. Allow yourself a few moments to rest afterwards, and stop if you start to feel light headed.
This is a fun and highly effective practice that enables you to release tension and stress in the moment, leaving you feeling calm and relaxed, both physically and mentally. It is a physical and noisy practice, so might not be suitable for the office, unless you can persuade your manager that all your team need it at the start of your shift (It would do everyone good, and be a great pre-shift relaxer!)
The practice is done standing up. Shake your right hand vigorously, thinking about all the tension and worries you want to release. Shake your left, then repeat on both sides. Then shake both hands, first to the right, moving up and down the whole of the body, then to the left. Then, still thinking about the stresses you need to release, throw your arms up to the ceiling and release with a loud whoosh. Repeat this process twice more, then allow the arms to relax at the side of the body.
This practice is great for energising you at the start of the day, and for letting go of your worries and tension at the end of the day. Stress manifests in the body as well as the mind, and this practice helps to release it from both.
Practice makes progress!
These 5 practices are powerful and invaluable tools to help you manage stress and energy levels as you go about your work. You can turn to these practices any time you need them, and the more you practice them, the more you will see the benefit of them. Try to incorporate at least one into your day for maximum benefit.
Want to know more?
I am running a webinar in which I will demonstrate these and other powerful tools that can help you throughout your workday. The webinar, called 10 Powerful Ways You can Reduce Stress at Work, is on Wednesday June 5th at 6pm UK time. I will be sharing some amazing tools you can turn to when you feel stressed and overwhelmed to enable you to take control of your emotions, wellbeing and energy. Find out more at right here.
Esther Nagle is a Yoga teacher and writer from South Wales in the UK. She teaches yoga in her community, teaching in schools and offices as well as community venues. Esther is passionate about the power of Yoga for mental wellbeing, having discovered its healing powers when she had a breakdown in 2013. Esther is on a mission to teach one million people to transform their lives by learning to breathe well, the most powerful tool she has found for physical and mental wellbeing. Esther can be found at http://rhonddayoga.co.ukand http://spacetobreatheacademy.com