IAPCE is proud to have Drew Crowder, a 15-year CEO and business veteran, with holdings and board seats in over a dozen companies, brands and restaurants, as one of it’s founding members and a content contributor to this site.
What do you think of when you hear that word? Most of you get stressed out, because stress is scary. At it’s very base, it’s an automatic response that your body produces chemically. It can’t be controlled, it can’t be stopped, it’s an unstoppable train driven by the devil himself.
OR IS IT?
My first dose of stress was the stress my parents put on me to excel in sports and school. Then once I discovered girls, it was social stress. Then once I went to college it was societal stress. Then once I graduated college it was industrial and institutional stress. Today we have to place more focus on the stress and pressure of social media, especially for entrepreneurs. There are never enough hours in the day to do what we want.
Why the hell is there so much stress in life and how do I deal with it?
First, I’m not a doctor or a psychologist, I don’t pretend to have all the answers and I certainly don’t think there is a single solution for every human. We are all different, and it’s not a matter of being strong or being smart, it’s a matter of coping with the daily barrage of crap that life throws at us. We could be in the most wonderful home life and still feel terrible because of stress and sadness. We’re not here to talk about depression, this is JUST stress. BUT stress can bog you down, so if you reduce it, you might be able to fit more neutral or positive feelings into your day.
How you react to these situations will decide how your body reacts in the future, so if you take a few simple steps each time you encounter stress, the next time won’t be as bad. The next time your heart is pounding from stress, try to remember this article. It might help.
Chemically, stress is a reaction your body suffers when one or more exterior forces act against it in a manner that is counter-intuitive to the way you normally operate. You react chemically and your body follows suit. You sweat, you get heart palpitations and you want to run away. BUT WHY? The best way I’ve found is to try and understand and conquer it through science. Your body releases a peptide hormone called Oxytocin when you encounter a situation you might deem “stressful”. It could be a costume, a design project, a speech or presentation, a challenging social situation, a competition, a pitch meeting, an investor meeting, or a convention. As a small business owner you encounter these situations all the time and each one produces it’s own effect on your body.
Science says if you change how you interpret stress, you can avoid the negative reaction your body suffers from it.
Let me elaborate.
There have been studies done that say stress, or as I call it the “compounding circular stress cycle”, kills. More deaths can be attribute to stress and symptoms of stress than some cancers, and all vehicle related deaths nationwide combined.
We all deal with stress differently, some people eat, some people drink, some people disappear from the world like an ostrich with its head in the sand. What I do, and what I suggest, is to transform the stress into opportunity.
What the hell does that even mean?! This article is stressing me out.
Here’s the big ‘finale’. Your body releases this oxytocin during stressful situations, which is a marvelous thing. It’s a “neuro-hormone”, its a focal point of empathy, it strengthens relationships, it’s a “friendship mechanism” that actually is also released when you hug someone. It makes you seek support, from deep down in your biology. Your heart, your nerves, your pain and pleasure receptors are all firing while your body suffers the trauma of stress. One of the biggest roles that oxytocin plays in stressful situations is acting like a warm hug for your body, it helps cells regenerate and heal from stress. Guess what this means, the more you HELP people, the better you are at coping with stress. The key is to turn the trauma into opportunity, face the trauma head-on, and foster situations in which your body can release oxytocin WITHOUT being under stress, that way you’re conditioned to it, and interpret stressful situations as opportunities, rather than a threat. Helping people with their stressful situations will help you deal with yours, it will help you turn the lion into a lamb, you will learn to compartmentalize your stress and chip away at the big block like ice, eventually getting into manageable pieces.
Stress is a part of life, especially for entrepreneurs, but if you can tackle the scientific portion, you might not even sweat the small stuff. Science can help, you have to do the rest.
Ultimately the key is NETWORKING. Helping your peers tackle situations, even brainstorming sessions are often seen as group therapy. Don’t reach out to the darkness, grab someone’s hand and seek the light. Don’t always look for ‘the best fun time ever’, maybe just reach out to people to see if there’s anything they need, especially if you have a spare minute, even if you don’t. That’s why Con Collective is here, you’re not alone, we can do it together.