The four best ways to respond to an unexpected event

Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

I recently had an unexpected event in my career. A contract that I relied upon was, without warning, suddenly stopped. I was shocked. It shook me to my core. Psychologist Abraham Maslow would have defined it as an assault on my psychological need for safety, in this case, financial safety. Safety is one of the basic human needs defined by Maslow. I felt stressed. I needed to react.

Entire books and countless LinkedIn posts have been written about stress reduction. But here are the four things that I use to reduce my stress levels. Field-tested by me over my 37-year career.

  • Exercise regularly
  • Get sufficient sleep.
  • Spend time with friends.
  • Meditate and be mindful.

You have probably heard them all before. But when my stress levels started to increase after my unexpected event, I took stock of how I was doing against these four self-care strategies. I made sure I was getting to bed earlier, started some light expertise, shared my fears with my colleagues, asked their advice, and embraced my daily mediation.

Very quickly, my stress levels reduced. I started to view the unexpected event as an opportunity, an inflection point. I had faced and had successfully overcome much more challenging events than this in my past. It is not rocket science, but it is science. When you feel your stress levels increasing, look at the four anchors of self-help: exercise, sleep, friends, and meditation.

They work for me.

How do you reduce your stress?

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