SME/PROFESSIONAL COUNSEL - Stress - Have a workout at the office. Some simple individual exercises provide quick-fix relaxation.
Stress has become a way of life for the owners and senior management of many small businesses. Without the financial back-up or manpower of their larger competitors, they feel beleaguered and under increasing pressure. Active stress management helps executives to unwind and feel that things are under control.
If you think your ways of coping with pressure are inadequate, take some time out to make use of the many courses, or read one of the plethora of self-help books available from bookshops. In the meantime, here is a mini physical workout that can be used as a quick-fix relaxer.
Find a quiet corner, where there are no prying or quizzical eyes - the lavatory will do. First, gently move your head from side to side, then up and down, to release any tension in your neck. Tightly screw up your face and tense up as much of your body as you can.
Hold that position for a couple of seconds, then slowly let your muscles relax. Repeat several times, ending with two full body stretches. Give your wrists and ankles a good shake. Rotate your shoulders in both directions and up and down. Then swing the top half of your body around on your hips several times. Finally, after giving yourself a thorough shake, take a few slow, deep breaths and repeat three times to yourself, 'I am relaxed.' You can then return to the fray.
If you are in a meeting or a conference and cannot leave the room, relax by consciously unwinding your body. Uncross your legs, drop your shoulders, sit up straight so that your body is well supported. Under the conference table, clench one or both of your fists and then slowly relax them. Repeat the same process with your feet and toes. No one will notice but you will immediately feel more relaxed and in control. You can be assured that when you speak, your voice will sound stronger and have greater impact because you are relaxed.
Gael Lindenfield is a psychotherapist and group work consultant 01705 738900.