How to Relieve Stress with Mental Toughness

by: Michael Licenblat

Knowing how to relieve stress at work is more than picking the right stress management techniques – a lot comes down to your mental toughness.

Do people tend to push your ‘hot buttons’, leaving you feeling frustrated and intense? Do the mannerisms of your clients’, or their poor communication skills annoy you? Do demanding or abrupt customers make you feel stressed and uptight?

Then you need to get mentally tough!

Mental toughness is an essential stress relief skill required for becoming resilient to the pressures and stresses in work and life.

Just feeling frustrated, uptight or upset because of what someone has said or done will create tension and stress in your body.

Ronald Glaser, director of Ohio State University’s Institute for Behavioural Medicine Research said, “It’s clear that stressors produce abnormal changes in the immune system”. Glaser and his wife, Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, a clinical psychologist also at Ohio State University, studied the mind-body connection and found that chronic stress and psychological stress can impede wounds from healing, may impair the effectiveness of vaccines and can weaken the immune system of caregivers [1]. In this physical state, you may feel easily tired, emotionally sensitive, and your body becomes prone to strains, spasms and pain.

There is, however, a more positive effect created when changing the way you respond to potentially stressful situations. Carol Ryff, a psychology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, says, “There is a science that is emerging that says a positive attitude isn’t just a state of mind. It also has linkages to what’s going on in the brain and in the body.” [1]

You may not realise it, but the way in which you react to the people you work or do business with, is creating the tension and stress in your body.

Stress doesn’t happen to you – it happens because of you.
You may be unwittingly increasing the stress in your own life.

So, what can you do about it?…

Change what you focus on.

Toughen your mind by disciplining it to focus on solutions rather than problems. An undisciplined mind dwells on problems and churns over those negative aspects of people that bother you. This simply creates more tension in your body. Studies have found that ‘pain is a psychologically constructed experience’ [2].

The key of how to relieve stress is not simply finding the ‘ideal stress management technique’.
You need to change your focus. You create or reduce pain depending on what you focus on or what you believe to be true.

Focus on what you want – instead of what you don’t want.

-> Focus your mind and energy on how problems can be solved, instead of getting upset because someone disagrees with you.

-> Focus your mind on the task at hand, instead of other people’s opinions of you.

-> Focus your mind on all the good you can achieve, instead of beating yourself up over one or two mistakes.

-> Focus your mind on your good nature and sense of humour, instead of harsh words from a demanding client.

-> Focus your mind on the insignificance of your problems when you consider that over 150,000 people have lost their lives, and millions have been left homeless.

-> Worry less about people’s bad moods, poor communication and outbursts. Get the message and get on with it. You don’t need the stress.

For the rest of your days, there will be people who say things you don’t like, will disagree with you opinion and disapprove of your choices. If you let that resistance determine what you do, you’ll never be free of stress and pressure.

Looking for ways on how to relieve stress sometimes makes you ignore the reasons that are closest to home – your own thoughts and actions. Finding stress relief is not as simple as picking up a stress management book and trying out all the stress management techniques. Instead, become mindful of what you focus on and watch your stress shift.

I teach people how to become resilient to pressure and stress for many reasons, but one important reason is that in the past eight years I have lost several special people in my life due to tragic circumstances. If one positive lesson could come out of that it’s realising that life is too short to waste time getting drained from stress because of what or how other people communicate with you.

I wish for you to enjoy work, family and life – not endure it. Don’t live for the weekends – live today…because there is no guarantee of what tomorrow will bring.


About The Author

Michael Licenblat B.Sc.(Psych) is a Resilience Expert who helps people in business bounce back fast from pressure, stress and burnout in their work and life. He is the author of ‘Turn Stress into Energy & Enthusiasm’.

To download his special report on the ‘Seven ways to prevent yourself becoming Stressed-Out, Over-Worked, and Run-Down’, visit:

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