I usually naturally awake around 4 am most days. Today, though, I was up at 2:30 am. I had work-related items on my mind last night before bed, and they stuck to me.
This morning, after I figured out a plan, I felt great. As I drove to a morning meeting, I was energized. It made me think about how stress has two sides.
One side is the part that soaks up way too much energy. The other is the side that makes you feel motivated.
Serendipitously, I was on my b-school’s web site today and saw this graphic:
I chuckled when I saw it.
I think the trick, for me, is that the slopes of that curve change over time, as does the max. point. Part of that may be linked to age as I get older. Part of it may be regarding whether I’m feeling distracted or pumped-up.
But, optimizing that curve for me has always been a challenge.
I was at a board meeting the other week, and the CEO talked about how one’s anxiety level goes down when you hit 50 years-old.
“About time,” I joked. “It feels like five straight decades of anxiety for me!”
I find the following really help: exercise, time to pray/reflect/pseudo-meditate (since I am really bad at that last one), positive and collegial relationships with my partners at Kepha, a small circle of real friends, and connecting with my family members. Also: fly fishing.
Yet, it all feels like a constant work-in-progress.
What do you do to manage stress?