Business leaders can manage their stress for optimal performance

Living a life without stress is virtually impossible, after all, stress is simply a normal reaction the body has when things change, resulting in physical, emotional, and mental responses.

A stress-free life would be a change-free life which no one actually wants and yet experts have written articles about the importance of reducing stress to our overall health.

Much of this advice is directed toward CEOs and owners, who cope with stress on a daily basis.

If you’re among this elite group, you’re acutely aware that change is a constant in your life, and your mind and body are forced to keep up as best they can.

You’re juggling everything from managing your business and employees to negotiating partnerships, spearheading innovation and attempting to balance your work and home lives.

You’re constantly told to do everything in your power to minimize stress, a mandate that may inadvertently add even more worry and anxiety to your already heavy load.

I have an alternate recommendation

High-performers are far better served to learn how to recognize the ways that stress manifests in their lives, understand their reactions to it, and manage it effectively.

Using smart biohacks to mitigate stress is more effective than attempting to eradicate it. Doing this allows business leaders to remain clear and focused in achieving business growth.

You can push aside the idea that stress is your mortal enemy and unlock your potential in order to facilitate the process of rediscovering what is truly possible for your life.

How does stress show up for a top business leader?

In my research around multi-modal healthcare, I spoke with fifteen CEOs and entrepreneurs about their primary sources of stress and how it manifests for them as individuals.

I was unsurprised to hear that, although these CEOs and entrepreneurs shared many common triggers, they had a wide range of reactions to those taxing situations. 

Many respondents cited overwork as an issue which is manifested in long hours, working weekends, inability to relax and focus on non-work activities, strained relationships.

Several Chief Executive Officers discussed the difficulties experienced with juggling the various responsibilities of being a highly visible business leader with anything else.

Attempting to fit in things like family events, kids’ sports practices, musical recitals, vacations and social gatherings made them feel like they couldn’t give their all to anything in their lives.

A handful of these interviewees also recognized that lack of support from family and friends added to their burdens. Feeling alone in a sea of stress makes navigation challenging.

Since every human system is different, every person will react to stress differently. The leaders I spoke with responded to pressure and worry in a wide variety of ways.

Some described their bodies lapsing into sickness when stress levels reached their apex and others explained that the constant hum of stress has made them utterly unable to relax.

The majority of the CEOs and entrepreneurs who were interviewed said that their overall stress at work and outside of work has begun to affect their productivity.

“I can get stuck in my stress so deeply that something that should take me 15 minutes takes me two hours,” said David Tabachnikov, Chief Executive Officer at ScholarshipOwl.

“All the thoughts swirling in my head derail my progress. In a way, I guess my subconscious is dealing with the stress and that takes away CPU cycles from my conscious brain.”

Miranda Martone, Founder & CEO of the Sexual Violence Prevention Association said that instead of slowing down due to stress, she can’t keep herself from continuing to work.

“Even if I try to turn off all my notifications, my brain is not capable of doing that anymore and it’s like, well, we should check it anyway,” Miranda explained.

Clients who engage me for my Beyond Biohacking Blueprint offering receive extra support in this area through my unique evaluation of their ability to deal with stress effectively..

In addition to mindset coaching, this snapshot of imbalances in their biology helps us work to rectify any issues that could be hampering them in achieving their performance peak.

In terms of how the top leaders I spoke with dealt with the pressures of their careers and lives, they described several ways they worked to continue achieving extraordinary results.

“For me, it comes down to being inspired every day,” said entrepreneur Heather Piazza.

“In addition, creating dedicated professional development time makes me feel like I have more control in what I can and can’t do which helps motivate me forward.”

Alternatively, Joyce Shulman, the Chief Executive Officer of 99walks prioritizes getting outside and walking, allowing nature to help relieve the stress she deals with.

“I get out for 15 minutes and it’s such a big shift for me. Spending time in the outdoors is known to help with physical wellbeing, reducing blood pressure, and of course, stress!”  

Tabachnikov focused less on management and more on mindset to keep his stress in check.

“There are a few beliefs that I hold that help me cope with stress. There’s this legend, that king Solomon had an engraving that said this too shall pass,” Tabachnikov said.

“I keep telling that to myself as well. When it’s good times, I remember that there might be bad times coming up. And when it’s the worst times, I know that it’s going to be fine.”

“It’s just a question of how to get there,” Tabachnikov emphasised.

Additionally, the key to dealing with stress is to find what works for you as an individual. My own clients work closely with me to create a personalised stress management profile.

Sustainable management of stress means accounting for anatomy, physiology, biochemistry and developing a clear picture of what each person should do for their unique situation.

Recognizing and mitigating stress in yourself

As a driven and top-performing leader yourself, it’s critical that you begin to recognize your own stress signals and find ways to manage your reactions.

From my recent round of interviews and interactions with my Beyond Biohacking Blueprint clients, I’ve identified these common signs of stress in business leaders.

  • Exhaustion or trouble sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Vertigo or dizziness
  • Irritability
  • High blood pressure
  • Muscle tension or jaw clenching
  • Stomach or digestive problems
  • Quick temper or disproportionate emotional reactions
  • Feeling overwhelmed or on edge
  • Memory issues
  • Trouble making decisions, solving problems, or concentrating

Once you know how your stress manifests, the critical next step is to find ways to actively manage it. The CEOs and entrepreneurs that I interviewed said that theydo everything from regular heavy workouts to time outdoors to repeating mantras to mitigate their stress.

Exploring my biohacking techniques helps CEOs to optimize their mindset, diet, vitamins, brain, gut microbiome, breathing, and fitness routines for extraordinary performance.

Its less about turning off the brain and more about optimizing the brain’s performance.

My Beyond Biohacking Blueprint is specifically designed for thriving individuals seeking stress-management techniques that enable a consistent in-flow state of being.

I help them master everything from breathwork to fitness, mindset to gut balance so they can put the brakes on their acute stress and elicit their body’s relaxation response at will. 

You may never be able to reduce your stress levels; as a business leader in an increasingly complex market, your world is likely to remain fast-paced and complex.

But you can certainly take a role in keeping your stress under control in ways that work for your unique needs, biological systems, and lifestyle.

Doing so can make your busy life feel infinitely more rewarding. 

If you’re interested in formulating your own Beyond Biohacking Blueprint to reach optimal performance and reach a potential you never knew existed.

Dr. Ladd Carlston is pioneering a new model for personal growth and healing. He emphasises seeking testing by experts to discover how to live a healthier and more fulfilling life.