As a Business Owner/Entrepreneur, do you know what your hostile stress habits are? 

Is your knee-jerk reaction, “No, I don’t have any of those?”

Think about the stress you feel when the demands of your family and your business are competing for your attention. What begins as a stress reaction to your situation often becomes burned into your brain as an experience that it will associate repeatedly in the future.

Every instance where the demands on your time and energy are competing, your brain will trigger your stress reaction unconsciously, which can develop into a “Nasty” Stress Habit over time.

A reaction so hostile, that just thinking about the scenario will push you into feeling a state of stress and your reactions will show it immediately, i.e., snarky, cranky, intense, or extreme communication habits and behavior patterns.

The Way It Begins

This is catabolic energy… This way of thinking and reacting is very draining to your mental and physical wellbeing. It can narrow your focus creating resistance toward other points of view. You are more likely to toss about stinging barbs, harsh comments, or destructive feedback to those you communicate with. Resulting in raising the stress levels of everyone around you in reaction to your negative habits and patterns.

These reactionary patterns can become nasty habits over time. Sounds like a recipe for disaster…

But what if you are a person that believes they thrive under stress? When the pressure is on, you perform brilliantly, are your most productive, and blaze through your day.

Looking back – were you thriving or burning out as you steam roll ahead? As you were blazing a trail were you communicating effectively and or actively listening to others, and or leading others with positive reinforcement?

*Cringe* No, you were most likely perceived by others as obnoxious, difficult, brazen, relentless, and the list goes on…

What do you believe happens to your mental and physical health when you operate in this stress reactive manner? It creates adverse situations with your wellbeing. High blood pressure, mood swings, poor decision making, unhealthy eating habits, as well mental and emotional disconnection from those around you.

If you are thinking – this doesn’t sound like me – maybe it isn’t, or maybe you just don’t recognize it in yourself yet.

Perhaps stress shows up differently for you. Do the demands on your time and energy create feelings of fear – letting everyone down, not being able to make everyone happy, worry that someone’s feelings will get hurt – leaving you to feel inadequate or overwhelmed?

This might create a feeling of never being able to find a solution, never being able to Be or Do enough – leading to some unhealthy stress habits. Too often this type of stress reaction can lead to overindulgence like binge eating or self-medicating. It also tanks your mindset – everywhere you look you only see the problems, the obstacles, and never the solutions.

What Happens in the Middle

No matter how Stress and your stress response show up for you, it’s the repetitive actions (habits and patterns) that create the nasty stress habits. The more it becomes your unconscious pattern, the uglier the habit, the harder it can be to break.

The greater your stress, the uglier the stress reaction, the more damage it potentially causes your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. It clouds your judgment, distracts your focus, distorts your perspective, weighs down your thoughts, and encourages negative behaviors like aggression, intimidation, and or avoidance.

TRUTH – the nasty stress habits never serve your purpose in the way you might imagine.

In the short term they may appear to be catalysts to accomplishing tasks or resolving issues. But all they really accomplish is damaging your sense of self, your relationships with others, and your overall wellbeing.

Long term, you may think the hostile stress habits have protected you – from hurt or harm, mistakes, and poor choices. Yet, the consequences could be just the opposite. As you are more likely to unconsciously participate in self destructive behaviors under the guise of taking care of business.

YES, it can be difficult to recognize and unlearn your nasty stress habits, but it’s not impossible.

Break the Cycle

With commitment and practice it is possible to unlearn your unhealthy stress reactions and create healthier stress responses that allow you to experience and express your thoughts and feelings in a more productive manner.

The first step is AWARENESS – so pay attention to when you feel stressed. Notice your repeated behaviors and actions. Pay attention to your thoughts, and the reactions of others around you.

Second step is ACKNOWLEDGE – your habits and patterns exist, and then start uncovering the underlying root cause(s).

Third step is ACTION – make the conscious committed choice to replace one (1) unhealthy stress habit for one (1) healthy habit at a time.

These steps can help you create and sustain anabolic energy. A way of Being that is constructive, expansive, and focused forward on growth where your habits and patterns are more likely to be contemplative and response driven. Your physical and mental wellbeing will be healthier and more sustainable, as will your relationships, your decision making, and your thought patterns.