Keep It R A D When Stress Hits

The answer to keeping it light when stress hits your business, or any part of your life, is RAD: Release And Deflect. If you've been in business for any length of time, and certainly if you are new to the business scene, you've probably had your share of stress in the form of anxiety or tension, aches or pains, eating problems or sleepless nights. You can consider yourself a seasoned business owner if you've experienced all of these dubious benefits.

“The News” Is Just Too Depressing!

Taking a break and watching the news these days is definitely not relaxing or refreshing to most people’s mind or spirit. When your schedule is so busy that you're grabbing for snippets of peace wherever, whenever and however you can grab them, one of the last things you want to suddenly face is anything that puts you in a tailspin toward more stress.

Have you ever sat down for a work break with a light snack, turned on TV, and within a few minutes you’re ready to throw something at the set? You thought you were tuning in to a comedy show, or definitely something light, but you got lucky and hit a news program filled with world drama. Suddenly your back hurts, your stomach feels upset, your vision is clouded, and you can’t concentrate.

What in the world were you thinking? Take a break? That's impossible! It wasn’t enough that you were able to send the kids off to your mother’s house so that you could finish your deadline. No! After seven hours of intense focus, you had to break from work and find a relaxing TV show to watch…but it backfired.   

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of stress tend to creep in gradually rather than to hit in one fell swoop. Being a one-person show is often worse than having a team to support you, especially when a tight deadline hangs over you and you're trying to finish making those brand items for a new craft show.

Yes, you've done well at other shows in past months, but a major sponsor saw your products and personally invited you to participate in this brand recognition show. The good news is that doing well can propel your business in a big way. The bad news is that if you don’t meet your deadline, you'll have no products to sell and your business could take a nosedive.

When Enough is Enough

Difficult times are hard enough to deal with under normal circumstances, and they can strike at any moment, rendering havoc everywhere. If you don’t already know how to do it, being in business for yourself is the perfect time to learn how to ask for help, and sooner rather than later is always best. You don’t have to wait until your tongue is hanging out, you haven’t washed clothes or cleaned house for a month, or scream at the top of your voice, “I can’t do this by myself, I need HELP!”

Even if you can’t define it, you can sense when you're reaching your limit. Realize that you are not a super hero who needs to suffer through anything and everything. You just make things harder on yourself and those around you. That calm, sweet, loving person you once knew yourself to be is still there. She’s just hidden under all that stress. Saying to yourself, “I can’t take it anymore,” is your clue that you've crossed the lines of sanity, self-control and common sense, and it tells you that now’s the time for temporary but drastic measures.

Keep It R A D

The benefits of releasing self-imposed stress and deflecting it from other sources are welcomed signs of relief when you understand that you control the stress. You may not have caused it, but in most every situation you can control it when it occurs. Using this simple acronym can help to ease the symptoms and guide you through life’s rough spots, or you can create whatever words or thoughts work best for you. Here are a few RAD ideas to get you started.   

R – Release: Just let go! Refresh your mind, body, and spirit. When stress narrows your vision and cramps your style, just take a few steps back and refresh yourself on all levels as a composite of intellect, physical energy, and essence. One of the first steps you can take is to physically get up and move. Physical activity forces you to change your position and your mindset, so that you refocus your attention in another, less threatening direction that innately reduces the overall stress, regardless of where it originates. Go for a walk. Call a friend. Read or hear a positive message.       

A – And: Whatever you want to put here will probably work, as long as it’s natural and legal, like running or drinking a glass of water. First, learn to B-R-E-A-T-H-E. Taking deep breaths is one of the best ways to decompress from a stressful situation. Combining any of the above R suggestions with better breathing increases your ability to relax. It’s a simple concept and also good common sense.

D – Deflect: When outside influences impinge upon your stability, automatically call forth your natural instincts to divert trouble away from you. Change your thoughts. Change your physical position. Change the way you normally handle that situation. The main objective is for you to remain in control of whatever unexpectedly comes your way. Your instincts exist to protect you from potentially harmful unknowns, whether it’s people, events, or conditions. Learn to trust them. If you find yourself moving suddenly or unexpectedly shifting your thoughts, more than likely your instincts have kicked in to save you from an adverse occurrence. 

Look In to Help Out
In today’s world where so many people find their lives upended by acts of nature and adversity in their attitudes toward one another, finding respite in moments without stress is a precious commodity for us all. As an assured and self-confident person, you can become self-empowered and also empower others by your ability to remain calm in unnerving situations. Stress will always exist, but it doesn’t have to control your life. Learn from your experiences in order to fulfill your purpose, not only for your life and in your business, but also as you relate to others.   

CYNTHIA BULL ( is an internationally published writer and editor who helps international authors, marketers and speakers add greater value to their products through her top-quality writing, editing and transcription services. She is the author of How To Be A Medical Transcriptionist and Winning At Work While Balancing Your Life, a contributing author of Walking with the Wise Entrepreneur (Mentors Publishing House), cited in Make BIG Profits on eBay (Entrepreneur Press), and Managing Editor of Mentors Magazine Think & Grow Rich Edition. Cynthia has created over 200 book products in the past two years for her clients and, as mentor, helps clients reach their goals through her products, experience and genuine caring.

Cynthia writes this feature article exclusively for Debbie May (, an organization dedicated to helping small businesses succeed.