Get All Access for $5/mo

The 4-Step Process to Conquering Stress for the Rest of Your Life Keep the stress monster at bay by committing to each of these four steps for the rest of your life.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

fizkes | Getty Images

The following excerpt is from Dr. Nadine Greiner's book Stress-Less Leadership. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | IndieBound or click here to buy it directly from us and SAVE 60% on this book when you use code LEAD2021 through 4/10/21.

There's no magic bullet for eliminating all stress symptoms and preventing all stress, so it's important to keep experimenting with what works for you. Over time, you'll find you can wave goodbye to stress.

Over the years of working with leaders and companies, I've found that a leader's ability to conquer stress depends on four steps. These four steps will give you a springboard for action. I call them the Four "I"s: Ignite, Initiate, Implement and Inspire.

1. Ignite

It's easy to think of stress as a natural part of life, an inevitable and uncontrollable force. But you must strive for positive change. You must be willing to be vulnerable and make a conscious effort to look deeply within and outside yourself. In your quest to become an effective leader, you should aspire to address stress at the individual and organizational level, recognizing that the former must be tackled before the latter. You must ignite your exploration of the role stress plays in your leadership life.

Related: 3 Ways to Prevent Stress from Taking Over Your Life

2. Initiate

Once you're willing to address stress, the next question is, "How do I start the effort?" Dealing with stress requires a multipronged approach. At the personal level, you must identify your internal stressors, such as pessimism or perfectionism, and your external stressors, such as disgruntled customers or insufficient resources. At the organizational level, a similar degree of awareness must exist. You can diagnose stress using assessments, surveys, interviews, and other means to truly understand the nature of the problem.

To initiate a successful stress-management effort, acknowledgment is critical. Techniques such as asking yourself "What's the worst that can happen?" can motivate you to take action by recognizing that the cost of inaction is high.

Effective leaders drive stress management by taking advantage of the brain's neuroplasticity. Research indicates that the damage induced by stress can be repaired and that the brain can be rewired. To truly wave goodbye to stress, leaders must attack it from five angles: cognitively, emotionally, interpersonally, physically, and spiritually. Logic games or memory challenges can improve your ability to concentrate and remember key information and enhance your cognitive functioning. Enhanced listening, self-awareness, and recognizing your perspective enable you to gain high levels of emotional intelligence and boost your emotional capacity. Increased social skills strengthen your interpersonal relationships and improve your team's morale. A focus on exercise, better sleep patterns, and healthy diets boosts your energy levels and improves your physical functioning. Finally, prayer, meditation, and other spiritual rituals are key to finding your purpose in life and waking up inspired each morning.

Related: How to Beat Stress and Build Successful Business Relationships

All of these tips allow leaders to begin their stress resistance effort and figure out how they'll deal with stress on a daily basis. This is often the most challenging part of the process, as it's unfamiliar territory and requires a lot of growing pains. Rest assured that with a dedicated effort, you can succeed. All you have to do is start.

3. Implement

As leaders continue in their quest, they must put a plan in place to deal with daily stress. This is the implementation phase. A key component of implementation involves prevention. While leaders must learn to cope with stress, they must also put strategies in place to prevent stress from rearing its ugly head. At the organizational level, successful implementation involves many components and is best facilitated by an executive coach.

Related: Why Forgiveness Plays a Huge Role in Stress Reduction

4. Inspire

A leader's ultimate objective is to inspire a life of stress-less leadership. Stress has a profound influence on your longevity. To gain resilience against stress, you must consider the various aspects of your life, including pets, travel, time, belonging, and nature, that affect your longevity. Stress influences how you see the world and whether you wake up each day invigorated by a greater purpose.

Inspiring a life of stress-less leadership includes creating organizational change. Your work environment has a profound impact on your longevity. From job security to health insurance to wellness programs, workplace policies affect your well-being. You can drive efforts to develop an employee assistance program or implement wellness programs such as yoga classes to inspire a stress-less environment. Great companies consider time-off policies, pay inequality, benefits, and other aspects of their business when creating policies to combat stress.

Did you enjoy your book preview? Click here to grab a copy today—now 60% off when you use code LEAD2021 through 4/10/21.

Nadine Greiner, Ph.D.

Human Resources Executive

Dr. Nadine Greiner, Ph.D. is a Human Resources executive. Her book, 'Stress-Less Leadership: How to Lead in Business and Life,' was published by Entrepreneur Press. She believes that the world needs great leaders and has dedicated her career to helping them.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Business Solutions

Increase Productivity with This Microsoft 365 Subscription, Now $25 Off

It can make the entrepreneur life a lot easier.

Business News

Apple Pay Later Is Ending. Here's What's Taking Its Place.

The program was available for less than a year.

Leadership

This Artist Answered a Businessman's 'Powerful' Question — Then His Work Became 'the Poster Child for Juneteenth': 'Your Network Really Becomes Your Net Worth'

Reginald Adams was the executive director of a Houston-based art museum for more than a decade before he decided to launch his own public art and design firm.

Leadership

Harvard Business School Professor Says 65% of Startups Fail for One Reason. Here's How to Avoid It.

Team alignment isn't nice to have -- it's critical for running a successful business.

Business News

Here's What Companies Are Open and Closed on Juneteenth 2024

Since it became a holiday in 2021, Juneteenth has been recognized by some major corporations as a paid day off.

Growing a Business

I Hit $100 Million in Annual Revenue by Being More Transparent — Here Are the 3 Strategies That Helped Me Succeed

Three road-tested ways to be more transparent and build relationships that can transform your business — without leaving you feeling nightmarishly over-exposed.