In a little over an hour, Emma Raducanu banished any signs of nerves with her fearless victory over her American opponent Shelby Rogers in New York. Maintaining incredible poise and composure that belied her young age, Raducanu rose to the challenge in what was clearly one of the most important matches of her career.
Just like world class athletes, commercial people are well aware that a certain amount of stress comes with the territory. It’s difficult to remain completely cool, calm and collected when you’re in the middle of an annual contract negotiation and there’s internal pressure to retain business profitability. In fact, a certain amount of stress can actually have a beneficial effect and improve our performance. But how do we spot the tipping point when rising stress levels turn to panic or anxiety?
How to recognise the signs of stress:
Here are six signs that your stress levels are getting out of control:
- Youfeel overwhelmed and can’t think straight
- You find it difficult tomake a decision
- You’rehaving trouble sleeping or wake up worrying
- You’re experiencing physical symptoms such astight shoulders, headaches or stomach troubles
- When you receiveconstructive feedback, it feels like personal criticism
- You hear yourself assumingworst case scenarios and always focus on the negative
So you’ve identified that stress is having a negative effect on the health and performance of yourself or your team. Now, follow our expert advice on how to help eliminate anxiety and gain a greater sense of balance in the workplace.
Top five steps to tackle stress
- Visualise positive outcomes – instead of using your imagination to think up worst-case scenarios, picture what success looks like. For Raducanu this could be reaching the finals of the US Open.
- Focus on what you can control – try not to waste your time and energy worrying about things you can’t influence. Instead, focus on managing your own mood and taking practical steps to improve your performance.
- Ask for support -remember it’s a sign of resourcefulness rather than a weakness. Raducanu has a team of coaches, psychologists and physios that help her perform at the top of her game.
- Actively build relaxation time into your week – exercise, socialise, read a book, sing or breathe deeply!– do whatever you find de-stresses you.
- Keep things in perspective – focus on the other elements you have in your life and try to keep a sense of balance. For Raducanu, another major achievement was getting her A levels this summer.
Remember, we are constantly put into stressful situations, what is important is the coping mechanisms we use to deal with them. As the Greek philosopher Epictetus so wisely said, “It’s not what happens to you but how you react to them that matters.” Advice that holds just as true on the courts of Flushing Meadow as it does in the commercial world. All that remains is to wish Emma the best of luck in the Quarter Finals tomorrow.