When the majority of your day is spent working in a high-pressure environment, your stress and anxiety levels can significantly increase. When that happens, it can be difficult to sustain a productive day, much less work-life balance.
To help you overcome the tendency to feel stressed, I have devised a simple approach. The first step is to diagnose yourself. If you often feel high levels of stress, you need to take action. Create a socialization journal and write out how much time you spend on quality social interactions on a daily basis. If you spend less than 1 hour a day on social activities, your stress and happiness levels are at a 1-1 ratio. This means you are spending as much time being stressed and worried as you are being happy. This ratio makes life feel really difficult and can makes your quality of life very low.
Every hour of socialization you add to your daily average has a dramatic effect on your quality of life. In fact, if you can manage to have 7 hours of quality socialization a day, you increase your happiness and stress ratio 12-1. However, because 7 hours of quality socialization can be difficult to achieve, you should aim to spend at least 3-4 hours a day in social connection with one or more people. This time range creates a 6-1 ratio of happiness to stress and is a feasible goal for most individuals.
As a keynote speaker, during my motivational stress focused programs I’m often asked to clarify what I mean by “socialization.” Socialization is defined as “the pursuit of life in the companionship of others.” This means that you can achieve quality socialization connection at work, obviously with your loved ones, but also in any endeavor where you are pursuing life with others. This is great as it gives us several ways to increase our daily average and accomplish more with less stress.
One of the easiest ways to add quality socialization to your day is to use your lunch break as a social opportunity. While working through lunch to catch up is acceptable occasionally, it can actually make you less motivated since you aren’t allowing yourself time to de-stress and refocus your energy in a positive way. Attempt to spend at least two days a week eating lunch with someone you can connect with positively. While talking about work can be helpful here, since you are have work on both sides of this break in your day, I encourage you to make this a “nonworking lunch.” The point of this exercise is to distance yourself from stress so you can go back to work in a peaceful state of mind and it will allow you to be more productive.
Once you learn how to maximize the time you have to socialize, you can have the right frame of mind to increase your productivity while maintaining a good level of happiness. Devoting yourself to 3-4 hours of socialization every day will increase your enjoyment in life and will allow you to practice better stress management under pressure.