How to Manage Stress for Entrepreneurs

A healthy mindset can really make or break your ideas, new startup, and your overall success and happiness.

Buddha once said, “The mind is everything. What you think, you become.”

Stress can be healthy and can push you to do better depending on how you manage those feelings. But stress can also be unhealthy if you don’t take care of your physical and emotional well-being.

Paula Williams, a psychology professor and researcher at the University of Utah who studies stress, said, “Finding ways to grow in the face of stress is important. It is also important to maintain positive activities that can buffer the effects of stress.”

Here are four tips for entrepreneurs or anyone looking to reach their full potential and manage stress in a way that will help you shift your mindset and succeed:

1. Remember the Why

Make sure the purpose in everything you are doing is strong and personal to you.

Why are you staying up till 3 a.m. thinking about your startup idea? Why are you working 15 hours a day starting your business?

2. Stay Organized

You can eliminate some stress through organization. It frees your mind to focus on what you actually need to do and removes distractions.

Kathy Hajeb, associate professor in entrepreneurship at the University of Utah and a director at the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute said, “Keep a short to-do list. Sometimes the best way to manage the stress of uncertainty is to accomplish small milestones.”

Being organized will ease your stress levels and ensure you are still operating at an optimal level of productivity.

3. Take Breaks

Taking breaks increases productivity and improves your mental well-being, creativity boost and performance,” wrote Allan Kohl, an employee-well-being and health trends author for Forbes.

We all get in the zone where we lose track of time, forget to eat, and forget ourselves and our friends and family because we are focused on accomplishing something or finding a solution.

J.R. Celski, a student entrepreneur at the U, founder of “A lot of entrepreneurs are caught up on working all day and night and pushing other things off to the side, but this is a quick path to a stressful life. Balance is key.”

Take breaks. If you struggle with taking breaks, set an alarm every 15 minutes for each hour. Eat a snack, go outside, call a friend, or completely zone out.

“If I find myself frustrated with wherever I am in my business, I shut my computer down for a break so I can come back feeling refreshed with a positive attitude, ready to conquer what is in front of me,” said Rachyll Faeth, a student studying entrepreneurship at the U and founder of Pure Ware.

4. Exercise

Physical activity reduces stress and increases endorphins that give you a natural high. “Getting in a workout before work or during the workday can allow you to approach your work with a calmer mindset,” wrote Lisa Evans, an author for Entrepreneur.

Not only will physical activity help reduce stress, but it will also help you make rational business decisions.

Kyle Poulin, the CEO of True Adherence, a fitness tech startup and one of the first companies to graduate from the new Master of Business Creation program at the U, advised, “Have a balanced exercise program of cardio and resistance training. Working out in the afternoon breaks up my day and gives me an energy boost.”

5. Meditate

Meditation can enhance your physical and emotional well-being. One of the most common reasons people try meditation is to reduce feelings of stress. During a state of mindfulness, it can produce a state of relaxation and a tranquil mind. One study of 3,500 people produced by the National Library of Medicine showed that meditation lives up to its reputation for stress reduction.

“Meditation works by training attentional control and improving prefrontal cortex function. Engaging in positive and spiritual activities helps by promoting expanded awareness, or connecting to something larger than the self,” said Williams, the psychology professor.

If you are new to meditation, you can try a guided session, or close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Even meditating for one minute a day quiets your mind, allows you to relax, and helps you create a lasting healthy habit. Over time it can help sharpen your memory and improve your mental performance which can help your overall success.


About the Author:

Victoria Matthews Victoria Matthews is a Business Scholar at the University of Utah pursuing a degree in marketing. She is passionate about entrepreneurship and works at Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute as a marketing assistant. She is an outdoor enthusiast, musician and writer. Learn more about her on LinkedIn here.

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