When it comes to engagement, creativity, and productivity, there’s a strong correlation between a positive mindset and improved business performance. In fact, according to New York Times bestselling author Shawn Achor (The Happiness Advantage), it’s clear that “increasing your happiness improves your chances of success.”
So, whether you own a wellness studio, or just wish you could step through the door of one more often, growing your small business may very well depend on how much time you spend on activities like yoga.
Stress and Us
When we experience stress and anxiety, the region of the brain known as the amygdala becomes activated. The amygdala is responsible for detecting and responding to threats. And in today’s typically high-stress workplace environment, the brains of many business owners are frequently fooled into thinking they face some form of threat on a regular basis.
Not only can chronic exposure to stress lead to such debilitating conditions as adrenal fatigue, it can also take precious resources away from other parts of the brain – namely, the prefrontal cortex where vital problem-solving activities occur.
The funny thing about stress, however, is that it’s a bit of a double-edged sword. Yes, unrelenting anxiety has the potential to damage your health, but stress can also fire up your neurons and boost your energy. Some of the documented benefits associated with stress include:
- an increased ability to focus on the task at hand,
- improved immunity, and
- better resilience in the face of adversity
So, rather than playing a purely positive or negative role, many studies now suggest that it’s our attitude toward stress that’s the biggest indicator of how it will affect us.
Finding Balance for Growth
Developing new habits, and thinking positively about stress, are great ways to harness its power to fuel your performance and the growth of your business. In the words of Stanford researcher and author Kelly McGonigal, “Viewing stress as harmful interferes with people’s ability to use stress as the resource that it actually is.”
When it comes to developing a healthier relationship with stress, many of us look to constructive habits like exercise, meditation, and yoga to provide an effective balance between tension and down time. But there’s another factor that plays an important role in maintaining equilibrium, and that’s the decision to eliminate tension in the workplace, wherever you can.
No matter whether your venture takes the form of a health and wellness practice, a restaurant, or a real estate firm, you can ramp up stress reduction benefits by finding ways to spend more time thinking about your business – especially in the company of others - and less on unwelcome distractions like administrative chores.
Let’s face it - chances are good that you do what you do because you love spending time with your work team or clients. And research suggests that this is a good thing, since spending more time giving and receiving social support - instead of getting tied up with chores you could be delegating to someone else - is key for maintaining balance.
One of the easiest ways to make this happen is by outsourcing tasks that tend to eat away at both your time and your peace of mind. Dealing with bills, payroll, and financial spreadsheets, for example, not only takes you away from more interactive opportunities, it can actually compound the very stress you’re trying to manage.
When you take measures to hire an outside bookkeeping service with expertise in your specific industry, it gives you the stress-busting opportunity to work smarter - not harder – thanks to advantages like:
- gaining access to a team of experienced mentors,
- benefiting from a full-time bookkeeping presence without the cost of a full-time employee, and
- leveraging objective financial advice and strategies that align with the specific needs of your business
In other words, spending more time on yoga, and less on your books, is a great way to help your small business get bigger. In fact, happy workplaces – and happy business owners – have been consistently shown to enjoy lower costs, higher profits, and greater growth.
Putting too much focus on the pressures we feel as small business owners is a recipe for getting stressed out about being stressed out. Not only do studies suggest a direct relationship between life satisfaction and successful business outcomes, the first paves the way for the second. Stress can be either an obstacle to your growth or the fire power behind it. So, if your sense of balance lies on a mat in your local yoga studio, shouldn’t you be spending more time there?