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    Tame the stress habit with self-help techniques

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    Many PAs work in high-paced, pressurised, and demanding big business environments – the perfect breeding ground for stress in other words. By using the OAR model of Objective, Action, Review you can effectively get it under control and work towards achieving a more harmonious state of mind.

    According to Andrew Stead, a former Goldman Sachs banker who now runs wellbeing site your-daily-bread.co.uk, the first thing you need to do to beat stress is figure out exactly what it is that is stressing you out (ie the objective). Stead recommends that you ask yourself the following questions: Where and when do you feel most anxious? What are the tell-tale signs of being stressed? How would you behave differently if you were stress-free and how motivated are you to get there?

    Moving on to action, Stead acknowledges that while physical exercise, meditation and breathing exercises are all tried-and-trusted methods of dealing with stress, they are not going to be of much help in the middle of a heated meeting. Instead, he suggests paying close attention to what your body is doing, for instance that your hands are moist, or your heart is thumping.

    By doing so, you are no longer responding automatically to your instincts and focusing on your frustration. Therein lies the opportunity to replace the thought with something more soothing, such as an image of a loved one or a favourite place.

    Lastly, notes Stead, we can review our progress by getting into the habit of monitoring how well we’re doing. The brain is ‘autotelic’, a term that means when we draw attention to a particular goal and observe it, our subconscious deals with the rest automatically. Take time to measure out of 10 how stressed you are each day and review how often you are building up your stress-reduction techniques because reviewing this regularly will help to make it happen.

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    Molly Dyson

    Former Editor – PA Life

    All stories by: Molly Dyson