Winning the Battle with Stress for Entrepreneurs

entrepreneurs experience stress and feeling alone

entrepreneurs experience stress and feeling alone“I am stressed!” This is a common phrase for today’s entrepreneur  Everyone experiences stress at some point. It is unavoidable. We all know it exists and we are aware when it gets out of control. It gets our attention real fast. We know when stress is getting out of control and we must do something to try to manage it.

The marketplace knows too! We are bombarded with commercials ads for stress relievers. Stress can be a money maker and it can be a killer. Yet many of us live under the duress of stress so much and for so long that it now a normal condition. Stress is the norm for many of us – even though we know stress negatively impacts our health and quality of life.[separator top=”30″]

Let’s Get Clear, What is Stress, Exactly?

Generally, stress is the body’s way of reacting to a threatening situation –even when the danger is ill-perceived and not real. When you believe there is eminent danger, your nervous system releases a mass of hormones including cortisol and adrenaline. As a response to a direct signal from the hypothalamus, the adrenal glands continue to produce more of the hormones and they are released into the blood stream.  As a result, there is an increase your blood pressure, heart rate and metabolism. You may even notice your breathing becomes quicker and shallow too.

This reaction- typically known as the stress response enables you to respond to increased pressure which can be vital during real times of danger. The changes within the body at that time are dynamic, pupils become dilated  to improve your vision; glucose is released from the liver to support the need for more energy. Further your blood vessels open for improved blood flow to larger muscles, essentially alerting these large muscle groups for sudden movement and sweating occurs in a bid to cool the body.

In short, stress serves a great purpose, it is all bad. In a dangerous situation, this flight or fight reaction works to protect, heightening senses and keeping energy levels sharp. These bursts of short-term stress can be easily managed automatically, and as the danger becomes less or the situation changes soon your body reacts and adapts, then gradually reverts back to normal.

Have you noticed after a very intense stressful situation, you are often left with tiredness and fatigue as the reality of the situation becomes clear? Yup, it’s apart of the natural process.

The response to these stress triggers should be a quick, fast paced reaction so your body can return to normal as soon as possible. It becomes dangerous when the stress response fails to stop and to reset and your body is constantly under increased duress for long periods of time.

 Different Types of Stress Triggers

 Stress for Survival:

The ‘Flight or Fight’ response is a common reaction to any dangerous situation. Your body changes as a reaction to the influx of stress hormones. Survival stress is a natural response and is short-lived.

Internal Stress:

For some. constant worriers fear can literally govern their lives. They worry about money, their family, their friends and they also worry about things that are beyond their control. Internal stress is caused if you are actively looking for the next problem. This is more common than most people realize. Particularly for those who have suffered a series of traumatic events or a spell of bad luck where it seems like everything has gone wrong. If internal stress if not checked and lasts for a long time it can easily become a normal response to everyday living.

External Stress:

External stress can be long-lived and a powerful force. Workplace stressors are common- concerns about redundancy, feeling over-worked and under-valued. For some, a noisy or difficult neighbor can accelerate stress levels as well as hearing bad news or facing a large, unexpected bill. These are all common but significant stressors. If you  thinking external stress may be controlled, you are right! You can curb your stress but steps are needed to avoid the health risks that come from experiencing long-term stress.


As entrepreneurs, you know all too well, that long-term stress causes fatigue. Pursuing our dreams usually causes us to be over-worked with long demanding hours. If you are unable to manage your time or to take time to relax and unwind it can all lead to feelings of exhaustion. As you well know too, when this sets in, it can be incredibly difficult to make significant and positive lifestyle changes or good business decisions.

Symptoms of Stress Overload

You may be stressed if you experience one or more of the following:

  • Panic attacks or feelings of anxiety
  • Irritable
  • Moody
  • Insomnia
  • Feelings of intense pressure
  • Physical ailments: Headaches, stomach pains, chest pains, palpitations
  • Turning to alcohol, drugs or cigarettes
  • Depression or intense sadness

It is important to note, not everyone reacts to stress in the same way.  Some people have higher stress thresholds and this is a lot to do with attitude. Those who can face difficult situations without becoming too emotionally affected by it, stand to minimize their stress response.

Stress triggers are also deemed by our individual response. The same situation may not adversely affect everyone or  to the same degree. Anger, irritability or tearfulness are the most common pattern behavior by those who are experiencing damaging levels of stress.  In a way, it is better for people to externalize their feelings rather than to internalize it and develop more severe problems or addictions as a result. Existing physical ailments can be greatly aggravated during times of stress too.

Factors to Consider

As stress affects everyone differently, there will always be contributing factors that should be considered about how well you cope with yours in your business.

stress-entrepreneurs-overwhelmedFactors such as:

  • Personality
  • Background
  • Health
  • Personal circumstances
  • External demands

Stress is never simply black or white, one little trigger can set off a whole cascade of stressful symptoms and can very quickly spiral out of control.

When you feels stressed, it means that the fight or flight response has initiated and you will experience very real, physical changes. The stress responses are designed purely as a ‘get out of danger’ response. It is not designed to be a long-term state and it is certainly not meant to be experienced regularly.

Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs do not realize pressure they feel under threat constantly. Many of us live our lives crashing from one stressful situation to another. Worrying about closing the deal, making the sale or getting that contract signed. Living under the cloud of stress can become normal and the ability to recognize when deeply stressed can be lost for the freelancer who understands, if they don’t work, they don’t eat. This pressure can be unbearable for the consultant who is running from one proposal to the next in order to keep their dream alive.

You are not alone. There are simple strategies you can implement right now to alleviate some of the pressure and stress in your life.

Strategies to Unwind & Alleviate Some Pressure Caused by Stress

There are many others we will cover in the upcoming days, but here are 7 critical strategies to get you on your way to de-stress and take some of the pressure off.

  1. Where possible, walk away from the problem and get some fresh air. A walk, even a brief one, will provide space from the scene of the stress and enable some breathing space for you to calm down. A change of scenery can be exceptionally therapeutic – particularly if you can get outside, to the park or simply sit among the flowers and trees under a clear sky.
  2. Always have positive reading material readily available. Iuse personal development content; and books on leadership and business that quickly return my attention to my intention. For some, reading a novel with a gripping story-line can help with a mental escape from any stressful situation. Troubles can dissipate along with any tension and a few good chapters of reading a good book. It will also provide enough time to face any situation more calmly.
  3. Meditation is always my default place when I am in need of a breather. There is no mystery to the techniques; it only requires regular practice and a focus on the intent of relaxing and clearing your mind.
  4. Herbal teas are my favorite escape. A hot cup of ginger or lavender tea can be an excellent aid to relaxation. With trial and error you will learn the best calming teas for your taste. Chamomile is a renowned favorite for de-stressing and relieving tension.
  5. It’s possible to buy stress-busting toys. It may be fun squeezing a stress ball and pummeling some clay into shape! I often use a punching bag to focus some of my inner aggression on . If nothing else, it can certainly help to alleviate any frustrations and prevent it from turning inwards.
  6. Watch a comedy DVD. Laughter IS the best medicine. It’s virtually impossible to stay tense when something is funny. Even five or ten minutes will make a big difference to any stress levels.
  7. Breathing of course is essential when you become tense. When under stress, your breathing becomes erratic. Take five minutes away from the stressful situation and focus on the breath. Counting the breath in and out will help to focus the mind and relieve tension. Long deep inhalations will clear your mind. Breathing in and out slowly will immediate relax you, slow down your heart rate and bring clarity to your space.

For anyone who needs support and help to combat stress in their lives, I will be providing you a Stress Relief Action Plan that will teach you how to get a  sense of focus and guide you to making significant changes over a 7 day period.

As an entrepreneur or someone hustling pursuing your dreams, you must take care of yourself. The attention to detail that you give your business, you must honor yourself with the same focus. Working on alleviating stress will help your business prosper because you will make clear decisions with a relaxed mind.

In awareness, passion, joy, purpose & reduced stress,

#1 small busienss coach and trainer in charlotte

Your business IS my business.


About The Author


Andrea Callahan is a brand designer. She helps passion & purpose-driven entrepreneurs maximize their strengths to craft and implement an image that represents their WHY and to use that why to position themselves as an Industry Influencer. She a speaker, seminar leader and the author of, "It's Your Brand ~ Make Your Identity Clear" available on Callahan launched the Industry Influencer Academy at

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