Calm yourself

Here are a few techniques I've used to calm myself down in times of anxiety.

Breathing

When I get stressed, I tighten up and I forget to breathe. Taking a moment to ground yourself, and focusing on your breath, can help reduce any built-up tension.

(BTW โ€“ if you're looking for more mental health tips for founders, I highly recommend following Sherry on Twitter)

Walking & talking to strangers

When I moved to Vernon, BC, one of my big goals was to eliminate my car commute. Now, I rent an office downtown, and walk there every day. The daily practice of walking has dramatically changed my life.

In the "Surprising Benefits of Talking to Strangers," Joe Keohane reveals the research on this:

"Again and again, studies have shown that talking with strangers can make us happier, more connected to our communities, mentally sharper, healthier, less lonely, and more trustful and optimistic."

Casual friends are important, but so are the friendly strangers you see regularly. Saying "hello" to the person who you regularly see walking their dog can have a big impact on your overall well-being.

Intense physical activity

For me, getting into the mountains on my snowboard is one of the few activities that get me out of my head, and actually clears my mind. When I'm riding, all I can think about is what's in front of me.

After snowboarding, I'll feel completely refreshed. There's nothing like being in the mountains to give your mind a break from the doom scroll.

Check in with your group

Inside the MegaMaker community, every once in awhile I'll post this question in the Slack:

Checking in. How's everyone doing?

๐Ÿ’š Doing well. Feeling safe, healthy, creative, in a state of flow.

๐Ÿ’› Feeling slightly upset, tired, unhealthy, worried or anxious.

๐Ÿ”ด Feeling angry, exasperated, exhausted, depressed, desperate, or panicked.

Having a group where you can express how you're feeling (whether it's just an emoji reaction, or commenting in the thread) is incredibly cathartic. 

It's helpful to share our struggles, and to know when other people are struggling. This is especially true for founders and entrepreneurs, who sometimes don't feel understood by their friends and family. (That's why we started MegaMaker).

Regular check-ins like this give us the opportunity to reflect and articulate our feelings. Sometimes all you need is the prompt.

Write and destroy

A few years ago, when I was depressed, I found this Dan Harmon quote, and it really helped me:

"Dark thoughts will echo off the walls of your skull; they will distort and magnify. When you open your mouth (or write in an anonymous journal), these thoughts go out. You gotta get 'em out. Vent them. Tap them. Try it."

I built this little site called writeanddestroy.com that allows you to do just that: 

You can vent all your thoughts, things that are bothering you, things that hurt you, and then click the "shred" button and watch your words get destroyed.

I find this kind of purge really reduces my stress.

I hope some of these techniques help you.

Cheers,
Justin Jackson
@mijustin

Published on March 4th, 2022
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