The modern world is obsessed with doing more. We all strive to take on new responsibilities, to build, to say “yes” to every opportunity. 

While this is great in some instances, it can also be counterproductive. Doing as much as you possibly can in the short term can often backfire, hurting your overall productivity in the long run. 

Not to mention the impact that ceaselessly working has on your mental well-being. No one is happy if their entire existence is nothing but hard work, despite what hustle culture might say.

Don’t believe me? I get it. Our cultural obsession with grinding day in and day out makes it hard to believe that anything less could possibly be ideal. 

But I’m here to convince you otherwise. That’s why this article will explain why stress management is the key to being your most productive self.

What is Stress Management?

Stress management can mean a lot of different things. There’s no singular perfect definition for stress management. 

That’s because humans are dynamic. What counts as stressful for you might not be stressful for someone else. In fact, the very activities that you find stressful might be used for stress management in someone else’s life.

This makes it nearly impossible to give an empirical definition for stress management. Instead, it makes far more sense to define the term theoretically. 

In this sense, stress management simply involves making room for the things in your life that bring you joy and a sense of calm.

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Fundamentally, stress management involves keeping your sense of subjective well-being high.

How to Practice Stress Management

Stress management can take many forms. The specific activities you use to destress can vary depending on your mood, the nature of your work, and what you find most enjoyable and meaningful.

For some, stress management involves being physically active. Exercise can help you destress by providing you with endorphins and giving you a sense of accomplishment and peace.

You may also find engaging in hobbies, projects, or creative works helps you destress by giving you an outlet. These things help you reconnect with yourself and define yourself by something other than your work.

Finally, you may just want to relax. Stress management can take the form of a quiet night in, whether that’s with a book or your favorite Netflix series.

Why Stress Management Makes You More Productive

If your main concern is productivity, all of this might sound like a waste of time. But it isn’t.

While we like to believe that we can trudge on indefinitely, prolonged stress has both mental and physical effects. 

Doing as much work as possible wears on you, leading to mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and burnout. When these things happen, you have a harder time focusing and are less motivated by your work.

This in turn limits your ability to be productive. You may work 60 hours a week, but you’re not getting more done, you’re just taking longer. 

By contrast, if you followed a few simple stress management tips and maintained a better work-life balance, you’d be just as productive while also having more free time.

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In fact, studies have shown that being less stressed out makes you more productive. A refreshed and calm you will likely get more done than you would if you were working 60 hours a week through burnout.

So stop trying to grind. Stop taking on more than you can realistically handle because you want to be productive. 

A calm and happy you is truly your most productive self.