Business Owner Stress & Stinkin Thinkin

Henry Dumas

Business Ownership is not for the weak of heart – Owners periodically experience lots of stressful situations! The best way to combat this stress is to understand the necessity of “continuous renewal” and to schedule time on your calendar frequently to make “continuous renewal” happen.

Examples of “continuous renewal” to consider include:

Get enough sleep – Sleep has a huge effect on mental health. When we get enough sleep, it is easier to cope with stress, handle problems, concentrate, think positively and remember things.

Exercise regularly – Exercise is good for your body and your mental health. It helps us cope with stress, lowers anxiety, lifts our mood, boost our energy, helps us to feel good about ourselves and helps us to sleep well.

Eat well – Food is our fuel. It gives us important nutrients that help our bodies work.  The better we eat, the better we work. Our brains work better, too. Healthy food like fruits, vegetables and whole grains give us the nutrients to work our best.

Build relationships – Having good relationships with other people is the most important factor contributing to a sense of well-being. This can include family, friends, workmates and others in the community.  Investing time and energy in your relationships can lead to great benefits for all involved.

Give yourself – Volunteer your time and energy to help someone else. You’ll feel good about doing something tangible to help someone in need.

Write down something you are grateful for. Gratitude has been clearly linked with improved well-being and mental health, as well as happiness. Consider keeping a journal of things you are grateful for, let them fill your heart, and bask in that feeling.

Tell yourself something positive. Research shows that how you think about yourself can have a powerful effect on how you feel. When we perceive ourselves and our life negatively, we can end up viewing experiences in a way that confirms that notion. Instead, practice using words that promote feelings of self-worth and personal power. For example, instead of saying, "I'm such a loser. I won't get the new account because I tanked in the proposal delivery," try, "I didn't do as well in the proposal delivery as I would have liked, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to get the new account."

Have fun! – Doing things we enjoy is good for our health. If helps us feel refreshed and helps us feel good about ourselves. Then it is easier to cope with stress and other problems. When we feel sad or worried, we often stop doing the little things that make us happy. This makes us feel worse.

When we fail to schedule time for “continuous renewal”, we often let stress get the best of us, we lose perspective, feel overwhelmed and fall prey to “Stinkin Thinkin”. “Stinkin Thinkin” fosters a bad way of thinking that makes you believe that you will fail, that bad things will happen to you, or that you are not a very good person.

Unbeknownst to many of us, we often engage in internal conversations with ourselves throughout the day. Having these kinds of conversations with yourself is perfectly normal and in fact, everybody does it. Where we mess up in our lives is when we let these conversations take on a life of their own and our thoughts take on an unhealthy attitude, one that is working against us instead of for us.

Below are some examples of “stinkin thinkin” – as you listen to your internal dialog, see if one or more of these play over and over again like a negative mantra:

  • All-or-None Thinking (or Black or White Thinking). Thinking about things as extremes — either all good or all bad.
  • Over-generalizing. Using words like “always” and “never.”
  • Mental Filtering. Looking only at the negatives while ignoring the positives.
  • Labeling. Putting negative labels on yourself, others, or things in your life.
  • Jumping to Conclusions. Believing you know the facts without proof.
  • Emotional Reasoning. Thinking your emotions are facts or reality.
  • Should Statements. Using statements with the words “should,” “ought to,” or “have to.”

These thoughts are irrational because they have little or no basis in reality. Life is not painted black or white. Much of life takes place in the gray areas. Most thing in life are not all good or all bad, but somewhere in between.

Misery is optional. Feeling miserable keeps you stuck in the past. The past is something no one can change. Focus on changing the things you can and accepting what you have no control over.

Emotions are not facts. Just because you feel a certain way, does not make it true. Notice when emotions are getting the best of your thoughts and check out the facts first.

The future is not set in stone. You cannot be certain about what tomorrow will bring. Try to avoid making negative assumptions about the future.

View “mistakes” as life lessons. Life is full of opportunities to learn new skills, make new friends, and try new activities. Learn from mistakes and do better next time.

Manage stress - Stress is often unavoidable, but knowing what triggers your stress and knowing how to cope is key in maintaining good mental health. Try to manage your responsibilities and worries by making a list or a schedule of when you can resolve each issue. Often if you break down your worries and stresses and write them down, you realize that they are manageable. Try to avoid burying your head in the sand, and tackle problems face on. If you find you are having trouble sleeping, or are waking up thinking about all of the things that are stressing you out, write them down and reassure yourself that you can deal with them in the morning.

By practicing and regularly scheduling time for “continuous renewal” Entrepreneurs become more resilient and able to cope with stress and misfortune. It is like putting money in the bank for the bad times. When a bad time then comes, you are more prepared. Also, your happiness level and those around you become much higher!


Portrait Henry Dumas

Henry Dumas, Professional Certified Coach
I am passionate about helping business owners to stabilize and grow their businesses through one on one executive coaching. With over 30 years of private sector experience helping companies succeed in roles such as Sales Manager, Small Business Owner, Agency Manager, Chief Financial Officer, Public Accounting-Audit and Controller as well as certifications earned as a Professional Certified Coach (PCC), Covey Facilitator and GrowthWheel Certified Business Advisor, I am well positioned to engage, enlighten and empower business Owners.

Find Henry on LinkedIn

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