How can you relieve your stress? The tax filing season is upon us.

Four yellow smiley face ping pong balls from sad, happy, angry, dismayed

For accountants tax season is all year long, but tax filing season just started, and tax accountants are in for a lot of work over the next three months. This is an annual cycle. So how can accountants and the rest of us address stress? This article explores some great sources of information on how stress impacts the body and what you can do to relieve stress and anxiety from a conventional review on the topic. But then, this article shares commentary with you from the field of positive psychology that I think you will find especially interesting.


Conventional view towards stress


There has been a lot of research related to stress. We all need a certain amount of stress to simply function.  Good stress helps keep us breathing, eating, moving, and living. However, as we all know too much of a good thing is not good for us. That includes stress. When we have to much stress this can cause mental toil and physical health to deteriorate.

Check out this commentary from the Mayo Clinic on stress.

The Mayo Clinic offers some basic insights on stress, but also provides insights on stress relief, and relaxation techniques to help you.

With modern living continually providing you with warnings that you are under attack (work, obligations, family) your brain is out to protect you. That protection in terms of fight, flight, or freeze works fine in the short term or periodically, but when it comes at you like a fire hose, your body cannot handle that.

This article points out that physical symptoms of stress include digestive symptom disorders, muscle tenson, getting sick a lot, depression, panic attacks, and other symptoms. Often individuals may eat more causing obesity and fall victim to stress eating. Then the question becomes how should you deal with stress?


Dealing with stress


If you find yourself irritable, angry, tense, or worried and/or you may have headaches or stomach pain with no medical cause, these could be symptoms of too much stress. Explore your triggers? Less computer time or time watching TV may help. You may need to change your reaction to different situations. For example, a loved one’s illness. Search out support from friends and family. You are not in this alone. Consider deep breathing, yoga, meditation, spending time in nature. Focus on a healthy diet, regular sleep (regular wake up times in particular), exercise, and mindfulness. Try to spend time relaxing without screen time with your TV, computer, tablet, or phone.

Paying attention to what causes stress and reducing these sources can help.

Explore this article on A Complete Guide to Relieving Stress and Anxiety. This is a more detailed commentary on this subject that you may find helpful. Although meditation, prayer, reflection, and mindfulness have been found to be very helpful for most people, the scientific research points out that this is not true for everyone.  However, since it works for most people, it is worth exploring.

Stress can be nearly overpowering during tense negotiations. Here are two sources that can help. One source addresses attitude, preparation, and connecting with the other party and the other source addresses clearing your mind, having balance, and addressing emotions.  You may find these helpful.


Positive psychology and stress


An interesting insight

I recently read Broadcasting Happiness by Michelle Gielan. She has a PhD in positive psychology. She points out that we need to rethink stress. We need to invest in the success of others and show appreciation to others. Think of what you are grateful for. Reflecting on this recently, I started out with clean water, then clean hot water and began to reflect on other items going forward. This can make a real difference on how you look at your day. You can do this too. We are truly blessed on so many levels.

Invest in the success of others and review the data.

Reading her book, I found out surprising facts about stress by looking at stress differently.

“Did you know that from a scientific standpoint, high levels of stress are actually enhancing? It improves your memory, cognitive ability, immune system, and mental agility? Our immune system operates at its highest-level during stress… when we are stressed in the right way, we can work faster, harder, and even think better.”

Groups of managers “exposed to the equally true but more fueling facts about stress experienced a 23% drop in stress-related symptoms, such as backaches, headaches, and fatigue. Twenty three percent!”

“What makes the difference is the set of facts about stress a person is using to evaluate his or her situation.”[1]

The implication here is to check your assumptions, do additional fact finding, and see if there may be a different way to look at the situation. This may make all the difference.

A way to apply this interesting insight

The way you as a strong leader help truly fact check makes all the difference. Gielan suggests that you:

  1. Isolate the stressful thought
  2. List he facts you know
  3. List the facts that illuminate a new story

You can do this by asking questions like

  1. Tell me in a couple of sentences what is stressing you out
  2. Tell me some of the facts that support this perspective
  3. I understand (be empathetic), is there another way we can look at this and that I can help you? What facts may support that perspective?

This is an immensely powerful tool and way to look at stress from a positive psychology perspective.


Perseverance, patience, perspective


When you are under stress it is important to know how it is impacting you emotionally, psychologically, and physically. This cannot be underestimated. When you are overly stressed and it is negatively impacting you, look for ways to take care of yourself and work to reduce your stress level. On the other hand, so much has to do with how you look at and approach stress too. Consider the research from above.

When leading others do not underestimate the impact of positive appreciation.  Develop informative, collaborating, connecting relationships with your people. Take time to learn from the past.

Focus on the long term with perseverance, patience, and perspective.

Build good habits of staying in touch with others and addressing your own ways of constructively dealing with stress. Laugh every day and have fun. Do not take yourself too seriously. The sun will rise in the east tomorrow morning. Tomorrow will be a new day. Make sure you are there to enjoy it too.


[1] Gielan, Michelle, Broadcasting Happiness, 2015, Ben Bella Books, pages 121 and 122

About the author

Mike Gregory is a professional speaker, an author, and a mediator. You may contact Mike directly at and at (651) 633-5311. Mike has written 12 books (and co-authored two others) including his latest book, The Collaboration Effect: Overcoming Your Conflicts, and The Servant Manager, Business Valuations and the IRS, and Peaceful Resolutions that you may find helpful. [Michael Gregory, ASA, CVA, MBA, Qualified Mediator with the Minnesota Supreme Court]