How to reduce insane stress levels

I am often waylaid by executives at post-keynote dinners who confide in me: “Friederike, I’ve tried everything: Meditation, running, yoga…nothing works! I’m constantly overwhelmed. My mind is racing! I can’t sleep. I feel like I’m losing it. What do you recommend?” 
I always tell them the same thing: “You need to learn to say No.”

There is no energy-management technique more powerful than the word No. Yet, most of us maintain codependent relationships with our jobs. We take on too much, then we behave like martyrs. We feel guilty when we skip networking events to get some rest. We worry that people won’t think we are “motivated” or “a team player.” 

If your job is eating your life, have a chat with your boss about the brain-friendly boundaries you want to establish in order to perform at your best. Reassure your supervisor that you want to set boundaries–around communication, meetings, social events etc.–to become more productive. Set goals, but request autonomy and flexibility in how you achieve them. 

If you are a leader, encourage your employees to come to you when they need help managing stress. Create a brain-friendly workplace that empowers all employees to operate at their personal best. Focus on outcomes, not outmoded hustle culture.