Stress is something our body is designed to cope with; stress was never meant to be a permanent disposition. We are meant to go into ‘stress mode’ to handle a ‘dangerous’ situation and then come out of it into ‘peace’ or ‘normal’ mode or state. Truth is that most people remain in ‘stress mode’ and are now aspiring toward peace, tranquillity, happiness, nirvana, when actually happiness should be our ‘normal’ state. Happiness is our Birth right.
I remember going through a time of stress. I actually did not realise I was stressed until my body told me and until I stopped to review my mind, emotions and habits at that time. The symptoms were showing up in many different ways, from my energy levels to my eating habits, to my sleep and my motivation for certain things. This is what motivated me to include stress management to my coaching repertoire. I could see a world of stressed, yet amazing people.
Lett’s take Laura who is a solopreneur. The stress of running a start-up business impacted Laura, as we worked together she saw a cycle, her business was affecting her life and vice versa. Before we worked together this stress resulted in Laura developing a chronic health condition, putting on extra pounds, which then impacted her confidence, her self-image, and even her marriage. Laura realised she was not showing up as her best self in business and as a wife. So, we worked on the root cause; looked at her values, what was not working or going right in her life, and together worked on gaining clarity and solutions, Laura began to feel happier and confident, she actually went on to prosper in her health, marriage and in her business. When running a small business, Laura recognised it’s important to have her personal life harmonised.
Stress triggers are important to recognise. Laura is an optimistic and driven person, so she never recognised that her triggers were becoming frequent causing an undercurrent of dissatisfaction and frustration. Strong optimism and positive thinking can often bury the undercurrent of stress.
Arun had some stress triggers, he felt he never had personal ‘man’ time trying to support his wife who was going through bouts of depression and two young children plus working a high-pressure role. These triggers left unchecked made Arun feel ‘guilty’ when needing time out and, dissatisfied with his life at times. He desperately wanted to have a fulfilled life with his wife and children, but felt he needed to be available continuously to make his wife happy, although it was eating him inside.
We worked on recognising triggers, win/win solutions, mutually agreed boundaries, time management and his inner dialogue.
Arun, said how much happier he is, because he gets to go to his ‘man cave’ and, when he is with his wife and children he thoroughly enjoys being with them. A happy man, doing what he loves, with who he loves, whilst becoming a highly regarded expert in his field. Amazing what de-stressing can do for you.
Here are just a few habits of highly stressed people-you may recognise yourself doing one or more of these.
- They don’t know when to say ‘no’ or if they do, they feel guilty. They also thrive on doing too much, fingers in lots of pies and projects. This could also be where they get their self-worth and recognition from.
- Stressed people often have one or two major stressors in their life (e.g. work, family/marital, health, personal progress/image, chemical, environmental and even physical) which then has a ripple effect on other areas if not dealt with
- Tend to be negative in their thinking, habits and have a limited view or outlook, but will usually deny their part to play in it. Or they just cannot see the wood from the trees and may have blind spots.
- They may be too much of a perfectionist or have ‘high standards’ and find it hard to delegate, often saying “ If I want a good job done I will have to do it myself” or “no one does it like I do” and finally saying to them self “ I may as well do it myself it’ll be quicker than showing someone”
- Find it hard to unwind and relax often impatient and fidgety and may even think “it’s not productive!”
- They may be ruminating;, either stuck in the past relationship, experience, trauma, bereavement or anxious about the future or possible loss in the future eg success, progression, money, family
- Consume quick convenience foods, and/or enjoy other stimulants, smoking a glass ( or two, or more) of something-every night, leading to a habit and thus an addiction
Stress tips that work-if you do them
- Learn how and when to say ‘no’. You can learn how to do it in a way that does not offend but empowers you and does not make you feel guilty. I suggest saying ‘no’ with love and respect, but if need be, be firm.
- Draw a mind map of your stress, explore where the root is, start with the word “stress” then start writing words/things that relate to what’s causing your stress, keeping going till you can’t go anymore you will eventually see the root cause.
- When going to bed, have a journal or notebook and write down your thoughts, it’s like emptying your head/mind. Each time a thought comes in, write it down. Meditation with relaxing music can also help before going to bed
- This may sound cliché but cutting down on sugar, caffeine, processed food and refined carbohydrates can reduce stress on your body, moods and hormones massively-therefore making you feel much happier, balanced and in control.
- Focus on what’s going right and is positive in your life, this will help you handle stressful situations from a stronger position
- Self care and switching off-unplugging from everything, every device and everyone for one day. Schedule into your calendar, if you have a family, cross check dates so there are no arguments. It depends what you love doing; suggestions, walks, running, swimming, reading, writing, listening to music, colouring, drawing, tinkering, spa day, or a day at home alone.
- Breath deeply several times through the day or particularly when you are triggered. Use the 7-11 count. Inhale deeply through the nose for 7 seconds allowing oxygen to fill the belly. Then exhale through the mouth for a count of 11 seconds as the belly goes in. You may need to do this a few times to get used to it. Note; you may feel light headed for a few moments as oxygen reaches the brain.
De-stressing and creating balance, is part of the Redesign Method which underpins the creation of a designed, happy and successful life.
Go ahead and try these tips.