We all want to overcome stress. Over 50% of working Brits feel stressed at work according to a report. The report states that almost 90% of workers think about work outisde of working hours. In this blog we focus on 5 indicators of stress and tips to make a difference.
Overwhelmed in overwhelm
Do you feel overwhelmed in overwhelm?
We can feel stressed and overwhelmed in many situations such as overwork, operating under intense pressure for long amounts of time, panic, traumatic life experiences and relationship issues (others as well as self).
Overwhelm is overwhelming. When in overwhelm we may be catastrophising, and experiencing feeling lost and out of control. As our emotional energy spirals, we can end up fragmenting as we lose our grip on what is happening. This results in a mixture of intense emotional peaks and troughs draining our energy making us feel exhausted and wrung out. There are little or no details whilst catastrophising to get hodl of which makes it difficult.
Alternatively we can find ourselves stuck in the details, overthinking, as if spiralling downwards whilst overanalysing the detail and the details. You may have heard the well-known phrase “…cannot see the wood for the trees…”.
Overcome Stress Tip 1: Change your direction of travel
When catastrophising we want to change our direction of travel and move downwards towards the detail.
To do this, ask self the following question(s) a number of times until you experience a change:
What specifically am I stressed and / or feeling stress about? How specifically am I stressed?”
When overthinking or overanalysing the details we want to change direction and move upward towards the ‘bigger picture’ of what’s going on.
To do this, ask yourself the following question(s) a number of times until you experience a change:
“For what purpose am I feeling stress” and / or “For what purpose am I being stressed?”
Have you ever felt a time when you just know things are not right within? Feeling as if you are out of balance and unaligned, incongruent? When your behaviour is not the ‘usual’ you, and you are not your behaviours. People say to you, “…that’s just not you” or “….you don’t seem yourself at the moment” and ultimately you know this as you are not liking the current version of you at this time. This can be expressed outwardly as changes in mood, impatience, indecision and making decisions are really challenging.
Internally this can be due to several things;
Inner conflict: feeling like there are ‘parts’ conflicting, taking up your energy and resources. When part of you thinks one thing and part of you thinks another taking energy and resources away from where they should be. Our mind desires wholeness so having parts in conflict limits our thinking and resources.
Limiting decision(s): As a result of a limiting decision such as “I’m not good enough” self-perpetuating at different times over and over again.
Emotional Baggage: The weight of emotional baggage (consisting of negative emotions of anger, sadness, fear, hurt and guilt) accumulated over time which we carry about.
Overcome Stress Tip 2: Find Your Wholeness
Inner Conflict – We want to find wholeness, we do this by finding the same common intention of each part to bring them together and restore inner balance
Limiting Decision(s) – Ask yourself “when did you make that decision?”
Emotional Baggage – We want to release the negative emotions, to do this we can use an effective process called Time Line Therapy®
Remote and unconnected, away from the now
Stress effects relationships including the relationship we have with ourselves which can lead to loss of attention and withdrawing emotionally. Sometimes we can dissociate from emotion like watching yourself in a film from the back of the cinema, or when we struggle to be present in meetings at work or events at home or spending too much time on devices like mobiles.
Stress can be time related, feeling stuck unable to move forward, rooted to past or future, missing the now. We can get stuck in the past focusing on what went wrong, dwelling upon perceived failure. We can get stuck in the future by focusing on what has not yet been achieved and what may not happen. Either way we have lost focus on the positive, appreciating and recognising achievement and success.
Overcome Stress Tip 3: Take back control and turn off devices, share, appreciate self and focus on now
Decide on times to turn off your mobile completely so that it is not always on (just like yourself) to take back control.
Find a trusted friend who you are comfortable with and share how things are going for you.
Spend some dedicated time appreciating and recognising your achievements, make a list, seek feedback and ‘pat yourself on the back’.
Build into a routine, times when you focus on what is happening around you in now. Notice everything, what you see, what you hear, what you feel, smell, taste and say to yourself to bring now into your awareness.
Uncertainty and lack of information
We can experience stress in many situations especially at times of imposed change. At work when there is uncertainty about the future during mergers, acquisitions, redundancy or restructures. At home many of us will have experienced imposed change such as the lockdowns.
In this age of easily accessible information and answers available instantly, it is becomes obvious when there is a lack of information and no answers. Lack of information creates ambiguity to which we to tend to respond by filling in the gaps ourselves making it personal. We do this based upon our own model of the world and personal beliefs which can be impacted by those around us (influencers and ‘mood hoovers’) and influenced externally by social media and the media.
Overcome Stress Tip 4: Find your certainty in the uncertainty, control your external influences and influencers
Focusing on finding certainty in the uncertainty. Ask yourself, “What do you know that is (an absolute) certainty?” Get to the facts within your situation and if unknown go more external around you, such as saying to yourself that no matter what, the sun will come up tomorrow. Repeat this as often as needed to notice a difference.
Step back and create distance away from influences and influencers. Control and reduce influencers who you connect with, control and reduce exposure to media and social media.
Inflexible mindset, lack of control
When stressed our thinking and behaviour can become inflexible and rigid. Remember when certain food supplies ran out during lockdown and a run on buying toilet roll? An inflexible mindset can lead to making poor choices and decisions such as health related, eating, drinking and relationships.
During times of big change it can be really challenging and feel super intense as we can feel a lack of control and what we would normally do (based upon past experience), does not work anymore leading to responses we may regret. It becomes easy to abdicate responsibility and ‘point the finger’ outside of ourselves giving reasons and excuses.
Overcome Stress Tip 5: Choose your response and take responsibility to find a flexible mindset
We can gain control by choosing our response. Start by deciding upon what and how you wish to respond to whatever is going on, this will give you a feeling of control and start to loosen your thinking. Ask yourself as often as required “How do I choose to respond to this?” As you experience more control, notice decision making improve and how your thinking becomes more flexible.
Next take responsibility for where you are and ‘own it’. If we do not take responsibility, we will stay in ‘autopilot’ reacting to the situation the only way to move forward is to ‘own’. Taking responsibility is not about blaming yourself, it is about taking back your power to move forward. By doing this, we can find control and feel more empowered.