Managing stress is a key skill in self-care, how well are you doing managing your own levels of stress?
When I first started out as a corporate trainer I would often be asked to run “Stress Management” Courses. These days the same course is often re-branded as “Well-being” Training.
Whatever the title you still need to be able to handle stress. Over the next couple of weeks I will share a few ideas with you on managing stress so you can add some tools to your tool kit.
Before doing so I want to spend a few minutes defining stress. Firstly, stress is something you need in your life to some extent. Have you heard of the little used word, “eustress”? Eustress means positive stress.
Eustress is what provides you with the motivation to get up and do things. Without it nothing much would get done. Here are some definitions that can be applied to stress in general:
- Your life-force. It is dynamic energy. It is stimulating and motivating.
- Not a bad thing in itself. It is mismanagement of stress that can be harmful.
- The result of unlabelled emotions. The rational mind needs to label things.
- A reaction to a situation and not the situation itself.
- A motivator. Without it there would be no change.
- The basis for the Fight/Flight reaction.
- Fuelled by such things as uncertainty, change, helplessness, conflict, pressure.
- Dependant on inner and outer influences.
- Caused and experienced in different ways by different people.
- More likely to occur in people who are ambitious, driven, sensitive or anxious.
Negative stress is the point where eustress tips over into feelings of not being able to cope. This feeling of not being able to cope is based on how much perceived pressure you are experiencing versus your perceived ability to cope.
The essential word here is “perceived” on both counts. The first step in handling negative stress is to reality check the actual level of stressors in your life and challenge your level of control.
Start today by listing those things in your life that are causing you worry or stress. Now ask yourself how much control do you have with each?
If it is within your control, what changes can you make?
If it is something you can influence, who and how do you need to influence?
If it is genuinely outside of your control how do you need to adapt or what do you need to do to gain some acceptance?
Next week we will dig a little deeper into this model and begin building some strategies to increase your ability to cope and then thrive. Thriving is the pathway to well-being and it run right through stress and out the other side.
If you are interested in deepening your own self-awareness I am running a workshop this month called “Transactional Analysis for Coaches”. This workshop provides some useful insights that can also help you manage your life better. Follow the link for details.