Tag Archives: stress

How much control do you have over your reality?

Take back control by choosing the right path for you.

Your perceived sense of control over your life and what happens to you will have a significant impact on how stressed and uptight you are. We seldom worry about things we think we can control, we just take action.

 

If you don’t believe me write down a list of things that worry you and check how much control you have over each item. Give it a score out of 10 where zero is not control and 10 is one hundred percent within your control.

 

I wonder how many of you have noticed you feel an increased sense of control about the issues you have written down? Writing your worries down may have already shifted the level of control you feel right away.

 

For each item you now feel you have control over decide what you are going to do to resolve the issue. You may have some nice easy fixes. Other items may now have expanded creating unexpected new worries.

 

For example, you may have a worry about telling a relative that you would prefer them not to keep popping in unannounced. Speaking to them is one hundred percent within your control. Now that you have acknowledged this you may have now discovered something different to worry about!

 

Perhaps you now realise the real issue is how your relative may react. So the next step is to ask yourself a very important question.

 

“How is that a problem for you?”

 

The answer will be personal to you. Here are some common fears for this type of  issue:

  • upsetting the other person.
  • the person becoming angry.
  • the relationship might be damaged.
  • Being seen as uncaring or selfish.
  • Losing control of your own emotions.
  • Not being heard.

 

All of these fears (and others I’ve not mentioned) are valid and at the same time about something that hasn’t actually happened. You are worrying about an imagined outcome, even so, this is important data. Own your fears and use this information to help you work out the most effective way to gain an outcome that works for you on all levels.

 

From an NLP framework the fears indicate ‘positive intentions’ that need to be acknowledged and included in whatever action you decide to take. They are also indicators of the wider ‘ecology’ of the proposed actions.

 

You will notice that as you drill down on a ‘worry’ you are moving it further and further to within your control. You might realise that you need to do some research or get some coaching to develop the necessary skills to communicate your message. This is still putting you back in control. Often you will realise you already have what you need to take action effectively.

The more control you perceive you have, the easier it will be for you to relax and enjoy life. The more you are controlling your own reality.

Start working out plans for those things on your list that score five or above. Notice how much you now feel in control and how the worry and stress has lessened.

 

If you have issues that score below five I will have some ideas that may help you next week. Please do remember if you are struggling with major issues to reach out for support either in your own social network or to an appropriate professional. There will be someone who can help you.

 

 

How well do you manage stress in your life?

For Buck bath time is very stressful. What do you find stressful?

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.

Change your perception and increase your well-being

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.

Are you worrying about our planet and what the future might bring? How does this issue link to self-care?

Are you worrying about our planet and what the future might bring? How does this issue link to self-care?

Last night was Earth Hour. The idea is that you switch off your lights from 8.30pm and 9.30pm as a sign that you are supporting taking care of our planet. The idea has been around for about 10 years and started in Australia.

We took part in Earth Hour switching off our lights plus as many other electrical appliances as we could. For Joe and I caring for our planet is the ultimate in self-care. After all if we don’t take care of our home our other self-care efforts will be for nothing.

I am increasingly speaking with people who worry about the future, and I worry too. Today I invite you to take a step back if you too are worrying.

Worry has a value in that it motivates us to take notice of dangers in our life and environment. It is the cognitive version of the flight and fight response and if unchecked it can develop into generalised anxiety. This can lead to an unhealthy form of paralysis and stress.

So what can you do to stay socially responsible without losing yourself in anxiety, worry and stress?

Draw up a list of actions you personally can take to make a difference and start taking action from this list. There are many small and easily taken changes you can make to how you live in the world. Start there.

Review the list and take more action. Every time you take action to make a difference, take some time to appreciate your contribution.

As a general approach to worry here is a process to begin taking back control:

  1. Acknowledge what you are worried about and write it down.
  2. Reality check what you are worrying about (and if necessary get a second opinion).
  3. List actions you can take to address the worry.
  4. Acknowledge that you are taking action and give yourself credit.
  5. Schedule time to review your progress and add additional actions if necessary.
  6. In between taking action and scheduled review time put the worry in a box and close the lid.

If you are experiencing extreme worry or anxiety I recommend you seek support from an appropriate professional. There is an old cliché that a worry shared is a worry halved and there is some truth to that.

To return to my original thought stream about Earth Hour. Taking an action and interest in the state of our planet is good for you on a values and spiritual level. This form of self-care needs to be balanced with allowing yourself to also take time out to breathe and enjoy the here and now.

I make a point of spending some time in nature every day. This re-charges me so that I can give some energy to taking social responsibility for my impact on our environment and the planet.