Wow, after months and months, and more months, of winter, Copenhagen snapped in to summer in a matter of just a few days. One morning we were scrapping ice off the car (please don’t ask me just how many times we’ve had to do that in the last six months) and less than a handful of days later we were out in the garden sunning ourselves in T- shirts, firing up the BBQ and even eating outside. Long may the sunshine and warm weather continue!
But the wonderful, relaxing, put your feet up (hence the post picture and yes they are my little fat feet as I didn’t have another model to hand), 5 day Easter break that we are blessed with in Denmark got me thinking about stress and the weight of the world that we put on our own shoulders…. And as I just found out when doing my research for this post it’s an appropriate time to cover stress as April is actually Stress Awareness Month.
So let’s be clear. Stress is the adverse reaction that people have to excessive pressures or other types of demands placed on them or more specifically that they PERCEIVE are placed on them. Have you experienced things that explode out of all proportion in your mind, from a tiny bump in the grass to mountain-size proportions? Have you laid awake from 4am or had difficulty even getting to sleep, because of all those thoughts whirring around and around in your head? Have you felt your stomach do flips flops just at the thought of the day ahead? In the worst case perhaps you’ve even been off work sick as a result of stress?
Stress is induced by your perception of the world and your thoughts, your internal representations of the world and events around you and your emotional state, which then in turn affects your body (physiology) and how you act (your behaviour).
When I was researching stress I came across a great blog and if you enjoy reading my NLP stuff then you’re certainly going to enjoy reading the posts from the lovely ladies at Best Knickers Always. A few weeks ago they posted some excellent questions you can ask yourself when it comes to stress. So here they are again with a few thoughts and ideas from me…
- How do you create stress with your own thinking habits? Let’s be honest here – who creates those thoughts in your head? Therefore who creates the stress you feel? Are there any common triggers that start the pattern of you feeling stressed? Once that trigger occurs what happens? Could you consider breaking that cycle?
- What could you do differently? Who can change what you think and how you think? Who can change how you react to what you think?
- How could you slow down? Is stress an issue of pace and feeling things are moving too fast for you? Alternatively is it a matter of perceiving you have “too much on your plate”? Is it the feeling of having lost the balance of your life between work and outside work? Is it something else? What could you do to relieve that perceived pressure?
- What activities or thoughts create a positive state for you? What makes you feel good or relax? What activities feel effortless as you enjoy them so much? What activities or thoughts give you energy? Could you use those to break the pattern?
- What is positive about the pace of your life right now? What works in your life right now? What will you gain from your life if it continues as it is? What will you not gain if it doesn’t?
- What is the cost to you, you family and your friends in maintaining this pace (or workload, level of pressure etc.)? How does your perceived stress affect those around you and your relationships? What do you pay for stress? How does it affect you work? How does it affect your performance? What do you lose by making yourself stressed? What will you not lose if you manage stress more effectively?
I hope you find those thought-provoking questions get you thinking about how you best manage stress. Remember, as I’ve heard quoted by a range of people, the only stress-free situation is dead! So the key is not to avoid stress it’s rather how you manage your thinking to manage stress. What great advice would you give other people on how to do that effectively?
© Jacqui Gatehouse and NLP THIRTEEN, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jacqui Gatehouse and NLP THIRTEEN with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
- Are You a Dutiful Worrier? (psychologytoday.com)
- April is Stress Awareness Month…so let’s de-stress! (bizznesscard.wordpress.com)
- Are You Managing Stress Effectively? Test Yourself With These Questionnaires (brighthub.com)
- Coping with stress (thecrazyrambler.wordpress.com)