Stress in our life. How we can use stress by transforming the way we see it.
What is stress?
What comes to mind when we think about stress? For many of us, it is a feeling of experiencing ‘mental exhaustion,’ frustration, anger, overwhelming emotions, and even depression. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, stress is:
A brain’s response to any demand. Many things can trigger this response, including change. Changes can be positive or negative, as well as real or perceived. They may be recurring, short-term, or long-term and may include things like commuting to and from school or work every day, travelling for a yearly vacation, or moving to another home. Changes can be mild and relatively harmless, such as winning a race, watching a scary movie, or riding a roller coaster. Some changes are major, such as marriage or divorce, serious illness, or a car accident. Other changes are extreme, such as exposure to violence, and can lead to traumatic stress reactions.
This common understanding of stress draws the logical conclusion that although having some stress in our lives may not be detrimental to our well-being, having too much (especially on a continuous basis) is often unhealthy, and we ought to find ways to reduce it all costs. Hence, the multitude of different techniques being promoted and developed to manage and reduce stress. Many of these techniques are designed to “fight” stress as if it were our enemy, with the focus targeting mostly the effects and rarely its causes.
What is stress for me, may not be stress for you.
Different individuals experience stress in their unique way. It can vary widely from person to person. Stress for one person is not necessarily the same for another person. We all have different capabilities when it comes to dealing with stress in any given situation. For example, one situation can create varying levels of stress in different people, or sometimes, even in the same person but at a different time. It all comes down to our beliefs and perception of a particular event, situation, or experience. Based on these perceptions and beliefs, we then give it a description, estimation, and justification; we assess our capability to handle the situation. Our opinion depends on our experiences and beliefs about who we are AND what our "limits" are. As a result, how we describe these beliefs, limits, and experiences, and assimilate it with our world view will subsequently affect how we adjust or redefine our worldview and our place in it. What this does, in effect, is create the anticipated outcome of a situation where our unconscious tendency to confirm our expectations, reinforces our beliefs. This is why it is of utmost importance to understand the actual causes of our stress and in this way, change its effect on our lives.
Stress is a constant feeling that developed through evolution to motivate humans to action. It creates a state of imbalance and by doing so, generates the energy required to regain balance. Restoring such balance can only be achieved by engaging in action. If we embrace stress as a motivating power - one that creates growth and life itself - we will be able to find a flow and create the change we need to have a purpose. However, when we resist and fight stress the wrong way it brings exhaustion and only suppresses this energy. In doing so, stress will eventually rear its ugly head through other facets of our lives, i.e. through illness, depression, etc.
The goal is to learn to welcome life and growth as inseparable parts of stress. We can do that by first learning what our internal blocks and fears are. Understanding our internal process is the most important part of working with stress, since forcing our way through will prove futile in the long term. What is important is to change our beliefs relating to stress. We have established that stress is good and necessary for our growth and success. Once we allow this possibility into our belief system, we can start identifying the actual source of stress. Only by acknowledging and accepting the true meaning of stress in a given situation, will we start transforming stress into something that works for our benefit. Once we have mastered this understanding within ourselves, we will lose the sense of “being the effect of” and instead, engage in “taking control.”
Stress as a source of transformational growth.
Transformation comes from the need to have fulfillment, which has been knocking on your doors all your life. You heard that knock. We all have. But you often ignore it as it requires and brings discomfort of "old a small shell which have become too tight as you outgrew it and are ready to shed." But you have to be willing to experience the discomfort of that "small and tight shell" to understand its meaning in order to become successful in this life.
The transformation weaves through many processes. Opportunity knocks in the form of a call for action, you feel the push, but the doors of your fear resist, as they have many times in the past. But the life within you and around you will not stop and will not pass you by, as you are part of it. Those doors will not hold forever. Eventually, it will consume all your energy. It will begin to dominate your life, and the resistance will give in to the pressure, but the cost will be high, in the form of a health, relationship or existential crisis.
To let the life in, you need to let the fear go. Open those doors and let the energy be released, transforming tension/stress/conflict into a life of growth and fulfillment.
Transformational approach/my approach.
The Transformational approach used in Conscious Growth Coaching complement many stress management techniques used. Researchers of stress recognized that stress is harmful to people who believe it is harmful and empowering to people who believe that it is empowering. By creating the right environment, coaching helps recognize internal impeding forces found in the form of limiting beliefs, assumptions, interpretations or habits and transform them into supporting forces with new beliefs, broader interpretations, and new practices. Coaching also creates a safe and supportive environment to explore and unlock your unconscious processes to identify a client’s personal path.
If you feel overwhelmed with stress, overrun with a crisis, and drained by conflict, then you are ready to take control, to turn your life around, to transform it to one of greater purpose, satisfaction, and success.
TAKE THE NEXT STEP. CONTACT ALEX IODA FOR YOUR FREE STRATEGY SESSION.