I’m not a fan of stress…I know, who is right!? After many years of running a dance studio and a hair salon simultaneously I have definitely had my share of stressful moments, and I am sure that you have too. But let’s face it, we live in the real world and stress is just a part of it from time to time.
When I start working with a client as their life coach a lot of times one of the top concerns my client is dealing with is stress. Reasons for stress vary from person to person as much as how they process it and how they cope with it.
The truth is we typically grow from experiencing a certain amount of stress. For instance take a body builder that trains each day, he or she must put stress on their muscles so that they can stretch and grow. What about the online course, college, or special training for your new career? More than likely you will experience some stress when you are learning a new skill set because it will expand your knowledge when it comes to a specific purpose, industry, or trade. New terminology, information, and even habits expand your thinking and typically lead you out of your comfort zone, which can create stress. I consider that type of stress to be healthy because it is forcing you to grow and stretch out of your comfort zone. You cannot operate on auto pilot and grow into your fullest potential. Growth requires a certain amount of healthy stress. Matter of fact it can get your blood flowing and you may even experience “brain stretch” – that’s my term for feeling your brain expanding due to receiving an overwhelming amount of new information.
I’m not saying that we need to live a stressed out day to day life. Ongoing stress can cause you health problems that you may not have experienced if you were not in tense, stressful situations on a daily basis. Stress overload can cause you to act in such a way that you may not normally. It can also cause you to self sabotage by attracting more stressful situations because energy attracts similar energy. On that note let me share a few tips that help me cope with stressful people and stressful situations.
When I find myself in a stressful situation I immediately remind myself that the feeling of stress, anxiety, and even overwhelm are all temporary feelings. I immediately shift my thoughts past the current situation and I begin to relax based on the feeling that I create when “I see myself past it”. What do I mean by “see myself past it”? I learned a few years ago that if I stop where I am that will be my end result and I don’t want to stop at an end result that does not leave me where I want to be. Whether it is a specific location, a personal goal, or a relationship I begin to focus on the result that I know that I am working toward and I process the current anxiety/stress as just a temporary emotion associated with the process of achieving the desired result. Example: You may hate the elliptical but love the results. The sweat and stress of the workout is worth the gain of a fit, toned body that exudes energy and confidence.
I also try to take some time to get outside and clear my head when I feel overwhelmed or stressed. I may even slightly swing my arms around ceremoniously to shift the energy that I am connected to in the present moment. It’s amazing how much these simple tips can help if you truly are focused on moving forward away from the energy of negative stress. I also make sure that when I am experiencing stress that the cause is worth it. We all have those breaking points that you know are “deal breakers” and those are the points in life that you come to terms with whether or not it is worth it. On the flip side to that there is a cost associated with everything and sometimes stress is part of the cost that you pay as an investment to get where you are going. You have to decide if it matches up to your long term goals.
In my opinion our society (on the average) has weakened when it comes to the commitment to push through when things gets tough. *Keep in mind I’m not judging, I have also had my weak moments and had to develop some grit also over the years.* Some things are meant for us to walk away from but other times we truly just need a little grit to make it through the tough times so that we can accomplish the overall result that we really want. Wisdom comes from knowing the difference. I have had clients that have signed up for my program to lose weight and they decide within a couple of days that it just isn’t worth eating healthy and exercising for them to get the result that they want. I have also had clients that have persevered through the transition of eating healthy and working out daily which leads to the outcome of dropping multiple clothing sizes! Trust me those clients didn’t necessarily get excited about having to change their eating habits and daily routine but they are thrilled with the outcome. Plus it gives them an extra sense of pride when they know that they stuck it out even when it was hard.
Maybe it’s the fact that my parents are celebrating their 56th Wedding Anniversary this week that has made me a little more aware of what comes with true commitment. After all 56 years of marriage is a true sign of commitment even in the most stressful of situations. When my Dad was drafted to serve in Vietnam I am sure that was a spirit of overwhelm that neither of my parents thought they would face just like the many other stepping stones they were able to get through together. But when I see them together today holding hands in church it is a true reminder to me not to give up too easily on the things and the people that matter the most to you.
In closing, if you find yourself stressed out just take a few minutes to process it and decide if it’s worth it. If it is get that grit on and stick it out to get the result that you want. If not, make the decision to move forward and don’t look back unless it’s to reflect on what you learned throughout the process to getting to where you want to be. Most importantly, relax, breathe, and whisper a thank you to the God above that created you. He is strengthened you in the spirit of overwhelm because he knows that you were created for more.