Pull back the covers on your stress
What is stress, really? It is a word we use so easily and often without much thought these days. Not that long ago in human evolution it would have meant that our life was threatened. Now we report feeling stressed about our to-do lists, email inboxes and running late. Stress can also refer to trauma and the after-effects of this can lead to a continued stress response. Please note that I am not referring to trauma here, but rather the everyday stresses that people describe.
In my opinion, stress is the achiever’s word for fear. It’s just that it would sound quite odd to tell people that you are scared of your emails (although you may have joked about this at times!). Think about the last time you felt really worked up on the inside. You may not have shown this outwardly to anyone, but you were stressed.
Consider it this way; ‘If stress is actually showing me something that I’m frightened of, what might that be?’ What most people are scared of is what other people think of them.
Once you see the stress for what it really, potentially is for you, you can decide if you stay in that workedup state or not, as now you can see the truth: you aren’t stressed, you are worried about what someone (or a group of people) thinks of you. With this insight, you can pause and think through what’s really bothering you about this scenario instead of futilely repeating over and over again in your mind ‘I’m so stressed, I’m so stressed’. What are you worried that they’ll think of you? How are you concerned that they will perceive you? Name the traits.
So next time you find yourself stressing out on the inside, pause and ask yourself, in the same gentle way you would approach a child: ‘If this is truly something I’m frightened of, what might it be?’ You’ll see who you are trying to please and who you worry about when it comes to how they see you. And I hope in that moment you see how futile and unnecessary and, at times, damaging this is.
You don’t have to act a certain way for people to love and appreciate you. You just need to be you — your authentic self. And with the truth of all this, you’ll find a new way to live – with far less ‘stress’ and all of the benefits inside and out that that brings.