Everything has a “stress point. This stress point either becomes non-functional or it breaks apart.
We humans also have stress points. Each of us has the same basic fight-or-flight response and if pushed far enough, even the calmest, most collected person will be impacted by the stress.
Because humans’ relationship with stress is inconsistent and dynamic, it’s difficult to predict what our breaking point will be in any given scenario. In some cases, being subjected to a significant amount of stress can actually energise and strengthen us.
It’s interesting that some of our most destructive stress experiences occur within the limitations of our minds. We can work ourselves into a catastrophic state about all the bad things that could happen by the ‘The What If?’ syndrome. As a result, we can lose sight of the learning experience and practical realities from the situation and become more susceptible to the debilitating effects of stress.
That’s why it’s important to know when to move forward into a stressful experience and when to step away and let it go.
Before you can respond constructively to a stressful situation, you have to step back and gain perspective. You don’t want your head spinning and heart thumping when you need to be purposeful and clear.
Stressing the Past
By focusing on the past is not only futile but also mentally exhausting and tormenting. The only purpose the past has is the ‘learning’. Take the learnt lessons and apply that learning into action as you move forward with your life.
Stressing NOW focus on the Future
If the present moment is stressing you to your breaking point, ask yourself what are you focusing on, problem or solution. Remind yourself this moment is temporary.
You are resilient and strong. Everything changes. This will also pass. Focus on what is in your control and let go of what isn’t in your control.
Stressing the Future focus on the NOW
Your company is laying people off and you’re anxious you may lose your job. If you lose your job, then you might lose your home, and so on. ‘The What If?’ syndrome. You’re worried to the point of distraction about the future, but nothing bad is actually happening, focus on the present and show up with as much resolve and gratitude as you can.
As of right now, you’re still have your house. You have food in the fridge. You have people who care about you. Life may feel scary, but in the here and now, you’re OK.
You have options available, agreements you can renegotiate, daily choices about how and where to put your attention.
The now is all you have. By what you do, or not do, now automatically sets up your future outcome. Ask yourself,
What can I action now that will set me up for my future?
Make a contingency plan
What is in your control and what isn’t in your control?
Generally people tend to focus on the things that are not in their control that only encourages more unnecessary stress. Keep it focused on what’s in your control.
How will I change my approach?
What is the best way to proceed?
There are times when you’re confronted with a serious issue that just isn’t going to go away. In these cases, you need to plan for contingency. If you’re facing a real challenging problem ask yourself
What will be the best course of action if the situation took a turn for the worse?
Write down your contingency plan, covering every possible scenario. Then put it aside let go and go back to living and know you have done the best you can do in the given situation.