Are you "stressed out"?

Happy New Year?!   By the time you get this, January will be a memory…I know, crazy isn’t it?

I often get asked how I choose the topics to write about, and, not surprisingly, I consistently get feedback about how “relevant” and “bang on” they are.  This is not by chance.  It is because I am constantly listening to what goes on around me. Wherever I am.  Grocery store, gym, coffee shop, with clients and friends etc. basically everywhere.  If you listen long enough, you will pick up what the pulse is around you,

So why am I already writing about being “stressed out”?  Right…I’ve been listening.

I can pretty much guarantee you, if you ask a few of your friends/family/work colleagues or the cashier at the local grocery store how they are, the answer will be “I am so stressed out”...sometimes not in those words.  Could be, I am so busy I cannot keep up, I have too much to do, not enough money, a child that is causing me grief, a boss I can’t work with etc. 

When I start to explore these answers with clients and ask the question “what is stressing you out”?,  I usually get one of two responses - “everything” or “I don’t know”.  And, quite frankly, neither is really useful to move forward.  Why? Because until you are able to identify what is causing it, it is difficult to tap into it.  Yes, I said, tap into it.  How, you may ask or maybe why, would you want to tap into the energy of your stress?  Because and I know this will irk some of you,  what if you consider that “being stressed out” is actually a behaviour rather than something that happens to you? When you are able to do this, then you are able to gain some power over it so you can harness it for something useful, because despite the bad rap it gets, not all stress is bad and without some stress, life would be pretty boring.

Once a client is actually able to identify a scenario when they were “stressed out” I am able to take them through a mapping of exactly what is creating their “stress” or being “stressed out” or as I call it - their strategy for being stressed- and it never fails to make me smile when I can see their patterns emerging on the whiteboard.  It may take them a little while, but eventually, they cannot ignore the story that is showing up in front of them.  The moment of oh, ya…that. That is what has to be true for me to be “stressed” out.  And, often they figure out that “stress” has just ended up being something they “do”, yes, it is a thing, a response and ultimately…yikes…a behaviour and, good news here, because it is a behaviour, you can modify or change it or at least intercept it and channel it elsewhere.

That’s when we can get some traction.  When the story appears before your eyes, it is hard to ignore. And, it is often so empowering to see what you have to “do” to be “stressed out”. It can open up opportunities to intervene prior to a situation stressing you out or to stop it in its tracks when it starts showing up.

It is so powerful to be able to become aware and then deflate the scenario before it gets to the “stressful” point.  You can identify what has to be present within you and around you for the behaviour to occur and, with practice, you will become able to channel that behaviour elsewhere or intervene (with some deep belly breaths, a walk or maybe even dancing) before the situation escalates.  It is a skill, and like any other skill, with practice, you can get better.

It all starts with considering that stress is something you “do” and therefore, something you can manage and influence.  

Want a coach to help you  identify how you do your “stress” without judgement and with zero emotional attachment to it?  Reach out.  Another game changing possibility awaits you.