Few of us are able to avoid stress completely, but we do make a choice when we tolerate it in our lives. From my own personal experience of stress and after years of working with clients, I’ve learnt that there are better, more empowering ways to respond to life’s challenges than living with, or tolerating stress. It’s a huge energy drainer that affects quality of life, peace of mind and performance. When stress is unaddressed, the consequences to your business, your relationships, your health and happiness are truly damaging. Here’s why …
Stress is a physical and emotional response to demands, experiences or events that are unfamiliar or overwhelming and seem beyond our ability to control. This can easily become part of a cycle that’s hard to break, particularly when we are under pressure and can’t see a way forward. We become frustrated, anxious and even fearful, often turning to short-term comforts or quick fixes that only add to the problem. As we adapt to a life of tolerating stress, we try to ignore the consequences on our lives and the effect on our performance.
Recognise these symptoms of stress?
- You feel drained and lacking in enthusiasm
- You struggle to concentrate on the task in hand or on what’s being said.
- You’re constantly tired yet rarely sleep through the night or feel rested.
- You mentally relive conversations or anticipate worst-case scenarios.
- You drink, smoke or eat more than you know is good for you.
- You don’t have time for the gym or to exercise regularly.
- You micro manage everything, trying to maintain control
- You work long hours and find it difficult to leave your desk.
- You often feel irritable and over sensitive, which has a damaging effect on your relationships.
All these and more are signs of stress. They are providing you with feedback that it’s time to make some changes. They also indicate that you are tolerating stress, rather than addressing the causes that are draining your energy – energy you could invest in your business, your relationships and the quality of your life.
This was Michael’s experience …
Michael was incredibly stressed. Though a successful senior director, Michael worked long hours and when he finally got to sleep at night, he had nightmares. He feared that the only way to get off the treadmill was to have a breakdown, something that had already happened to a colleague. In an attempt to avoid this, Michael believed the answer was to leave his company and buy a business. It was clear to me that without some tools, strategies and a new perspective to help him manage the pressures in his life, Michael’s problems would re-occur in a new work environment. We began working together and by addressing the real causes of his stress and learning how to manage his responses in a very different way, Michael’s life dramatically improved. The changes he made greatly increased his confidence, his professional effectiveness and how he was valued, as well as the quality of his relationships. This was a revelation to Michael. He had feared such changes would be seen as a sign of weakness, rather than strength. Michael’s story is not unusual.
Of course, there are times when some stress can be useful. Being stretched to go beyond our comfort zone is how we develop potential. It can improve performance and increase confidence, but when the stress undermines wellbeing or becomes a way of life, it’s time to take action!
Listen to your gut and pay attention to those areas of your life or business that are either draining your energy or not working for you. If you are stressed, be honest with yourself. It’s time to stop tolerating it and take action to address the causes. Tolerating stress is a choice!
If this post has made you stop and view your business, career or any part of your life in a new light, I’d love to hear your feedback. You may also want to subscribe to future posts. All are designed to raise awareness and increase your success in business and in life.
With much love,