A few tips for managing stress…

1)    Pace yourself to your own natural rhythm, not others. As that dreaded deadline is approaching and you feel under pressure, say to yourself that you are going to get the task done. Your prerogative now is to monitor the pressure you are putting on yourself because this very pressure is where your energy is being channeled toward and this is taking away from your task.

2)    Can you delegate to others some of the things that require your attention, and concentrate on your priorities? Overthinking every little thing will only add to the pressure. Unhealthy levels of anxiety and stress can be the result of competing thoughts while you are engrossed in something but thinking about something else.

3)    As we experience pressure we feel the compulsion to prove ourselves to ourselves and to the world. We need to make sure that we do not confuse compulsion with conscientiousness and dedication. The word that comes to mind here is awareness. For instance, I was completing a set of slides for a work presentation but I was never happy thinking that my work wasn’t proving my point enough. I then stopped and thought, ‘I am working myself into a frenzy I will ask someone else to proof read it as this is no longer me being dedicated, it’s me getting stressed out and overthinking it…’’

4)    Task avoidance, procrastination, and postponement are the result of us feeling overwhelmed and being in denial and this is often be processed through subtle deprivations. Once you have admitted you are in denial make a list of those necessary tasks you have been avoiding and make a point of completing them one by one and knock them off slowly but surely.

5)    When you feel you are underperforming is easy to become disconnected from yourself and others as you feel you are losing status, image, and values. Make a list of what and who is important to you and try and reconnect with things and people you have been avoiding.

6)    When the denial of your needs intensifies it is a short path to disavowing your emotions. Start paying attention to your language and when you hear yourself being cynical and bitter take it as a sign of burnout, not a reality. Stop proving to yourself that you are fine because you are not. Pick someone who’s sensitive to issues and talk to them.

7)    When we are stressed out changes in behaviour that are noticeable start to materialize and people might even comment on them. Instead of us perceiving it as a way for people to help us or give us feedback, we see it as an attack. Do not shut down on other people and listen to what they have to say in the way of feedback.

Written by Tony De Palmas. Your Coach.

What about relationships…

The quality of the relationships we have in life is directly proportional to how willing we are to consider the perspective of others. The one thing that we seem to neglect at times is respect towards ourselves in the first place. Due to our own needs and demanding lifestyle, our innate sense of community in modern society seems to be on the wane, however, it’s important to foster the art of loving ourselves before we can feel genuinely compassionate towards others as a way of giving back to society.

Self-worth embodies love, kindness and happiness that can be achieved when we look for it from within. There is no external event that can bring you happiness, so looking for it out there can only make things different in the short run. If we entrust our happiness with the obtainment of external factors, our happiness will suffer when things go wrong.

Consideration towards others can only be achieved when it is unconditional, e.g. when we accept the fact that all lives are linked and we look at this objectively regardless of how others make us feel whether we agree with them or not. This can bring out feelings of self-control because we make conscious decisions around dictating how we want to feel. There is nothing out there that’s capable of making you feel anything but yourself.

Regarding relationships, we can certainly nurture them by means of self-control and that we can only develop when we mature a detached attitude from our minds. This can allow us to be less defensive when we relate to people or when we try to win an argument at all costs etc. We then avoid placing importance on who is right or wrong and we focus on the solution as we see things objectively.

So why are our current relationships ‘stuck’ where they are and not where we would like them to be? This is the problem: no one is making the first move and consequently things will remain the same and can even deteriorate. When one person in the relationship begins to change, the other person may experience a crisis where they lose the security of knowing where they stood. Losing that comfort can only be a positive thing if we are ready to accept that things will inevitably change and we embrace crisis. If not, things will stay the same.

In romantic relationships, when one outgrows the other, both will eventually end up growing apart. The same applies to people who eventually break away from groups of people sharing uniform values. One or two people involved will at some point step outside of their comfort zone and take chances. This is when they will start to grow.

In summary, relationships can become incompatible due to a gap in maturity and a gap in growth; equally if we wish to experience a relationship in full, we need to exercise compassion towards both ourselves and others. This is achieved when we acknowledge both the positive and negative aspects such as joy / pain and approach it with kindness. We can otherwise prefer people to be different, but the reality is we are not in control of this.

Another key aspect to improve our relationships is acceptance. Acceptance is one of the first steps to improve our relationships because it helps us discern between unrealistic desires and the reality for what it is. If we try to live by these principles, we can then manage what we can expect from other people. However, it’s important to remember that relationships will only evolve if those involved have the motivation to grow together. The absence of this mutual willingness will eventually make it inevitable for people to grow apart.

What do you want?

A: ‘’What do I want?”

B: ‘’What do you mean, what sort of question is that? I want the best body ever, I want to be rich and feel free, I want to find my ideal partner and get a dream house. I want this to happen very soon!’’

A: ‘’Thanks for sharing your goals with me. Could you summarise what steps you are taking to achieve what you want?’’

B: ‘’Mmm, well at this present time I am planning for those things and I know full well I will achieve my goals one day’’

A: ‘’I heard you say that you want these amazing things to happen to you very soon.  Are you committed today to accomplish your mission?’’

B: ‘’Yes, I mean I need to feel ready for it first, I will soon start to take action, so I can succeed. I have some many other things to do every day, so I think this will take time to be honest’’

Believable scenario, right? It can happen to you and it can happen to me…

One way or another we are always preparing ourselves for what it is that we are striving for in life. Preparing is one thing but it does not mean we are moving anywhere. Over preparing can in itself, in the long run, turn into the ‘skill’ of procrastination and consequently negative mental states especially when we compare ourselves to others and what they have managed to achieve while we are still taking our time to think and rethink.

What does this mean for your mental health? Crisis. One of the reasons we sometimes fail to move forward in life is because we feel we do not have all the resources we need to make that important shift. What happens as a result of this is that we find ourselves in a struggle when it comes to stepping outside of our comfort zone. This becomes a self-imposed difficult situation. Hear me out here, the difficult situation is not that the goal is hard to achieve, but that you have placed yourself in the position of not being able to achieve it… Does that self-imposed difficult situation interfere with your motivation? Yes, it does. If we become aware that this is the pain that we are capable of inflicting on ourselves, we are also potentially able to take action and change it.

How?  You are questioning now. It is about convincing ourselves that we have confidence in the resources that we already have, and this will pave the way for us to feed the confidence that we need to find the resources that we lack. And yes, it is painful to make the shift. The pain comes from having to move from a situation we feel stuck in and the desired state.

To hit you with an analogy, it is similar when we don’t know how to dress in between seasons and sometimes we might feel we should have taken that jacket along or we feel that we’re wearing the wrong shoes. This makes us feel uncomfortable but once the weather is settled, we understand how to dress appropriately and we feel perfectly fine. The change of season forced us outside of the comfort zone and we felt uneasy.

Sometimes we are unprepared to tackle what a given situation is going to throw at us. This can happen despite our best effort to be ready for the moment. Let’s accept this as possible and not as something we should avoid. We are now talking about positive risk taking which iso9 necessary because we do not have all the answers. The issue it that sometimes we are good at taking the risk, but we don’t do much to prepare for where it is that we are moving to in life.

In order to change and get out of the comfort zone, we need to acknowledge the present state (i.e. where we are) and we need to have a clear vision of where we want to be. What resources do you already own today (present state) that will allow you to find a way to reach the resources that are still needed to bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to be. It is about doing what you can with what you have. Results will follow.

Another important consideration is that to experience real change in life we need to get rid of our present state. This is the principle of personal growth. We need to accept that life is matter of continuous change whether we like it or not. Like the weather, we become adjusted to the present season, it becomes harder to adapt to the incoming season.

The feeling of uneasiness that we experience when we are in transition is inevitable but one that is worthwhile. Once we are willing to invest our energies in the pain that change can bring, we are in control and we will use that pain in our favour. The pain is your tool, it is the means you will use to make a shift from where you believe you should be (for safety) to where you should really be, because you are already the desired outcome but your sight is blurred by the lack of confidence from feeling uncertain. Whether we will achieve a successful outcome or not will depend on how disposed you are to change in the season of transition.

Exercise: Make a list of things you can take responsibility for today and begin working on them right away to see how far you can go in terms of achieving your desired state. This first step will enable you to identify areas of your life that are not working well at present. Now for each of those identified areas, make a list of resources that you still need to bridge the gap.

You should have a clear vision now of where you are, what your current winning tools are and what you need to complete your journey towards success. Remember, pain is part of the process and you are always in control every step of the way. Pain is a tool and it is not there to control you at any stage.

Tony Boncordo

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