Many of us are all too familiar with the symptoms of stress within ourselves, but because it can be so varied from person to person, some may struggle to make the connection.
If we do not realise the full extent of the stress and how it is affecting us, are we truly coping?
I firmly believe that the majority of our stress comes from our reality not matching our vision. We’ve all been there – dreaming up a scenario in our heads of the exact outcome we want, only to find a completely different outcome waiting for us.
Or perhaps we spend countless days, months and even years trying to reach the desired outcome, only to feel we never quite make it.
For me, the lack of reaching the desired outcome, is all about things that are out of our control – other people.
Most of the visions we have for ourselves are reliant on some level, on the actions or reactions of other people.
Let’s take success in business for example. We can work diligently at all the key components that are known to make us success in our career, but in order to truly reach that success, we are reliant on the decisions of others. Will they accept our offer? Will my boss put me forward for that promotion, over my colleague who is equally qualified?
While we did everything in our power to do the best job possible, at some level our ultimate success – the vision of the outcome we are holding on to – is out of our hands. And THAT is stressful.
Here are my tips for truly coping with whatever stresses you are facing, no matter the cause.
We cannot control other people, their thoughts, actions or reactions. We never will. The ONLY person we control is ourselves.
When you are facing a stressful situation, remove yourself from it for a moment, looking at it from an outsider’s perspective, and ask yourself what you actually have control over.
Reminding yourself that you do have control over your actions & reactions, and how you choose to deal with them, empowers you. It allows you to make better choices that serve your Highest good, rather than making several poor decisions in an attempt to regain power.
In essence, you have not lost power, or control – not over yourself.
For everything else, let go. Surrender control, and the need to control, others.
Instead of feeling stressed over things not going the way you wanted, and increasing that stress over contemplating ways to control those responsible, begin to see the opportunity that lays within – your reaction.
A large factor of stress is the shame that comes from experiencing it. The more we try to deny it and fight it, the more stressed we become. It’s a vicious circle.
There is a lot of hype about the power of a positive mindset right now, and for good reason – having a positive mindset plays a huge role in our emotional intelligence, which plays a large role in our success.
However, having a positive mindset does NOT mean you are positive all the time. Positive people are not those who never experience negativity in any form. Rather, they are people who allow themselves to feel a whole range of feelings, without judgement.
They see the beauty in honouring their emotions – the good and the bad – because they know their strength. That strength is what they rely on to eventually find the positive within the situation and pull themselves out.
Until then, positive people actually embrace the moment. If they need to grieve the loss of the vision they had, then they proudly allow themselves that opportunity. They recognise that they did not reach that vision because of people’s actions and reactions which are out of their control.
They’ve surrendered that control, and will eventually find the opportunity that is laying before them. Until then, they acknowledge that the loss of what they wanted is real.
Energy flows where attention goes
After you have grieved the loss of what you wanted, or expressed your anger or sadness, it is time to regroup and pick yourself back up.
We have an expression in NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming), ‘Energy flows where attention goes.’ Literally this means that if you are thinking negatively, then you will attract the negative. It’s not that there will be no positive things, people or experiences in your life, but that because you are thinking negatively, you will only allow yourself to see the negative in all situations.
Conversely, if you are thinking positively, you will allow yourself to see the positive in the people and experiences around you.
This is the power of emotional intelligence: Being able, when you are ready, to shift your energy.
It’s not that you were being negative in the previous step, rather you were allowing yourself to feel. And now it is time to ensure your energies are focusing on the positive.
So, how do you do this?
Every single thing that happens in our lives is an opportunity to learn, grow or heal.
When our vision is not meeting our reality, it doesn’t have to be a negative experience. It is possible that there is an alternate end-goal that is better than the original.
We don’t have a crystal ball, so we do not know exactly how a divergence in what we want will actually benefit us. We still have some control here – control over our own actions and reactions.
Surrender the need to control the outcome and take control over how you choose to interpret what is happening around you.
If you truly believe that you deserve the best, then any divergence from your original plan is not a failure but an opportunity.
So, when you are ready, start looking long and hard at any and every positive thing from this experience, and find that opportunity. It is there, and only you have the power to take it.
Lisa Cybaniak is a Motivational Speaker and Success Coach. Lisa empowers women to find their personal purpose after abuse, to build the life they deserve