Use your Stress! April is Stress Awareness Month.
Now there’s an imposing title. Stress Awareness Month. Spending a month thinking about stress has got to be stressful. Spending any length of time thinking about stress is stressful. Even the word itself implies stress. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
But then there’s a thought, what does the word actually mean?
In 2014 I got taken to court by a lady who was a client. We had a disagreement and we couldn’t find a resolution by ourselves. The case dragged out for over a year. I had never been in this situation before and quite frankly it scared the hell out of me. However, I am a stubborn man and I didn’t want to bullied, as I perceived the situation to be.
That didn’t stop that year being incredibly stressful. More stressful than anything I had ever experienced before, or thankfully since. It was at its worst at night. I would drift off without any difficulty, but would wake at 1 – 2am needing the loo, (privilege of age and alcohol) and from that moment I was doomed until about half an hour before the alarm went off.
At night your subconscious mind is in control. With nothing to distract it, the imagination creates a reality that you begin to invest in and believe and then make end scenarios that are humiliating at best and outright disastrous at worst. Our sub conscious mind is powerful and dedicated to what it believes to be our best interests, which generally makes for more stress.
In an effort to cope the body will transmit that feeling of stress to other parts of the body, tying your stomach up in knots, pulling your shoulders up to your ears, make you pick at your skin, nervously. These symptoms of Stress will feed back to your brain which will add another layer to what is already there, and the cycle will begin again. Followed by anxiety, weight loss, distractedness and inability to function properly or to the best of your ability.
That is what happened to me. For a year!
So, what does the word actually mean?
Stress is the feeling of being overwhelmed or unable to cope with mental or emotional pressure.
The human brain has so many wonderful gifts that no other creature on this planet has available. Foresight, will, reason, imagination and memory to start with: and it’s misusing these gifts that causes us stress.
We ask ourselves the wrong questions. If I don’t get all this work done, what will happen? If I lose my job, what will happen? If I don’t go out with my friends tonight what will happen? If I don’t wear the appropriate clothes to the function tonight, what will happen?
Or in my case what will happen if I lose the case?
We need a certain amount of stress in our lives, it keeps us alert, fires up the adrenaline we need to react when we are nervous and stimulate us as appropriate. However, we also need to realise when it’s giving us signals that we can respond to.
If we listen to our bodies and act accordingly, recognise the messages that stress can give us, we can actually live better longer happier lives.
And nature, our greatest ally can help!