I’m curious – what are you experiencing right now?
Is it pressure, stress, anxiety, chronic stress or an anxiety disorder?Take a moment to consider your answer.
If you said stress, anxiety, chronic stress or an anxiety disorder, what skills, processes, tools, techniques do you have in place to help you manage that experience?
Prior to becoming a life coach, I headed the risk management division of one of New Zealand’s largest organisations. Like all organisations, that organisation had three things to manage on a daily basis:
The organisation had effective systems and procedures in place to ensure demands were met, and the consequences of issues and risks were minimised.
As individuals, we too have to manage these same three things on a daily basis, but many people don’t have effective systems and procedures in place to ensure demands are met and the consequences of issues and risks are minimised. As a result they experience unnecessary and potentially harmful (chronic) stress and/or anxiety.
Demands, Issues and Risks
Let’s take a look at each of these experiences.
Demands: Everyday we face a plethora of demands. They come in many shapes ands sizes, such as accountabilities, responsibilities, expectations, projects, tasks. For many of us, managing competing demands is one of the constant challenges of modern life.
When we perceive we have sufficient resources to cope with the sum total of the demands we’re currently facing we experience PRESSURE.
Pressure is a cocktail of physical sensations (e.g. increased heart rate, strain), feelings (e.g. excitement; feel challenged, feel motivated) and thoughts (e.g. Bring it on!; I can do this!).
Issues: Issues are threats to our physical and/or emotional well-being that we’re dealing with right now in the present moment. Issues can be temporary or ongoing experiences. One of the most common issues faced by people today, is excessive pressure i.e. we perceive that we don’t have sufficient resources to deal with the sum total of the demands we’re facing. Other examples of issues are: coping with an illness, caring for a dependent relative on an ongoing basis, living in poverty, being in a dysfunctional relationship.
In response to issues we experience STRESS.
Stress is a cocktail of physical sensations (e.g. tension, headache, tiredness), emotions (e.g. fear, anger) and thoughts (e.g. I can’t cope; Will this ever end?).
Stress is a signal from our body to our mind that we are currently in danger and need to take immediate action to fight back or escape (fight or flight).
Risks: Risks are potential threats to our physical and/or emotional well-being. They may or may not become issues in the future. In addition to known risks, we identify risks through worrying (asking ‘What if …’ questions), faulty thinking (e.g. catastrophizing; ‘all or nothing’ thinking) and the misuse of our imagination.
In response to risks we experience ANXIETY.
Anxiety is experienced as a cocktail comprised of physical sensations (e.g. butterflies in the stomach, nausea, tension), emotions (e.g. nervousness, apprehension, dread, fear) and thoughts (e.g. This is going to end badly; I’m going to fail; They’re all going to laugh at me; I’m going to die).
Anxiety is a signal from our body to our mind that we’re facing a potential threat and need to take action now, to prepare ourselves to deal with, or avoid, the future threat. For example, anxiety motivates us to:
- take care before making an important decision
- prepare for a test or exam
- have a regular mammogram or prostrate check-up,
- plan for our retirement
- take out travel insurance before an overseas holiday
- not wander alone, down dark alleys in the middle of the night
For our ancestors stress and anxiety were short-lived experiences. Once the threat had passed, or the risk had been minimised to an acceptable level, the feelings of stress and anxiety dissipated, and their body and mind returned to a balanced ‘normal’ state.
For many people today the issues and risks keep coming, in a seemingly endless torrent. In the absence of effective issue and risk management behaviours and habits, the stress hormones don’t get a chance to dissipate and so build up in the body. When this happens a person is experiencing chronic stress. We know that chronic stress, if unresolved, has an adverse impact on our physical and mental health.
Occasional anxiety is a normal part of life, but when it is experienced more days than not; when it pushes itself into the centre of your life; when decisions are made on the basis of how your anxiety is that day then it’s labelled an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety disorders involve more than temporary feelings of anxiety. The anxiety has become excessive, and the person may have difficulty controlling it, such that it negatively affects and interferes with their daily activities, such as job performance and relationships. For a person experiencing an anxiety disorder, anxiety does not go away and can get worse over time.
So what are you experiencing?
So if you haven’t already, take a moment now to consider what you’re experiencing in this moment. Is it pressure, stress, anxiety, chronic stress or an anxiety disorder?
Do you have the skills, habits, tools and techniques to manage that stress or anxiety?
If your answer is ‘No,’ then perhaps I can help. Providing people the knowledge, skills and support to manage stress and anxiety is my area of expertise. It’s something I’m passionate about and why I became a coach.
If you’d like to explore how you can put in place your own personal ‘issue and risk management system’ let’s have a discovery conversation. It’s free, has zero risk, and could potentially change your life. Call/text Tony on 021 056 8389.
Have a wonderful week
REMEMBER – “When you change your mind you change your life.”
Tony Yuile is on a mission to help people enjoy lives free of unnecessary stress and anxiety. If you’d like his help, or you know someone who would benefit, give Tony a confidential call/text today on 021 056 8389 or email firstname.lastname@example.org