The Pressure of Stress

I am sure you know the feeling.

Time feels like it is going faster and faster and you cannot seem to control the speed, all you can do is hold on. The more you try to control it, the faster it seems to run. It feels like a rollercoaster or a run-away train and you don’t know where the next turn or challenge is coming from.  You feel as if things around you are getting fuzzy and your vision is getting blurry, all you can do is keep staring ahead of you to stay focused on holding on. It feels as if you are in a tunnel and there is no way out. You keep wondering when the train is going to run off the track and all you can do is…

Pause…

Stop for a moment and check in with your body. Are you holding your breath? Are you feeling the pressure in your chest or in your stomach, or both?

This is what it feels like when your thoughts are running off with you.

Time does seem to go faster these days. Because of technology, we can do so much more in less time than we could years ago. Wait… stop for a moment. Did I just say that because of technology we can do so much more in less time?

Time goes at the same speed as it always has and we all get the same 24 hours in a day. Unless you are orbiting earth, where you in one 24 hour day would experience 4 sunrises and 4 sunsets that is. That really messes with your perception of time, my astronaut friend Steve tells me. But here on earth, we can actually master our time, by becoming aware of our relationship with time and choose what we pay attention to.

The most easily accessible tool that we have to shift the build-up of stress inside of us, is to pause, even just for a moment. To breathe and shift our attention inward. Just noticing the pressure of stress inside of us can help ease the pressure. It is the power of pausing and taking a few mindful breaths, with the intention of giving some kindness, life and movement back to the tightness in our bodies.

Our relationship with time.

The pressure of stress comes from the inside out and so does the solution. We cannot control our surroundings or what happens, but we can only control, or rather master, how we engage and interact with what happens. That is the skill of a leader. To be able to pause, observe, acknowledge, reflect and then choose how to act.

The short version of this method is AAA.

Acknowledge – Accept – Act.

Acknowledge is the pausing and noticing of what is happening. To observe the situation and acknowledge the facts of the situation, not our thoughts about it, -the facts. The thoughts, as you saw above, can drive your stress. You were not on a run away train, you were imagining that you were on a run away train. Our thoughts are that powerful that they can create a sensation in your body, that has you believe you are in the situation that you are imaging. Stress gets worse because of our thoughts – if not we are just busy solving problems.

Accept is to stop resisting what is. Too often, we spend to much time and thought energy wishing it were different. If only… Why did… How could you… These are all a waste of time, energy and focus because it is looking backward. We only want to learn from the past, no need to rehash it unless it carries a lesson. It is the resistance to what could happen or rather the thoughts what might happen, that causes us the most stress. Action is the anti-dote to feeling stuck in this run-away train. And the pressure chamber inside your body.

Act is once we accept what the situation is, we can choose how to act from a constructive and creative, no-stress-induced mindset. We can act based on how to move forward, how to solve the problem and how to re-direct the plan. It is a bit like pulling over on the highway when you realize you are driving the wrong direction and reset your GPS. You would do that, right?

To learn more about how to fuel your performance and company culture from the inside out, contact Jeanette Bronéeand let’s figure out if your company needs training, a keynote or if your leaders need coaching. To learn more at JeanetteBronee.com

Photo by Romain Peli via Unsplash.