You Have To Know Stress To Overcome It
How business leaders can gain the insights they need to combat one of their biggest challenges
Matthew Rochford, Executive Coach.
One of the worst aspects of our modern lives is stress. Everyone seems to have it and lots of people are talking about it. It's both a symptom of how we live and a reflection of what's happening at a deeper level within us. If we can handle it, great. If we can't it will stop us in our tracks.
“the health epidemic of the 21st century”
The World Health Organisation
When you are running a business, spotting stress is not always easy. This is mainly due to the fact that it often occurs surreptitiously. It kind of creeps in and takes over when we're not looking. We get a bit busier than normal, some kind of adversity occurs. Boom. We're stressed out and on the verge.
Often we just try to remedy the stress. We take time out, get hammered or even worse have to take time off sick due to the effects it can have. At its worst, stress is debilitating and its ramifications complex. It can (and does) kill our quality of life and massively reduces our ability to be effective in business.
It's true to say though that we need to go through it. It's perfectly natural for us to get stressed. We're human and we need to survive. Things threaten us and we react to pressure and difficulty. BUT when it gets out of control we need to combat it. We need to get it under control.
The thing is though, stress is deeply related to how we think and our whole relationship to our thoughts and our identity. Its nature is psychological, so to combat it we need to understand how our mind works.
Insights That Eliminate Stress
“What if I told you that this world around us, this richly textured world, was all just an illusion? Constructed in your head?”
Professor David Eagleman
Neuroscience is catching up with what many of the world's philosophies have been saying for millennia. Reality is a creation of the mind. This indicates that when we are stressed our thinking and how we react to adversity is at least in part to blame for how we are feeling. It also indicates that we can do something about our stress, change it, reduce it and learn from it.
The pliable nature of thought, identity and even our brain chemistry means that if we choose to, we can turn things around, change our relationship with stress and begin to nullify its effects. If you check, during times of stress we can be very overly concerned with what others may think about us and we're also likely to experience higher than normal levels of fear. We get everything out of proportion and we lose perspective.
Some key questions to ask yourself when you are stressed:
Are these thoughts actually helpful?
Are they even the truth?
Do they even reflect who I am or want to be?
Because of the often psychological nature of stress, any insights we have about our situation, how our mind works are hugely valuable. Mindfulness, meditation, psychology and neuroscience offer us powerful tools to help transform stress into something useful and positive.
Some business leaders hire psychologists to help them combat stress and improve performance. Executive Coaches that use psychological models are also, increasingly, being employed to transform businesses and reduce the impact of stress and the likelihood of burnout.
The truth is when we get help to unpack some of the complexities of our situation we naturally gain the insights needed to overcome challenges and gain perspective. We can then move forward in a positive way with renewed energy and clarity. This kind of input can be hugely transformative both to the individual and the organisation as a whole. In fact, it can make businesses more profitable and innovative – bringing new perspectives and approaches into the mix.
Want To Find out More?
Matthew Rochford is an Executive Coach specialising in psychological principles and work-life balance. He currently works with senior consultants, business owners and serial entrepreneurs.
Offering a free introductory meeting, Matthew works in and around Exeter and in London. You can contact him on 07717 172 691, via email: [email protected], or find out more about him via his website www.matthewrochford.co.uk.
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