If the concept of “Enjoying the Journey” we talk about this month, is about life itself, the following question is inevitable “How can I enjoy my life more”? Every professional working in the field of psychology, human development, science and wellness at some point in their career, finds themselves trying to answer one of these very common questions (also asked by many coaching clients):
How do I stress less?
How should I relax?
What is the best way?
Is there a way to remove stress entirely from our daily lives?
Is it necessary or even possible?
Only last week on my Facebook newsfeed I spotted a number of articles about stress, posted by pages I follow. There seems to be enough advice out there to help us handle the challenge, right? So why is it still a hot topic, despite all that’s written and said about it? Is it the case that we still wait for more support or expect to be given a one simple solution? Almost as if we were saying – I need more, tell me how, fix me, do it now and I will remove stress from my life forever.
What we need
The reality is that all we need is already out there. If I come across so much valuable information on stress, new research, new discoveries, ideas, tips and advice – you can too. This post therefore is not going to be about yet more advice, that’s already available.
I’m posing a question to you – Dear Reader – what do you do with what’s already available out there? Do you just read about effective stress management, observe others use strategies or do you, yourself, take specific actions?
Stress – The source and the impact
The nutritional coach I know tends to say that it doesn’t matter what you eat and how much you exercise. None of our healthy habits will ever have a lasting positive impact on our lives until and unless we do something about the level of stress we experience every day. Excessive, prolonged stress can have such a strong, damaging impact on our health and well being, that it can override any positive effects of all our other efforts. Isn’t it really the time to do something about it?
The Coaching Approach
Your Topic and Your Goal
If we were to truly tackle this as a challenge and make it a coaching topic – what would you specifically want to work on? Imagine meeting with a coach (me perhaps 🙂 ) to work on your levels of stress – I would probably reframe it and ask you – “What do you want to walk away with?; What do you want to have instead of stress in your life?; Specifically what positive outcomes do you want to achieve?”
What would you say? – pause and think about it for a minute – What do you want?
A strategy for stress can be well thought-out and developed – think about your current situation and why it would be so beneficial for you to work on this topic? What could you possibly gain? It could be anything from more time for yourself to a proper sleep, improved relationships to a new work opportunity for promotion. Imagine the true positive impact that less stress could have on all areas of your life. What does your life look like when this outcome is achieved? Can you see it clearly?
Isn’t it worth some time right now to explore?
From there, continue explorations.
What is your current situation? Look at every area of your life, at every corner. How does stress impact you right now and how do you try to keep it under control? What is the physical impact on your health, what thoughts does it generate etc? Be brave. Ask your relatives, colleagues, friends to describe interactions with you every day. An open question could work: How would you describe my ability to deal with and manage stress in my daily life? This could be interesting and their observations truly valuable.
What are your current ways of dealing with stress?
What works and what definitely doesn’t?
There are so many ways in which you can invite more positivity and relaxation into your life. There are so many ways in which you could try and manage the rush and busyness of your everyday. What have you tried so far and what are you still open to trying?
This assessment is the ground work for a more effective strategy going forward. Do it properly. Gather as much data, facts and evidence as you can. Take time to identify the details of your current situation. From there you’ll be making much better informed decisions about way forward.
… are yours only. They can’t be someone else’s solutions for you because nobody understands your situation, as well as you do. However whatever you’ve learnt so far about stress management could be worth a try. When looking for your personal stress management strategy examine different options.
I would probably ask you: So to achieve your goal with this topic, what are all the different ways you could approach this? What else could you do?
List all the possibilities that you can choose from. Be creative, open-minded and brave.
Create a Strategy
Choose your way forward. Create a strategy by applying your chosen options to better manage stress in your life. Redesign the way you approach your everyday. Be specific: What is your day going to look like with this new strategy in place? What changes will you introduce and how will you benefit? What are your next steps and key actions? How can you make this new approach your normal way of operating?
So this could be our step by step coaching approach to less stress and more success. Are you ready to break up with your stress habit and finally start managing it better? Let it go as a comfortable excuse-cushion that you fall back on every time things get on top of you, and take true responsibility for the life you live. Doesn’t it sound amazing?
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