Why trying to eliminate stress won't always work
Updated: Jul 10, 2019
What I need to firstly do is break down how anxiety manifested into existence in my life.
I spent eighteen years of my life living with anxiety. I didn't know it, but I did.
I called it various things such as eating disorders, personality traits, digestive issues, fear and/or life. Not once did I acknowledge I was stressed or that I had anxiety.
Anxiety for me was interesting. I never knew that there was something wrong until it was completely staring me in the face.
I thought it was who I was. A highly strung, completely structured, somewhat controlling machine. I thought that's how I was made. Not once, did I see myself rigid with fear.
At 25, everything changed. I went from being super productive and an efficient machine, functioning with only 4 - 6 hours of sleep a night, exercising six days a week and routinely working twelve plus hours.
To not being able to get out of bed. My digestive system was in shambles. My joints swelled. My face became riddled with cold sores.
It was pretty fair to say I was miserable.
So what was the logical next step? Spend thousands of dollars looking for that “magic solution” of course. Solely focusing on the physical symptoms. Screw the mental, I can deal that that later. I wanted that pill, that diagnosis, that miracle that would answer all my questions.
What I was able to do was look at my life and find the excuses on why I stressed or anxious. Whether it was work or my health issues. Stress and anxiety seemed like a background problem. I thought that once I had dealt with all the things causing me stress in that moment then I would be fine.
It was a great idea. However, it didn't work. Getting rid of the reasons you think are the cause of your stress and anxiety is a bandaid solution.
What I've noticed about myself and the people I work with, there is always an excuse to be stressed or anxious.
Whether it's that dead line at work. The kids. Not having enough time. Health issues. Weddings. Funerals.
There will always be moments. It's how you cope with those moments.
Now back to my story.
So what was my "uh huh moment?" What was my moment in time where I threw in the towel of my ridiculous way of thinking?
This moment right here. This was the moment that I changed the way I looked at stress and anxiety.
Yeah, I've experienced cold sores, digestive health issues, shingles, swollen joints, however, nothing compared that morning.
This picture was the moment where I realised, I HAD to Get My Sh*t Together.
Not because I didn't want to look like Shireen Baratheon. No, because I owed it to myself to never feel like I couldn't leave my house because of stress and anxiety.
That picture was taken when I was in my late twenties. This was post eating disorders but right in the middle of severe digestive health issues. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. Remember when I said that I didn't deal with stress and anxiety until it was staring me in the face? Yeah, not only was stress and anxiety staring me in the face, I was actually wearing it ON my face.
After years of denying the effects that stress and anxiety had on my body, I made learning about it my sole focus.
I realised that the way I perceived work, life, relationships, success, exercise and hardship was completely in the wrong light.
My thought process on nearly every aspect of my life was very skewed. I had a very "all or nothing" mentality. Having that mentality will lead to stress. Trust me. Not only did I learn that myself, but now I'm seeing the same patterns in my clients.
I pushed myself beyond the brink and I burnt out.
So I spent the next few years developing and refining techniques to help break the way I perceived things. I found ways to shatter the consistent cycle of stress and anxiety.
The tools and techniques I put in place changed everything in my life.
Was it easy? No! I had call myself out all the time.
It took time and patience (which I also painfully learnt..).
Has been worth it? Absolutely.
I'm glad I spent those years being uncomfortable and challenging my thought process.
I meet a lot of people now who are looking for that magic solution. They come to me and want me to undo all their 10, 20, 30 years of stress and anxiety in one session. I have to burst their bubble every time. It simply doesn't work like that. You have spend however many years getting you to where you are now, one hour won't be able to undo all of that.
If there was a quick solution trust me, I would have found it.
Do I still have moments? Yes, yes I do. However, I have the coping mechanisms to not let those moments own me.
The biggest lesson I learnt? Eliminating stress won't work. It's a lovely idea, however it's just not practical. Life doesn't work in those terms. Seriously, the minute you have it all together, something usually comes along and throws a spanner in the works. However, if you have the coping mechanisms in place, those stressors don't have to throw you completely out.
What I also learnt was anxiety doesn't have to be a part of every day. Anxiety is NOT a part of who I am, it was simply something happening to me.
This was my experience and I know that there are so many people out there struggling with the same problems.
This is what has led me to give back. I hated feeling alone and misunderstood. I felt like no one could possibly understand what I was going through. So that's why I'm doing what I'm doing.
For more information head on over to my website.
Want to book me for a corporate talk/seminar send me and inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org
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