What is too much stress?
It is different for different people. It also expresses itself in different ways for all of us.
Stress may show itself by way of a headache, sleep difficulties, irritability, nausea, moodiness. It may lead to poor eating habits, alcohol consumption or worse.
Stress at work may create additional stress in other aspects of what we do. For example, our friendships and relationships may be challenged. Likewise, stress in our families may result in poor work habits, and more stress.
So, if one aspect of life stress feeds another, it stands to reason that relief in one area lessons the stress in other areas of life, but where do we start?
I have been mentoring someone of late who has a range of issues unfolding in their life. These involve health, children, siblings, work and finance. The full deck.
We worked together to isolate each stress generator and then to identify the correlations between each. What was feeding what?
For example, is there one area of their world that if resolved, would significantly relieve the stress in another? If there is, that becomes an obvious matter to prioritise for action.
It turns out there was one key area and this was family related. We worked through this, broke it down and self-realised what he had been ‘stressing’ about was irrelevant. We talked through what he was doing and feeling at age 18, the same age as his son, and how his parents addressed it.
He self-identified there was actually no problem and all the worry of the last 8 months was all about nothing.
We so often cannot see the wood for the trees. We become so intoxicated by the whole picture, we let the single biggest matter continue unabated and snow ball through every other aspect of our life. Consequently, we lose the ability to identify and then deal with what is the root cause of the problem, which in this case was not a problem at all; it was simply an 18 year old becoming more independent.
Just as one negative emotion feeds other negative emotion, so does a positive feed a positive.
We can choose our path, and finding someone to help us find the map, may well be the best, most positive thing we do. It is then up to us to read, and follow the map.
As for the impact of anxiety versus stress, well that is another topic altogether.