By Sonya Yeh Spencer, ITA NLP Trainer, Educator, Coach
Stress, like many emotions, can have a positive purpose. It is undesirable when it creates a negative effect on you and others. We will be learning powerful techniques to work with our emotions, to change our responses and resolve the root cause in the next few newsletters. We start the journey by gaining a high level view of where it came from.
Strong emotions such as stress and anxiety can be due to the following:
- A learned response. We have learned this emotional reaction from our parents or others in our life while we were growing up. Many people find they are reacting in the same way as their parents did, and when asked “for what purpose”, they simply can not find one.
- A conditioned response, experiencing “can’t see the wood for the trees”, or “feeling stuck as if trapped in a hamster wheel, going round and round”. This is because when the emotion was first triggered it was so strong that we did not have the time to think consciously about how we could have responded differently. The reaction became a seemingly “automatic” response. When a similar event happens again, we react the same way.
- A reaction to our self concept, esteem and deep belief about ourselves. A person might believe they are not good enough – when facing a new challenge; they start to think “I can’t do it”, or doing more than what is required to accomplish the challenge to the point that nothing can be good enough in their eyes.
- To many of us, not realising how much we should take on, is the cause. We need to understand what is within our control and what is not. Also, the consequences of what we are doing and ask “are these consequences, good or bad, I am willing to accept them?”
A person experiencing a high level of stress or anxiety can be a combination of all of the factors listed above. How can we identify which factor impact us most and do something about it? We will explore this in the next newsletter. In the mean time, ponder this:
“If there is a positive intention or purpose for every emotion, what is the highest positive intention that my emotion has for me? For what purpose does having this emotion serve me or help me do?”
As a simple tip to help you reduce stress or anxiety, imagine two gates, one shutting out all the thoughts about the future out, and another shutting all the thoughts about the past out. Now, experience the present and only pay attention to the way your breath. Do this as many times as you like and for as long as you like. You can do it sitting down and use it as a form of meditation, or while you are doing something else.