What’s working well in coaching: gaining control over the things that make you stressed

I thought I would take a short pause from encouraging you to make the most of your technology, to talk about Stress Management.

Stress can impact on everyone and can be something that can use up a lot of your concentration, especially if you are also gifted with Neuro Diversity i.e. dyslexia or dyspraxia.

The festive season can be a source of stress for people. There’s a lot to do and organise, between social events and Christmas parties and present buying, you could begin to see Christmas as a project.

My clients often find themselves consumed by stress and therefore not able to function at their best.  When someone has numerous things are making them stressed and can’t find a solution to improve the situation i.e. taking a walk or changing their diet, we start off by making a list of all the things that are causing them to feel stressed.

We usually get an A4 piece of paper and make a mind map. This gets everything out and helps you to see any underlying themes or connections between the things are not working well.

For example, one client felt unable to relax and home, due to work on the property to be completed by her ex-husband. The map helped to identify different types of things that were left to be done and who could do them. These things were causing the client so much pressure that she felt unable to concentrate and be effective at work.

The next thing to do is to begin to create categories of each thing and this can be done nicely with different coloured post it notes.

Category headings could be:

  1. I can take action to change this now i.e. I can ask my friends to help me clear out my bedroom.
  2. I can work on changing my perception of this e.g. Christmas is thankfully only once a year.
  3. I have little direct influence in this situation it i.e. I can’t immediately change the way my boss communicates with me

When you have three headings, it’s time to have a look at each thing on the map and decide which category they fall into. Clients are consistently and constantly delighted that there is actually very little that falls into the third heading.

Naturally, as you begin to think about each thing, solutions will pop up. Perhaps you can note them on a post-it note or create a new mind map of solutions.

Stop and think. Come back to your categories and solutions and decide which would make you feel most calm.

Prioritise the tasks accordingly and take action as soon as possible i.e. if you are struggling to buy Christmas presents, drop your boss in email and ask them what options are available to you i.e. can you work from home tomorrow, do your shopping and make up the time in the evening?

Something that people often forget to do when they feel stressed is to take a break. Research shows that people are more productive when they take a break.

Why not take a short break to get up and move and get a drink?