"When you come to the edge of all that you know, you must believe in one of two things: there will be earth upon which to stand, or you will be given wings." Anonymous
Learn to Trust Yourself: Coping With Uncertainty
Do you doubt that you can
survive whatever might come when considering a new venture or life change? You
are stronger and more resilient than you were taught to believe. Few
know how to deal with fear of failure and rejection. As children, we see
criticism as equivalent to personal rejection of who we think we are. We learn
to shrink our wonderful dreams into milder versions, or relegate them to
fantasy. If the rejection was frequent, we learn to suppress our enthusiasm
lest we reveal our flaws.
Confidence is the Result--Not the Inspiration--of New Ventures
It’s natural to feel
hesitation when considering moving toward anything new. We’ve all been
victimized by the grand illusion that it’s necessary to feel confident of
success before trying something new. Most of us pretend to have more trust in
others and confidence in ourselves than we actually feel. We were fooled by how
well others could act assured even with insecurity.
Build Confidence By Saying YES!
There is a formula to increase your confidence. It begins with the willingness to leap into a new idea knowing you could fail. The slim thread that keeps you safe is the belief that you will survive the failure and still be lovable. You are much bigger than any idea you will promote. All you need is the courage to commit, and take the first step toward your dream.
Manage the Stress Response to Increase Your Courage
The physical reaction to
possible danger has been demonized as unhealthy stress. Far from being
unhealthy, this magical reaction is essential to survival. The chemistry that
results when facing the unknown arises instantly and is designed to be
metabolized within a few hours.
A New Approach to Handling the Unknown
Imagine a pencil lying on
a blank sheet of paper. There is no chance of breaking or wearing out unless it
is picked up. The right amount of pressure will produce the lines and shading
to produce a picture or the start of a poem. However, the more the pencil is
used, the more it needs to be sharpened. Too much pressure will break off the
point, and not keeping it sharpened will wear it down to uselessness. Our
body/mind needs this same care.
In this fast paced world,
you can’t possibly register each blip on your stress meter. You often don’t
even know you are holding tension until someone suggests you take a deep
Congratulations! You have just metabolized a good bit of accumulated stress that you were probably barely aware of, yet was doing real damage in your body.
Accumulated Versus Acute Stress
Most studies about stress
focus on problems created by accumulated stress, which is better defined as
“strain.” Epinephrine and other adrenal-based chemicals are powerful and
positive when used and then released. Constant tension and worry create a toxic
soup where the body cannot recover and heal. Emotional and physical ailments
develop over months and years due to believing we are unable to cope with
perceived demands for performance.
Find and Acknowledge Your Unique Stress Response
Ask yourself, “On a scale
of 1 to 12, how stressed/tense am I right now?” How stressed do you feel when
you hear phone ring? Do you automatically drop everything and run for it? Can
you imagine the benefits of taking two calming breaths and relaxing your
physical armor when hearing it ring?
What is Your Stress Style? – A Self-Discovery Quiz
Recall a recent situation when you thought someone was critical or rejecting you. Examples: unfair blame, perceived disrespect, not keeping promises. Use a scale of 0 (Not me!) to 5 (Are you reading my journal?) to reflect how descriptive each is of your response. Scoring is at the end.
____ I get angry so fast, I can’t control it. I feel like breaking something or hitting someone.
____ My heart instantly hardens against someone who hurts me. I feel cold, unloving.
____ My whole body gets hot. I want to scream, even if I control it.
____ I’m out of here! I might even leap from a moving car if it’s bad enough.
____ I want to just walk away. I think never want to see them again.
____ I can’t stop talking. My mind is going a million miles an hour.
____ My mind is a blank. I can’t think of a thing to say.
____ I feel punched in the stomach, unable to move or talk.
____ My heart is beating fast, my mouth is dry. Sometimes I feel like a robot.
____ I can’t remember what is said when people are angry. Sometimes I even get woozy.
____ My body feels like Jell-o. My knees buckle or I can’t stand up.
____ I just wait until the bad part stops, then act like nothing has happened.
Scoring: Add up your scores in each of the four categories. Rank your response from most common to least frequent for you presently. Notice how it may have changed from your childhood pattern, and again as a younger adult. How would you like it to flow?
How Do You Currently Reduce Acute and Accumulated Stress?
Write down brief answers. This will increase your motivation to adopt healthier responses.
1. When you tell yourself (or others) how stressed you are, how do you describe it? Be specific as to physical, emotional, spiritual, sexual, creative, mental measurements.
2. What do you believe would help you de-stress daily? What do you actually do?
3. Is there a particular stress reducing activity you would like to do/explore? What is stopping you?
4. How BAD does it have to get before you admit you can’t handle the tension and pressure?
5. What do you fear will be the cost if you don’t adopt a new attitude and set of behaviors?
The Power of Addressing Acute Stress Immediately
There is an important reason to notice and reduce the acute tension and stress. If it is noticed and then released, the tension and momentary hyper-vigilance will serve their purpose, but not accumulate toxins in your body. When you do not relax, the level of “normal” physical tension keeps rising, exhausting the adrenals and telling the brain you are in danger 24/7.
How To Turn Acute Stress Response Off Before It Accumulates and BEcomes Strain
The following techniques give you instant methods to reduce acute stress the moment that you no longer need it. When you believe can do something about the response, you will be able to acknowledge the tension and pressures that are driving you. Denial isn’t always your friend.
1. Locate and Assess Your Stress Response Throughout the Day
2. Skills That Turn the Stress Response Off in Three Minutes or Less
1. The Instant Calming Sequence (from The Other 90% by Robert Cooper)
2. Warm Your Heart (from Heart Math by Childre, Martin, & Beech)
1. Close your eyes or softly focus on a pattern or pleasant object.
2. Recall a pleasant memory (petting your dog/cat, a pretty scene, a wonderful taste).
3. Direct your breath to the mid point of your chest.
4. Focus on your heart and imagine you can breathe in a way that involves the heart, such as breathing with your heart, through your heart, or around your heart.
5. As you continue breathing with your heart, notice the warmth being generated.
6. Expand and direct this warmth to any area of your body/mind that needs calming.
Developing Faith in a Positive Future
Uncertainty is the
underlying principle in any new situation. If you believe things will work out,
you’ll be more relaxed going into each of life’s experience. Practice believing
the surgery will be successful, that you’ll definitely find a much better job
after being laid off, and your kid will return home in good shape. You have the
power to make your life far less stressful.
1. Choose to trust. Stress is a complex of
many powerful feelings. Repressing or denying them increases accumulations of stress chemicals. You can reduce negative effects of
stress more quickly by allowing the feelings to wash over you.
2. Envision a desirable future. What would the next six months be like if you could design it? What would the life you truly want look, feel, sound, and taste like? What would you be willing to give up to have it? What habits or behaviors are you willing to change to bring about this wonderful difference? You will increase self-confidence and focus with such visualizations, and reduce the power that tension and stress have when you deny your dreams.
3. Turn your negatives into positive goals with small, distinct steps. Those who have clear goals experience less stress than those who feel entrenched in day-to-day responsibility.
Control Stress By Remembering That You Are Not Stuck
Within each of us is the
dream of a remarkable life. Your experiences are limited only by the meaning
you bring to them. If you have made a series of choices that stop you from
feeling fully alive, it is your responsibility to question each one and make a
vital recommitment or a careful reconsideration.