I used to write long articles, and then someone gave some feedback that it would be better to have smaller bite-sized articles, which I agreed with and began re-writing old articles (which meant I could write even more but spread it out – a double-win). Now I am in a situation where I feel that last week’s trilogy You Failed, But You’re Not A Failure! Pt I, Pt II, and Pt III left a massive door open to revisit something we have looked at before – Stress.
Hans Seyle, an expert in such matters close to 100 years ago defined stress as “the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change”. Stress isn’t good or bad, stress just is. Likewise, anxiety* levels are subjective, and the most important factor in how we behave is not the level of anxiety in our lives, but how well we are able to manage it.
The dangers of living with unmanaged stress are well-documented, and some of the biggest dangers are heart-disease, depression, headaches, muscular problems, intestinal issues, weakened immune system, chest pain, sleep problems… OK, we’ll stop there, this isn’t about causing stress and we’re not WebMD.
Why would we allow these levels of stress to control us? Well, partly, and as I said in the introduction, we’re continuing on from last week when we talked about allow others to set our goal. We allow stress because we are being set standards to meet that are never enough. Our society is set up to make us feel that whatever we are doing, it is never enough. It seems that sometimes we think the only way we can find success is through extreme, ongoing, and daily stress. But when we think of the toil we are taking on our bodies and souls, are we really on a path to success?
Here are today’s three takeaways:
1 – Stress and anxiety are not bad. The way in which we manage them determines their impact.
2 – When you think back on last week’s posts – are the goals you are trying to achieve yours?
3 – Is the stress and anxiety worth the expected outcome? They may be – again, stress and anxiety are neither good or bad. Evaluate their impact against their return.
This week we will be continuing by examining some parallels between sport psychology and “real life”. It seems only fitting that if we are going to live our lives as though we have to keep improving on personal bests, never being able to sit back and admire our goals, and constantly have to achieve more that we should apply the same principles. It may be that in sport psychology we can find some ideas on how we can improve everyday life for ourselves and others.
* References to anxiety are discussing the anxiety faced on a daily basis. This is not a discussion on anxiety disorders. If you have, or suspect you have an anxiety disorder (or any other disorder) please seek help from a licensed professional. Tips and exercises in blogs and self-help sites may help you manage your condition, but professional help is still needed. If you need help finding a therapist in your area please let me know.
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