There is no doubt that stress and its related illnesses are wreaking havoc on modern day society. The figures are skyrocketing and make for morbid reading. Finally, people are being more open about it and readily discussing that there is a serious problem with mental health issues.
According to a study conducted by the Mental Health Foundation here are some scary figures for you.
- 65% of Britons have suffered a mental health condition (Two thirds!!!)
- More than a quarter, 26%, said they had suffered from panic attacks
- Between a third and a half, 42%, of all adult Brits had suffered from depression
- Young people (18 -34) are more likely to suffer. With a whopping 70% of 18-34’s saying they had struggled with some kind of mental health problem
- Middle age 35 -54 were not far behind, at 68%, experiencing some form of mental illness
- And the older folk are also prone to this disease too. 58% of the over 55’s were suffering or had suffered from mental illness
In all of these problems, anxiety, panic attacks, depression and even bad health (Including some cancers) are the cousins of stress in some form or another.
We do of course have counselling, therapy and popping even more pills from Big Pharma to help us deal with stress. But all of these remedies are reactive methods. It doesn’t matter how good or effective they are, the damage has already been done.
So What Causes Stress?
But for the purpose of this blog post I would like to share this with you. It is from Stephen A Lazarus, a stress expert who has studied the subject for over 30 years and who has written several papers and books on the subject.
Here is the main cause of stress according to this expert:
“Stress is a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that ‘demands exceed the personal and social resources’ the individual is able to mobilize”
I have also found that a major contributing factor of stress is not knowing how to achieve what we want. And virtually everyone wants more of something. Whether that be happiness, success in general, a thriving business or a better relationship.
In short, we have things to face in life or goals to achieve but feel we don’t have the resources to deal with them efficiently or get to our desired destination.
You Need More Than Just a Hammer
On one of the personal development workshops I conduct I ask if there is a member of the audience who can do DIY. I tell them that I have a plug that needs repairing. As I ask this I show the participants the plug and then lift onto the table a tool bag. It makes a loud clunk when it lands on the surface.
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you will treat everything like a nail.
Someone will always come up and offer to fix the plug for me. I tell them that fixing this plug is a matter of the utmost urgency and must be repaired within 2 minutes.
When they reach into the tool bag they find, to their amusement, that it only has 3 hammers in it. I goad them and encourage them to fix the plug reminding them of the time they have. They try all sorts of ways of using the hammer, but they are not allowed to break the plug.
I will remind them after each 30 seconds is up how much time they have left to increase the pressure and the artificial ‘stress’.
They cannot do it.
The Second Bag
I then offer them a second tool bag and ask them to try again. This time when they reach into the tool bag it is full of hammers, screwdrivers, a wrench, chisels and all other such DIY tools.
They search around and pull out 2 or 3 of the screwdrivers that they think will fit the plug and when they have found the right one, take the back off.
Then they use the smaller screwdriver and quickly attach the wire to the pin and put the back on. Hey presto, the plug is fixed. Everyone gives them a round of applause.
The Right Life Tool For Every Occasion
When they reach into the second bag of tools they do not grab the hammer and continue to attempt to fix the plug with that. No. They use the right tool – the best tool – to do the job in the easiest way.
People will always use the best resource – or choice – they have available to them at the time, when confronted with any situation – and that includes stressful ones
Dealing with Stress is Exactly the Same
In dealing with the everyday stresses of life we work in exactly the same way.
As a situation approaches us we delve into our life-tool bag and we pull out the one we think is the best to deal with the situation we are faced with.
What we pull out is not always the best tool to use but it will be our best tool.
It is not more counselling and pills we necessarily need to combat stress; it is better coping strategies
For example, if you were faced with a false accusation from your wife or partner (Instant stressful event), you would rummage around in your life tool box and probably pull out, I need to shout back!
If you were faced with mounting bills in your business (Stressful event), your best life tool available might be to go and spend more! Or shout at your partner when you get home.
If you had a deadline to meet from your boss and were struggling to meet it (Stressful event) your reaction and best life tool, might be to eat more junk food!
Should you be the type to lack confidence in big groups and discover you have to attend your partner’s annual dinner (Stressful event) in two weeks time, you might pull out your best way of dealing with it which could be to feign illness on the night.
In such examples these would not be the best tools to use to deal with each situation. In fact because they aren’t the best way to deal with them, these coping strategies would increase the stress.
But my point is, if they are your best tools, or your best choices, those are the ones you will use. Every. Single. Time.
Until of course, you get more tools added to your life-kit.
That’s Where Coaching Helps
A great life coach will always be seeking to help you find more choices. A good coach you see, knows that given more choices you will always use the best one you have available.
An outstanding coach will help you discover and sometimes offer you, better choices. Maybe this could be in the form of a new perspective or reframing a current perception you have of yourself.
I am NOT a Hypochondriac
I did this with one fine young lady I recently coached. She was stressed-out because she thought she was a hypochondriac. Before the coaching her words to me were, “This is ruining my life Rob and preventing me from moving forward. It is stressing me out to the max and taking over my life”
(I have deleted the expletives)
Without going into the intricacies of my coaching methods or her other unconscious beliefs and motives, we both discovered that really she was just health conscious; and considering her family health history, this was an excellent way to be!
This remarkable young woman didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when this burden was instantly lifted from her broad shoulders. I think she did both.
Continual stress can cause a myriad of problems which lead to other illnesses. Binge drinking, unhealthy eating, the use of more drugs (recreational or otherwise), outbursts of anger and so forth.
When I then asked her which of the things on her list she wanted to cover next it was amazing. She laughed at them and said they were all insignificant now. She was ready to focus on how she could get to where she wanted to be in the coming 12 months!
And that’s what stress relief can do. Other things that once seemed stressful seem to weaken themselves or completely disappear.
Teetering on the Edge of an Ugly Divorce
I once coached a lovely couple who had been suffering long term stress and they were on the brink of an ugly divorce.
After just 2 hours of life coaching (Together) they were like a couple on honeymoon. Everyone noticed too. They both were free to work towards their dreams too which I am pleased to report, they are succeeding very well. But until their mountain of stress had been removed they were completely stuck and terribly unhappy.
They are still madly in love and happy now.
I recently received some beautiful, kind and heart-melting words from them too, which was nice.
I could give you many more examples where life coaching has relieved stress. Relieve stress and people will then be able to avoid its evil relatives.
More Brits Need to Embrace Life Coaching
So be open to life coaching. A lot of us Brits still think a stiff upper lip will suffice or maybe a cup of tea. Clearly those attitudes are not working.
Coaching isn’t some form of hype, quack-therapy or puff-speak. It works. And that’s why it is growing all around the world.
If you want me to be your coach I would love to see you. Perhaps we can even share a cup of tea together. But I guarantee you I will get you the results you want and desire. I will get you being more, doing more and achieving more than you ever thought possible.
And more importantly, you will be equipped with an arsenal of life tools to confidently and successfully deal with any stressful situation that comes your way. I would never coach anyone on the achievement of anything if it wasn’t for their greater good and for those around them.
Stress can be beaten and life coaching can help!