What do Aciphex, Zantac, and a Maalox chaser all have in common?
These were the three stomach medications I found myself taking daily so that I could function. I wasn’t down on my luck, struggling to find work, or (insert your own stressful situation).
I’ve been highly successful in the workforce for over 25 years, but the way I viewed work, stress, and relationships came at a cost. I was tearing my body apart from the inside out. It’s been two years now and I can truly say that I can count on one hand how many times I’ve taken any type of stomach medications.
So how did I do it?
I participated in an intensive life and business coach training program two years ago and decided then and there that I was going to be the cause of my life instead of being at the effect of it. In order to do that, I knew I needed to constantly challenge the way I saw the world.
True vs Truth
As humans, we’re domesticated into our society starting from birth. We learn what’s right and wrong, good or evil, appropriate or not, holy or unholy, etc.
As we continue to develop and form our thoughts and beliefs, we create a lens in which we view the world. This lens allows us to see our Truth when we look through it. The problem is our truth isn’t always True and we act and respond to situations based on those past experiences — we oftentimes make irrational and emotionally charged decisions that don’t serve us well at all.
What’s Another Way of Looking at This?
This question is paramount in reducing or taking control of stress. If you really think about stress, it’s not bad. How you respond to the stimulus (trigger) that’s causing you stress is the important part to think about.
I had a situation at work a few weeks ago, where I was getting angry over the actions of someone above me in the organization. Through my lens, I felt that this individual didn’t like me and was making purposeful decisions to harm my program. To be honest, it was perfectly natural for me to feel that way based on how I viewed the situation; any rational person would do the same based on their truth.
Then I asked myself two questions:
- What’s another way of looking at this?
- What can I learn from this experience?
I immediately calmed down and was able to make a conscious decision as to how to respond. You see, making truly conscious decisions requires that we don’t base them on our intensified emotions like fear, doubt, worry, anger, or guilt.
There’s No Truth in the Future, It Hasn’t Happened Yet
This is one of the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching’s founding principles and it’s extremely important in reducing stress. Whether you’re thinking about the recent U.S. elections, the stock market, your retirement, your new job, an impact from a major decision at work, or government funding for your project — the Truth is, stressing about something that hasn’t happened yet is only harmful to you, and causes you to make less than optimal decisions.
When you’re pissed, sad, grumpy, guilty, or scared, your mind limits your available options. Just take a deep breath and open your mind to the possibility of a different outcome. Create action plans to address the situation if your truth does become true.
Ask yourself, if X does happen, how can I still benefit from the situation?
For example, I was scheduled to teach a leadership class in Saudi Arabia and was really looking forward to the trip. As the departure date got closer, several things began to go wrong: like an unexpected March snow storm which was projected to close airports, and the embassy computer system crashing, which affected my team’s visas.
I started to get disappointed and angry that I was going to miss out on this great training opportunity — and, admittedly, the cool Paris layover. I took a deep breath and reminded myself that stressing over missing out on the trip was useless because we hadn’t missed it yet. Then I created a list of all the things that I could do both for myself and business-wise if those three weeks were freed up. I also included the things I’d learned that would make future trips go easier.
Guess what? The stress melted away.
So the next time you’re bent over in pain or reaching for the giant bottle of Tums or Rolaids in your car or desk, ask yourself, “Am I at the cause of my life or at the effect of it?”
If not, what steps can I implement to take control of my thoughts and what’s another way of looking at this?
The transformation doesn’t happen overnight but it can save your life!
PS: I’m eating Jalapenos and drinking a Jack Daniels while writing this article and have no stomach pain. #kickedstress’s@ss, #nomoremeds