Although I specialise in stress and resilience, among other things, I actually don’t believe in managing stress or stress management.
That’s a bit of a mind-bender for some, but this nuance in semantics is actually pretty important.
These terms presuppose we’re going to have stress and it needs to be managed, which is buying into the paradigm we are all caught in that stress is normal, it’s how life is, and you just have to learn how to live with it.
These are risky presuppositions because they keep us caught in the idea that this is just the way it is, and you have to make the best of it.
They have us accepting stress as a way of being.
And, oooh-errrr, that’s just not good.
(Besides, have you ever thought about where these terms came from in the first place? For example, I think it was around the industrial revolution we started using the term ‘downtime’ to describe our personal time. This is a word referring to machine downtime in a factory and here we are using it to describe our time away from work – as if being at work is the main thing and sometimes we’re in downtime. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?! Equally, stress management keeps us normalising and even glamourising stress (I’m just so busy and important, darling!) instead of rejecting it.) So …
It’s not about managing stress. It’s about transforming it.
I believe and have experienced first-hand – personally and with hundreds of clients – that you can change your relationship with stress and in turn transform your stress levels.
It’s about no longer feeling stressed as the norm, but as the exception.
Sure, you’re never not going to feel stressed ever again. Hell, if you have a nervous system, you have the potential to feel stressed in any moment in time. But what if it became only occasional?
I talk about the very practical nuts and bolts of how to start this transformation in my online masterclass, Be Less Stressed In Just One Day and it’s one of the juicy journeys I take clients on in coaching.
Here’s a final thought, if ‘downtime’ had another name, what would you call it?
Time for life?
Sucking the marrow out of life?
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