In health, it is often evident that stress is a killer. More people are destroyed by stress than just about everything and anything else. Even if you think you handle stress well, it might be killing you nonetheless. First, and anatomy/physiology lesson that is simple at its greatest, and childlike simple at its least. In other words, simple.
Your brain is the control center of everything in the body. Some texts simply put it as “The nervous system, controls everything.” That is why you might catch a glimpse of me a little excited now and again for the potential to “turn it on”. When you consider the incredible demand on a nervous system, mostly a brain; in keeping homeostasis in the human body, the impact of stress becomes slightly more clear.
My definition of “Stress – the destructive forces created by a host of biological and chemical reactions to pressures that are felt via emotion, not through physical pressure.”
Emotional, which means these are not physical in existence. If I tell you that you are required to accomplish four book reports, three of which will require you to stand in front of a group of 1,000 people and explain your position, and you will need to do this within the next 7 days, and you have not yet read any of these four books, and oh yeah… you don’t get a pass from anything else that is required of your normal life during this time. Lastly, I am not only your boss in this scenario, I am your father and your landlord, and your teacher. In other words, you need to listen to me.
Review the above and see if there is any physical stress exerted on you other than the lack of sleep you are going to get. It is emotional, but because of the power of emotion, it is as real as anything you have veer felt physically. Why? Because that brain that is perceiving all of this stress is the guy in charge of all else. Hormonal changes are immediate, posture alone can begin to increase cortisol and decrease testosterone almost immediately when you adopt a weak/meek… fearful or stressed posture. Watch the talk to understand more >>
So my point in all of this is to first understand how real stress is, once we have that point down, stop blaming the stress on somebody else. And get to the topic on hand, which is to know your strengths.
In my stress workshops I often point out that the source of stress is expectation. You have an expectation, that expectation isn’t met, and you become stressed. If you expect that your week is going to go like the one I listed above, then you won’t be stressed by it. OK, go ahead and argue… as you say “I do expect that out of my job, and it stresses me every week.” Yes. Sure, but before you took that job, you didn’t expect that. At some point in time, your expectation was let down, and your dream was ruined.
So I say again. Know your strengths. As you become more in tune with your strengths and weaknesses for that matter, you become better at understanding what your hopes should be. I figured out a while back that I have a few critical strengths that I need to try to play into more often, and a few weaknesses that I need to avoid. What I mean by that, is don’t put myself in positions to have expectations of myself that would somehow LEAN on my weakness.
I am NOT a details guy.
However, I like to lead off into an adventure. I like to fly in the face of what everyone is doing. I challenge what is accepted, and I thrive in the challenge. But most important, I am excessively hopeful and optimistic. Today when my pastor described a commandment from Christ as “Don’t Worry”, all I heard inside my head was “Eric, you got this.” And its true, I got this.
7 Offices (5 and two satellites), and suddenly two were supporting the other 5. Meanwhile an IRS audit that looked more like a witch hunt, following a commitment to make investors happy, while keeping employees happy. That was the 18 month period that taught me, optimism and hope will always quell the storm. You can’t fake optimism and hope though. Let me repeat that.
You cannot FAKE optimism and hope. You either re-program yourself to make that choice, or you actually implode with stress while the outside looks all fine and shiny. BS to the outside, the inside is the only thing that should be let to the outside. Be real and authentic, but dig in to know your strengths.
If you are always worried about something, then you are not living in your strengths. You are living in your weakness, and that is not divinely imparted nor directed. Get to know your strengths, and focus on them. I have come to realize that developing my weaknesses would be futile, but to fill in around them with assistance and help, is wise. To work on my strengths, to grow them and make them stronger… that is a path to wellness, physical and emotional.
I hope you were able to connect all the dots and gain wisdom from today. Be well and be blessed! – Dr. E