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The Truth About Stress

Have You Ever Had A Day Like This?

I woke up extra early this morning – needing at least another couple of hours of sleep! As I dragged myself out of bed that sinking sensation was back. At least the radio was in tune with me, playing a sombre song about sad endings.

It’s the day of the presentation – the final stage of a long, hard-fought sales campaign was here and boy had I worked hard!

I am just not sure I am up to it. My boss is a perfectionist and has had me reworking the slides so many times that I am no longer sure I even know what I am supposed to present. Added to which I know all his sales presentation tips were well meant but I dread presenting and his ways do not fit my style – I feel like a nervous wreck.

I haven’t been able to sleep properly for the last 4 days – every night a different nightmare has haunted me – with one consistent outcome – the client endures my awful presentation and says no! Perhaps I should start job hunting now.

Everybody in the house gives me a wide berth – I guess they haven’t yet gotten over my slight snappiness at the weekend – isn’t it about time they supported me a little more? Actually, the easiest approach is to avoid them and set off for the meeting early.

I shout a hasty good bye – thinking how quiet everyone is – why haven’t they wished me luck – don’t they care?

I dodge the puddles and squeeze my way on to an overcrowded train – everyone seems to be in a bad mood – jostling me so much I struggle to shuffle my way through the slide deck I printed – surely, one last practise will be enough?

I get off the train, my stomach is knotted and my breathing is heavy. Not for the first time I ask myself if I am I good enough. I had been hoping to run the presentation through in my head one more time and yet…… As I walk in the building …….it happens, just as it always does……..my stress levels soar and everything feels heavy and awkward – it is just like the stress of the building attaches to me so I am really dressed for stress! I attempt a cheerful hello to the receptionist and even to me it sounds like a strangled cat…….I need to slow my speech down and I haven’t even got to the main event yet……….

For many individuals this is an all too familiar scenario: stress can manifest phsyically – we sleep badly, our stomach hurts and we feel terrible all over our body. We can’t take people’s advice, however well-meant. We become rude and snappy and everything around us reflects how we feel inside – unhappy. Repetative negative thoughts go round our head and the pressure seems overwhelming.

What if I told you it didn’t have to be like that? That it was possible to prepare for a big presentation – one that mattered, and that was very “competative” and “pressured’ – and not feel like that – to feel centred, and strong – an oasis of calm in the storm.

There isn’t an instant solution: but with the clear intention to de-stress – then even small changes can have a huge effect on how you feel.

  1. Learn simple relaxation techniques so that your sleep improves – such as focusing on relaxing each muscle set from toe to head once you get into bed. These techniques take you away from the repetative negative fantasies in your head, and into the body and the here and now.
  2. Become aware of assumptions (which build fear) and look for facts to support your thinking – identify what is real! You might find that the majority of doomsday scenarios in your head are both based on fear and completely irrational – noticing this means your thoughts no longer have the power to “stress you out”.
  3. Listen to calming music such as binaural rhythm-based sounds that enable your mind to slow down and become clearer. The clearer your mind, the more stress fades away.

The important thing to remember is that while stress might be the norm for you, and if you are in the thick of it there is no way out, there is help available – you might be amazed at the transformation – events, like presentations, which used to terrify you, could become a breeze!

In 2016 Miradorus will be offering a range of tried and proven techniques, in physical and online workshops, that address the root cause of stress.