Feelings of stress occur as an internal reaction to external events. In other words, it's not what's happening around you that stresses you but rather your thoughts about what's happening around you.
When you learn to observe your thoughts, remain in control, and assess the emotion experienced, you empower yourself to choose a behavioral response that is most appropriate for you.
Feelings themselves can become overwhelming when you allow them to overtake you. It's as if they take charge and you are no longer in charge of yourself. And that's because the emotion does take charge; if you let it.
The conscious mind cannot think and feel at the same time. This has huge implications. When you experience an emotion - stress, anxiety, anger, fear, disappointment, frustration, sadness, even excitement or happiness - the part of the brain at work is called the limbic system. You are not able to think clearly because this part of the brain does not lend itself to problem solving or thinking; its focus is on survival. Without engaging other parts of your brain, you react in ways that do not show the better side of you. :)
When you experience an emotion, breathe. Remain in control. Use the emotion as a message. What is it trying to communicate to you? Be curious and ask yourself a question. You will engage the prefrontal cortex, which is the part of the brain involved in decision making and social behaviors.
Use 'wonder' to guide you. Wonder about the other person and what they might be thinking or why they would do/say that. Use your empathy to step into their world and ask a question to learn more from them. Wonder about yourself and your expectations. Is there something you need to accept or let go of? Is there a boundary issue here that needs to be extended?
Once you've asked the question, then you can think clearly to choose the most appropriate actions for the impact you want to create. You increase stress and feelings of overwhelm and powerlessness when you focus your efforts on trying to fix things where you have no control. While you may not be able to control the things going on around you, you can control YOU.
Your power lies in your ability to self-manage - to manage your thoughts, your emotions, and your actions. Focusing your attention on what you can control increases feelings of personal strength and confidence.
Your partner for success,
Coach Julie ~ Nurturing Your Success