How should we combat the kind of stress that is increasingly influencing all of us? That is, badly organised workplaces, i.e. as poor leadership and management, a never-ending flow of information and society's high expectations.
You might think that being harsh on yourself will give you a nudge in the right direction, but this really isn't true. You wouldn't ask your best friend why she was so dreadful at something, it wouldn't help her. And it doesn't help you either.
Alexander Technique shows that it's our smart, conscious capacity that allows us to prevent and re-route tricky responses before they manifest and it's this that clinches the deal for me, in redefining stress.
Being overwhelmed simply means you are being temporarily bombarded by 'too' many emotions and thoughts all at the same time. It doesn't mean you are weak, incompetent, stupid, unable to cope, or a personal failure. It means you are human.
Anxiety affects different people in different ways, but some of the most common symptoms are: a dry mouth, pounding heart, feeling breathless, fatigue or difficulty sleeping, dizziness and headaches, lack of concentration, needing the toilet frequently, constant worrying, irritability, and nausea.
One in four people worldwide are affected by mental disorders; and one in two people worldwide are poor. Often these are the same people.
Do you meditate? This question seems to be all the rage in popular media, and it is rapidly becoming a point of prestige among the high earning, high performing, corporate tech crowd. I have nothing against mediation - I do it regularly. However, I still think that "do you meditate?" is not the most helpful question.
We spend eight hours a day sitting at our desks. Studies have shown that long periods of inactivity can make us feel tired and apathetic. But physical activity can increase the hormone epinephrine, which gets blood pumping faster.
When stress starts to have a physical impact on my health and my life, the thing that turns it around, is exercise. When the spots, IBS symptoms, restless sleep, picked fingers and frequent illness kick in, it's not medicine I need or a gluten free detox, it's a regular fitness pickup.
This mind is always making noise - more so when we are not talking. To develop silence of the mind, initially you need a quiet place. Then listen to your mind without expressing any opinion to confuse the matter.
Naturally and completely rationally (ha) I was afraid of having a panic attack on my wedding day. My main concern was that once I was in that church, I couldn't leave until I was married. It was that mental feeling of being trapped.
Having too much stress in your life, will make you anxious, irritable and unproductive. It will affect your relationship with yourself, your performance at work, your long term physical and emotional health and your quality of your life.
Our internal and external worlds are intrinsically linked. Internally, when we have negative, fear-based or busy thinking it accumulates and manifests as thought clutter, clogging up the flow of energy in every aspect of our lives.
What is important is that I keep reinforcing the message that she can do anything she sets her mind to. I sent her on pack holiday with a letter telling her how brave she was and that, having faced this challenge, the next one would be that little bit easier. I also encouraged her to let her little light shine - something we have previously discussed - and told her that, as long as she did this, she would be just fine. It is a message we should be giving all children.
With flexibility, work time can spill over into non-work time, especially when a deadline needs to be met or something unexpected comes up. This 'emergency time' is further facilitated by mobile technologies that allow employers to contact employees at any time.
The discussion I learnt the most about digital stress from last week was with a leadership coach who told me that by avoiding talking about the problem of digital stress we are only making it bigger. Many managers never take the time to talk about what makes us feel stressed at work. If you never point out the weaknesses it's hard to do anything about them.