Taking Back Control from Work Related Stress
“I can’t put it off any longer. I’ve had that nagging thought in the back of my mind urging me to check my work emails all Sunday afternoon. It’s become a Sunday evening ritual in recent months, a way to help me feel more prepared for Monday morning knowing that when I get to my desk I won’t have all those unread emails staring at me. However, there are so many emails to action that a ‘quick check’ has turned into a couple of hours work. Time for bed, but those work emails are still flying round my head and it takes hours to drop off to sleep. The dread of anything waking me up in the night for fear I won’t be able to get back off to sleep is ironically making it more difficult for me to get to sleep!
It’s Monday morning and the alarm wakes me up with a start, feeling groggy and wishing I could have a few more hours sleep. Always feeling tired and lacking energy has become the norm. Then the rush starts – shower, make-up and dress whilst juggling getting the children out of bed, dressed, fed and ready for school before dropping them at childcare and driving to work. Then, a few minutes of quiet in the car, whilst I’m caught up in the inevitable rush-hour queues. My mind starts wandering again, and I realise I have been holding my breath and I’m starting to feel sick again.
Walking into work, my heart racing, not able to partake in the office small-talk as the need to ‘get that work done’ takes over. I’ve got so much to do, but no idea where to start. It is hard to achieve anything and so it seems sensible to try and do a bit of everything although it means that nothing actually gets completed – my lack of focus and constant procrastination is so frustrating.
It’s my first meeting of the day and it should be a breeze, but I’ve been worried about it. In fact I have rehearsed how this meeting is going to go at least 20 times and I always get it wrong. Sitting there, I realise my hands are shaking and that horrible feeling is coming again – it is overwhelming – hot and clammy, slightly faint, sick and panicky, sitting there fighting the instinct to run out of the room and escape. These feelings have been getting worse and I don’t know why. Where has my confidence gone? This is what all my meetings are like these days.
Looking around the room, I’m thinking ‘why can everyone else manage this and I can’t?’
This could be a story from any one of my clients who has come to see me for anxiety, but this was actually me 5 years ago! How things would have been different if I had known then what I know now as a qualified clinical hypnotherapist. Now I am the one helping people overcome it rather than living it myself.
Anxiety had slowly crept up on me and I only acted when it got to a critical point – I didn’t think I could cope anymore. Now, I am mindful of my stress levels and can do what I need to do to calm those levels down again. I am in control, it is as simple as that.
The modern world is busy and stressful, but it does not mean we have to be stressed.
It doesn’t mean that we deal with everything perfectly, or that we don’t get the odd bad day, but it does mean we wake up each morning after a good night’s sleep – free from anxiety, knowing we will be able to cope and manage whatever life throws at us.
What has helped me the most is I now know why I used to feel that way – I was in fight or flight mode all the time, focused on survival rather than living and enjoying every day. Sadly our brains don’t know the difference between being chased by a lion and difficult work meetings – it’s response is the same, stand and fight or run. And to help us do this it floods our system with our stress hormone, cortisol, which not only helps us run away faster but it also makes us feel clammy, sick, faint, struggling to think clearly – all those symptoms I was experiencing and didn’t understand why.
And this is where I now find myself helping others suffering from the build-up of stress and anxiety that crippled me just 5 years ago. My clients are so reassured when I explain to them how their brain works and why they feel the way they do. Now it’s something they understand and can take control of too.
It’s a relief for them when they realise we don’t need to focus on the past and how they got to crisis point. Using solution focused hypnotherapy means we focus on the future and how we want to be – free from anxiety, anger or depression, enjoying life and looking ahead to a positive future, feeling focused, motivated and effective.
For me, it’s a joy to be able to help others and see them take back control of their lives. So many of them say to me “I wish I’d known this stuff years ago”. I wish I had too, but perhaps if I had I wouldn’t be where I am now helping others to live fulfilling lives.
About the Author: Emma Treby is a registered clinical hypnotherapist based in Inspired to Change’s Winkleigh Devon clinic. She works with clients to enable them to be the best version of themselves. Emma also combines her love of horses with hypnotherapy to specialise in helping horse riders to overcome fear and lack of confidence or to enable them to step up their level of competing.
If you’re finding work-related stress is taking over your life it may be time to contact your nearest Inspired to Change hypnotherapist to book your FREE initial consultation. Inspired to Change Hypnotherapists are based across the UK in Peterborough, Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire, Leicestershire, Devon and Kent.
If you feel your workplace could be doing more to promote good mental health visit Mental Health In The Workplace
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