In this blog, our Transformative Life Coach and Therapist Laurence Knott suggests that the secret to living a stress free life comes from tapping into an understanding of how our own thinking is created rather than trying to control or manage our thinking and behaviour.
Techniques, tools and tips for reducing stress are all out there for you to go and learn and apply. A search in the book section of Amazon with the word ‘stress’ yields over 55,000 results, which suggests that there are either a huge number of ways to manage and control the experience of stress OR perhaps we are looking in the wrong place. If we are to understand how better to cope with the experience of stress it is reasonable to want to understand what causes stress. We all have our ways of dealing with stress, which work sometimes, but sometimes they don’t. Have you ever wondered why this is so? Is there maybe another variable that determines whether we experience stress?
Psychologists talk about ‘stressors’, which can commonly be external events and circumstances. But does everyone experience a level of stress because of these stressors? What are the variables that determine whether we experience something as stressful? Why do some people appear to deal with stress with ease, but others become stressed easily? How can something seemingly ‘cause’ our experience of stress one day, but a few days later, in seemingly identical circumstances, be water off a duck’s back? Do you sometimes get up in your head about stuff, then leave it alone, and a few days later, wonder what you were worrying about, as the ‘problem’ has disappeared, or never actually materialized?
As a coach I work with clients to explore what it is they believe is causing them to experience stress. We also explore how stress impacts on their day to day life and general wellbeing. High levels of stress impact on productivity and creativity in the work place, limits our enjoyment of life day to day and can result in physical and psychological ill health. Stress can also have a huge impact on the quality of our relationships with family, friends and colleagues.
As the conversation with my ‘stressed out’ clients develops I begin to introduce the idea that perhaps we have things the wrong away around about how the human mind works. Perhaps we are not at the mercy of our circumstances, perhaps the world ‘out there’ cannot actually directly cause us to feel the experience of stress.
There is a quiet revolution taking place in coaching and therapy based on the principle that ALL psychological experience is created from the Inside-Out, that is, 100% of your feelings are being generated by thought in the moment and cannot come from anything other than thought in the moment. And if our experience of stress is generated in our own thought-based perceptual reality, it is not possible for circumstances, events and people to CAUSE us to feel stressed. Yes, we have cause and effect the way round.
But the nature of the beast is that we all get caught out, no one is immune to being tricked by the subtle, and invisible, power of thought to create a perceived reality in our minds that we are at the mercy of circumstances to be able to make us feel a certain way. But there is a moment of opportunity, to ‘catch’ ourselves if you like, before this innocent misunderstanding of where experience comes from escalates into ‘stressful thinking’.
When I learnt the implications of this understanding, I experienced a transformative shift in my experience of stress. I insightfully saw that nothing outside of me had the power to cause me to feel a certain way without my own thinking being involved. And so, when certain habitual ‘triggers’ began to trick me into some stressful thinking, and I saw where my experience was coming from, I quickly and easily fell back into a clearer state of mind.
In the book Invisible Power (Manning, Charbit, Krot), the following examples of stress are identified for when we get tangled up in reaction (thinking) about things that seem out of our control:
- Events or circumstances don’t work out your way.
- Deadlines seem impossible.
- People don’t understand or cooperate.
- Family or personal issues are more than you can manage.
- Projects are not progressing and your responsibilities are increased beyond your comfort zone.
- There is not enough time for everything that needs to get done.
Does this sound familiar?
As soon as my clients have an insightful experience of the Inside-Out nature of human functioning, and that the source of stress is their own thinking, it immediately loses it power. Over time, clients begin to see that situations, circumstances, or even people that always appeared to cause them stress look very different. In turn, when we begin to see things with greater clarity, a lot of redundant thinking (or what a recent client called ‘stinkin-thinkin!’) falls away, creating the space for more resourceful thinking and behaviour. Solutions and ideas come more easily, the need to cope drops away. It really is possible to thrive, in any situation, and the secret lies in an understanding, not a strategy, technique or approach.
In my future blogs I will continue to explore the implications of the Inside Out understanding, and how it can have a transformative in all areas of your life.
Before or during your stay Laurence is available for a complimentary 30-minute coaching consultation to explore with you how a greater understanding of how the mind works can help you deal with any problems, overcome challenges and take control of your life.