Highly-motivated people have a strong tendency to push themselves to the point of burnout — it makes sense that they would. These individuals aren’t only setting deadlines for goals—they’re going to extraordinary lengths to meet them. However, deadlines aren’t always met easily: life happens, obstacles pop up, and, inevitably, stress creeps in.
“It doesn’t matter how I feel; the job has to get done.”
The deadline-driven professional might say this, and, as predicted, plow through the work, thinking that any other method will only cause delay and more anxiety, possibly resulting in them missing their deadline altogether. Often when we try to plow through these feelings and “get the job done,” the result is not only burnout but depression or prolonged anxiety, along with higher risk of stress-related diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc.
However, understanding that stress hormones affect our physical ability to work through problems motivates us to deal with the root of the anxiety, first. This is less about solving the dilemma at hand, but instead about identifying what exactly is causing the stress. In other words, it’s an opportunity to invite a third-party mediator, so to speak, within your mind—an “advisor.”
Important Questions to Ask:
This neutral advisor can pose the following vital questions:
- How, precisely, is this situation causing me stress?”
- What is within my control?
- What is not within my control?
- If the forces beyond my control overtake this situation, what is the worst possible outcome? Is it that bad?
- Can I handle that worst possible outcome?
Usually, stress begins to loosen its grip on the body, and we can ask the most crucial question: “What’s the most powerful action I can take to create the best possible outcome in this situation?”
The body expresses everything that is registered by the mind.
The thing is: the body expresses everything that is registered by the mind. High-stress situations put the brain on high alert; subsequently, flooding the body with stress hormones that affect one’s ability to process thoughts.
Proactively dealing with these physical symptoms allows the solution to come swiftly and efficiently, as opposed to when we try to force our way through a clouded mind.
Stress is a daily occurrence for many hard-working people. You can feel it in your body. It’s essential to pay attention to physical symptoms and to notice tension or aches in the body, mood, as well as appetite changes.
It is essential, in these moments, to ask questions like: “Why do my muscles hurt? What happened to my mood? What can I do to improve this?” (Often, stretching and snacking can be immediately helpful.)
Additionally, we all have times of the day in which we are most productive. Getting to know your body is the only way to take advantage of situations that bring you energy and avoid those that deplete you.
Stay in Touch with the Body
In conclusion, physical symptoms of stress are an excellent indicator that it’s time to ask questions and identify their source. Handling these physical symptoms is an important aspect of taking care of ourselves, mitigating adverse effects, and increasing energy and clarity; — essentially avoiding burnout altogether.
If you’ve found this article helpful, I highly recommend that you download my 5 Tips for Mastery Under Pressure, which cover the topics of focus, relaxation, dealing with negative self-talk, how to visualize, and how to transform and channel fear.