April is stress awareness month
What levels of stress are you experiencing now?
April is stress awareness month. So how stressed do you think you are, if at all stressed?
Stress is a very subjective subject and is interpreted very differently by different people. However, research indicates that stress is a very real entity and can have a huge negative impact on the lives of many people.
Common symptoms of stress can include any of the following:
Sweaty hands, anxiety, difficulty breathing, rapid speech, frequent blushing, dry mouth, social withdrawal, chest pain, feeling lonely, poor sleep patterns, mood swings and weight gain or weight loss.
Causes of stress vary but can include:
Family issues, moving house, losing a job, high workloads, illness, having little control of current circumstances, having overwhelming responsibilities or big changes in your life.
This month I thought I would add a story I wrote a few years ago when I was doing my NLP Training. The last task of the training was to write a story which was an analogy of a behaviour depicted in my life at the time.
This is the story:
A Tale of Oscar the Violin
Oscar was a violin. Not any old violin but a very special magic violin. He would jump out of his case at night with his bow and dance around the room playing beautiful music because during the day as he was hardly ever taken out of his black case and played during the day.
One day he found himself in a music shop with a “for sale” sign on his case. His owner had disowned him and he now lay in the case in the shop feeling lonely and abandoned.
When people came to look at him he noticed other second hand musical instruments around the shop for sale. This made him feel a little less lonely.
At night the instruments started to come alive. The bows jumped out of their cases and started to pull their bows across the strings creating lovely sounds. The wind instruments would dance around whistling with lovely sounds and the brass instruments would start to boom out their music.
Oscar wanted to join in with the other instruments but was too afraid as he lacked the confidence to play with other stringed instruments.
A week after being in the shop Oscar was bought by a young girl. She took him home and started to learn to play him but she as she was a beginner she was unable to produce very good sounds. He was very unimpressed with the sounds she was making. However, she practised every day and the sound began to improve.
After a year of practising the girl joined a group of inexperienced musicians who were playing out of time and out of tune. This made Oscar feel very uncomfortable because all he wanted to do was to make beautiful sounds.
One weekend the musicians met up for a musical weekend to practise music which would be performed to their families. During the meal breaks the instruments would come alive and start to play and dance across the room. Oscar was, again, too afraid to join in as he was worried of being rejected.
By the end of the weekend the musicians had become proficient at playing in time and in tune. They learnt to play so well that Oscar began to feel brave enough to join in playing and dancing with the other instruments during meal times. His confidence increased and he started to enjoy his interaction with the other instruments.
One day his owner was asked to play a solo. She was offered the chance to perform in a big concert hall with a large orchestra. The music was so magical that the audience became entranced by it.
At the end of the performance there was rapturous applause and Oscar was delighted with the sounds created from his instrument.
After the performance Oscar was left in the concert hall along with all the other instruments that had been playing. They were so impressed with the tone and melodies that came from him and they, too, applauded him for the beautiful music that his instrument had produced.
This encouraged Oscar to make friends with all the other instruments and helped him to become more confident in his ability to mix with all the instruments in the orchestra.
From that day forwards he came to love the company of the other instruments, loved being played and became really enthusiastic about being played and playing with his co-instruments.
How do I control my stress levels?
In order to try to control your stress there are certain actions you can take such as:
- Identifying the triggers of your stress
- Meeting with friends to talk about your stress
- Increasing levels of exercise
- Cutting down on alcohol and cigarettes
- Taking time out for yourself
- Taking up a new interest
- Volunteering your time to help others
- Learning yoga or mindfulness
"What can I do to reduce my stress levels?
Doing just one of the above activities may help reduce your stress levels. If taking action feels scary just remember that you are not alone. However, being confident enough to make just one change to your life can make a massive change to the way you think in the future.
If you would like help to reduce your stress levels then health and wellness coaching can also help you to change your behaviour and provide you with a new freedom to think and do what you want to do with your life. How liberating would that be?!!!!!
This blog post was written by Charlotte Cheetham Lifeinsights coach
Charlotte's background is in nursing and occupational health.
She has helped many people to develop more clarity, confidence and freedom in their life using life coaching tools.
Charlotte trained to be a coach and NLP Master Practitioner so she could help as many people as possible, develop themselves and look forward to a brighter future.