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Workability

October 5, 2021

This is another special request newsletter on stress!  We have a lot to say on the topic, let’s get started.

Stress is caused by suppressed feelings.  That might be a radical idea for some of you, because we often perceive stress as having too many feelings.  But, in fact it is the resistance to our feelings that creates the experience most people commonly link to stress - worry, dread, overwhelm, exhaustion, strain, pressure, etc.

One solution would be to allow yourself to feel whatever is there when it is there.  We would all be much more enlightened if we could do this!  Note that we did not write, "express your feelings."  We wrote, "feel your feelings."  Easier said than done and often not something you can simply will yourself to do.  Many of us have trained for years in the "art" of suppressing, avoiding, or distracting ourselves from what we feel.  

Sometimes an easier solution and a way in, is via your thoughts.  Thoughts lead to emotions and feelings.  The thought, "I might get fired" leads to anxiety.  So, now you have a decision to make.  You can temporarily distract yourself from the anxiety with social media, food, [insert your favorite device], or you can sit with that feeling with a sense of curiosity. Take it in bite-size pieces.  Can you tolerate 1 minute of just being with your feelings and noticing them?  Likely you’ll be able to add more time as you strengthen those muscles.  A simple exercise that can be helpful is writing down your thoughts and seeing what feelings come up.  Again, with curiosity not judgment.

When we read that you wanted us to discuss stress more in these newsletters, we thought this might be a good place to start.  A lot of the advice out in the world is geared toward getting rid of stress, destressing, eliminating stress.  But, what we really need to be doing is allowing feelings.  If we fight stress with more resistance by endeavoring to eliminate it, we are missing the point.  Stress is the by-product of suppressing our feelings.  So, instead of endlessly talking about stress and its remedies, let’s turn our attention to feeling our feelings and watch what that does to our stress.  

You don’t have to feel everything all at once.  Baby steps.  Explore it with a curious mind.

To feeling more and stressing less!

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Since 1978 Workability has been helping individuals and organizations integrate who they are with what they do. Our greatest performances, relationships, and contributions are dependent on our authentic expression of who we are.

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