How Stress Saps Your Energy
Stress is exhausting. It attacks us physically, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually and even on a cellular level.
Some of the ways stress appears to us is as fear, anxiety, depression, uncertainty and "overwhelm." It can appear in a short bursts that are over in a few minutes or days; such as what happens during an argument or an upset.
It can also have a much longer tail that can last for weeks, months or even years. Stressors that fall into this category could be things like long term financial struggles, troubling family situation, intractable problems, serious health conditions or even a pandemic.
Regardless of the type of stress you may be experiencing any time one or more stressor appears, and they normally don’t travel alone, the energy suck begins happening right away. Even though you may sense a surge of adrenaline when an immediate stressor appears there is almost always an energy hang-over that follows.
But what happens with the long tail stressors is normally worse, more dangerous and far more exhausting.
Where the Sap Starts
When faced with either short or long-term stressors we first expend energy by immediately trying to re-establish our equilibrium. Then we must continue to expend that energy as long as the stressor is still present, and its gravitational pull is working against us.
In addition, while that energy is being expended, we must then expend more energy developing strategies, designing plans and mobilizing the resources required to address, reverse and overcome the situation(s) causing the stress.
Then, if you are in any kind of leadership position, you must find a way to garner the extra energy needed to lead your team through the same downward spiral you maneuvered your way through. And you must show up every day with the ability to maintain that level of support.
And all of this is just scratching the surface.
Stopping the Sap
The first step in reversing any reaction or behavior is realizing what is happening. The second step is gaining an understanding of why it is happening.
The third step is understanding the impact that both the best and worst case scenarios would have on you if either played out. (Within step three is where you are able to get real with what is at stake and in that lies the opportunity to find your purpose.)
This sets the stage for the fourth step; which is about making a choice. That choice is to find a way to reframe the issue that is causing the stress in a way that will work to give you energy instead of sapping it.
More on that in a moment.
A Real Life Example
This 4 step process was really put to the test during my stage 4 cancer experience from a few years ago. In that process I made two choices. (Yes, you can make more than one choice.) The result of those choices completely changed my stress levels during the most stressful situation I had encountered to that point in my life to the point where I was empowered for the entire 8 month journey.
So, in step one, I confirmed my assumption that I had cancer by being officially diagnosed. (My daughter and I had both intuited it months before the diagnosis.)
For step two, I began studying everything I could on the causes of the cancer I had and the various treatments for it. I explored every option ranging from going fully holistic to completely traditional. I took an extensive online course on holistic healings for cancer and I sought the council of a brilliant integrated holistic oncologist who was a Cherokee medicine woman. Eventually I settled upon a hybrid approach that proved very successful.
Step three was easy.
Step four required me first to find a way to reframe stage 4 cancer to something that would work for me.
So, I made the choice to reframe the issue from “I may be dying of cancer.” to “I am being gifted with an opportunity to learn unbelievable life lessons that would be impossible to get otherwise. And to be an example to my children on how to get through anything.”
In other words, I went from “Why is this happening?” to “What class am I in?”
Since then I have used that simple question to reframe every stressful situation I have faced since. And it gives me purpose every time. Then, with that purpose, comes an inflow of energy that is so needed to beat back the stress and to win.
Which brings us to the other choice I made. I decided to make the choice to believe to the point of knowing, that no matter what I had to go through, including the disappointments, the setbacks and the treatments all of it would be worth it because at the end… I win.
That “I Win” statement then activated my determination, my sense of empowerment and gave me the powerful visualization of the excitement I would feel when I finally beat the beast.
The combination of reframing the situation from a curse to a class and making the declaration that I win. And the “I win” mantra, which I not only repeated but actually visualized and BELIEVED became the source of the energy I needed to go.
So when you find yourself stuck in the negative and oppressive energy fields that come with high levels of stress be careful what side of the equation you focus upon. Because what we focus upon we feed. And what we feed grows and so does the energy it creates.
So, watch what energy field you feed. And try my formula. I have already tested it in high stakes, real world conditions and the results are in. It works.