There are many who seek their thrills on a roller-coaster and as the inevitable plunge down into the depths of the third loop happens, the screams are those of excitement and resignation mixed up with the innate knowledge that actually this will end eventually and we will be alright. That’s about enjoyment.
How does George Osbourne get his release? Well it may be that he sheds a little tear at times of great sadness. Much has been made of the Chancellor of the Exchequer emoting at the funeral of Margaret Thatcher but tears are a welcome release and not always for the event at which we are crying. I can well remember going to watch the film Les Miserables this year when I was in the midst of a hugely stressful business change. As I sat watching this intensely sad story I cried my eyes out with a smile on my face knowing that for me, this was a welcome release. May be, and I am only speculating but may be George’s tears were for the economy.
Today we find out whether we are in a triple dip recession. Most of the headlines building up to today have the word “fear” in them but what is that fear really about? What does it mean to us?
Stress is all about fear. In fact when I want to work out why I am really stressed I always ask myself this question “what am I scared about?” I find that helps me get to the root of the problem rather than simply saying I am stressed and doing little about it.
When we are stressed our fight, flight or freeze responses kick in. The adrenalin and cortisone kick in aiming to sharpen our responses and numb the pain of any attack. These are prehistoric responses designed for prehistoric times. They will even help our soldiers and the few of us unlucky enough to be attacked on the streets. For most of us though, we don’t encounter extreme risk and danger very often yet we live in fear and a continuous roller coaster ride of stress.
So what is it we are scared of? When it comes to the recession it appears that we are most scared of losing our jobs, or losing business. These equate to losing income and losing possessions such as houses, cars, Ipads etc. We are scared of losing out, losing status and being out of control. Most of these fears are about our response to threat. If our response is to get stressed then it can often have the opposite effect of what it was designed to. Instead of sharpening our responses and readying us for action we can lose focus, procrastinate and end up fulfilling the very prophecy we wanted to avoid.
I always remember a chat I had with a friend who is a far greater risk taker than I am. At the time he was out of work and had been for some time. Despite this his confidence and his ability to deal with the stress of bills, demands of children and rising prices was not affected. He said to me “I take risk and I enjoy the rewards but ultimately my children, my wife and I will be happy living in a 1 room house because we know that we are happy. They would rather have me alive and happy with them than have a huge house and me dead from stress. Selling the house and downsizing is always on our list options.”
This was quite revolutionary to me at the time. This was a man who would actively consider downsizing. It was an option and not a last resort or a desperate act. It was a rational thought that gave him choice and gave him control. It also showed that he was less attached to the possessions that success brought and more attached to the fundamentals of life. In his words “buying stuff is fun. We all like to buy stuff but life is not about accumulating stuff.” Wise words.
So what’s the big picture for the UK? In reality the country probably has enough stuff. Maybe relying on a consumer led recovery is not the best idea and maybe we as a population need to get back to fundamentals. Of course as the press fan the flames of fear it is easy to join in and wonder if we will be the ones who miss out. But what actually will we miss out on?
The key to dealing with stress is to accept our part in generating it and then to develop acceptance for our circumstances, acknowledge our part and learn to let go of the need to compare. Fundamental happiness does not come from stuff. I think we can all agree on that. So why does possible removal of stuff generate so much unhappiness?
Finally I will refer you to the roller coaster description at the top. Maybe we need to enjoy life for what it is.
Julian Hall & Paula Backen are emotional resilience, stress and anger management specialists based in Derby & Birmingham.
To find out more call 07850614042 and ask for Julian 07950344658 and ask for Paula.
If you want to know more about the anger management, stress management, and emotional resilience courses run in Derby & Birmingham call the above numbers or click here.