Thursday, November 30, 2006

Why do we get stressed?

I have been pretty stressed and wound up about work for the last two or three weeks.

This is because I have a pressing deadline for an important piece of work and I have not been motivated to crack and get the work done.

With my deadline approaching fast I have finally got my motivation and enthusiasm back and I am confident I will hit the deadline with a good piece of work.

I feel so much better today.

So …..

I would love to hear from Simplicity readers the answers to 3 questions:

1 Do you sometimes feel that way too?

2 If yes, why do you think we feel that way?

3 If yes, where do you get your inspiration from to ‘knuckle down’ and get back on track?

I will share with you after our discussion where my own ‘solutions’ come from.

I look forward to your comments.


tomjam said...


Your post is uncannily timed from my point of view. I have just come to my PC after talking with my wife about how overwhelmed I am, about how everybody thinks I'm bad at my job (including me), and how the next few weeks are going to finish me off and ruin my reputation forewer! Does that sound paranoid, pathetic and completely out of proportion? Yes, well I am, as you'll remember Trevor a founder member, along with your good self, of Catastrophisers Anonymous. So yes to 1. I definitely feel that way sometimes.

2. I think we feel that way because we are troubled by the gap between what we aspire to be and what we are-a big gap for me at the moment!

3. My strategies are to talk it through with someone who can offer some rational feedback and sense of perspective, (as I've just done with my very patient spouse)and to try to remember that we are not the centre of other peoples universe-only our own. When I manage to focus on the needs of others rather than those of my own ego, I usually feel better and have a sense of perspective. Sorry to go on at length but I am finding this therapeutic! Glad to know that you are emerging for your 'trough of despond' Trevor. I hope to join you soon.

Trevor Gay said...

Hi tomjam - Keep smiling my friend.

You say - ‘Uncannily timed’ – I often find things happen that ‘seem’ co-incidental and it is interesting how you were just going through the same soul searching and confidence crisis when you ‘came across’ this posting. I believe these things are often more than ‘co-incidence’ …. But that’s another story.

We have lots in common as founder members of CA – it’s a club that is larger than we think I suspect. The insights we both have is awareness that we do catastrophise so we can then accept rather than deny its existence then start to work on our coping mechanisms.

You will come through this black spell I have no doubt and your reasoning about why we feel this way rings true for me.

So far no other comments … so maybe it is only you and I who suffer this challenge – I think not :-)

David Wike said...

A slightly belated posting for this one. The questions posed were a bit challenging!

What motivates? I believe that fear is the greatest motivator. It can be physical fear, as when there is a lion breathing down your neck motivating you to run that bit faster. But I suspect that for most of us living in lion-free countries, it is fear of failure. Of course, failure can be difficult to define and often is only in the mind of the person who considers him/herself to be a failure.

In my previous corporate life I often had to prepare board papers. Trying to pull all of the relevant information together was often challenging and stressful. Failure was not an option. Sometimes it was all a bit last ditch, running round delivering papers the evening before the meeting. Once they were issued, there was a huge sigh of relief and a tendency to relax, even though there were other pressing things to do. Only as those became more urgent did the motivation return.

You have had a few major events in your life over the last few months Trevor – house moving, your wedding, keynote conference speaking. It isn’t surprising that you had ‘peaked’ and needed recovery time before taking on the next challenge. Think about athletes – they don’t maintain Olympic Games levels of motivation the whole time.

So I guess that we all need a bit of battery recharging time and then the approach of a deadline to fire us up again.

Trevor Gay said...

Hi David and tomjam

Fear is an interesting observation and I think you are probably right. At these stressful times I get very scared inside and that is a fear of failure and being seen as ‘no good.’ Usually this fear is groundless and within my head only. I don’t think the rest of the world does actually see me as a failure. I am very guilty of what tomjam was getting at when he mentioned seeing ourselves as the centre of others universe when of course we are not.

Co-incidentally one of my regular jobs in the NHS was preparation of Board papers so I relate to your observations very well. I did that job for about three years and it was very stressful hitting those deadlines which were as you say non-negotiable.

You are right too about a busy time in the last six to nine months for me and maybe my body’s was telling me it needed some re-charging. I am feeling much better now.

I said I would let readers know about my ways of dealing with these feelings. I firstly spoke to Annie and confided my feelings of self doubt and inadequacy about doing a job as well as I think I should. By sharing it I immediately felt better and of course Annie is a great and patient listener – I am blessed. So my first coping method is to share the problem and not keep it to myself.

The second thing I do – and I would say immediately this is not a statement that everyone would agree with – is to pray. I talk to God regularly and my faith tells me God is there for us to offload whatever is troubling us. Because of my faith I believe He will always provide an answer – even though it may not be obvious. His answer will enable me to deliver on the piece of work that has troubled me because He is guiding me. The important thing is to make sure I hand over these worries to Him in order to get the help I need.

A bit heavy maybe but hope you understand what I am saying – and I repeat this is not a method that I would prescribe for anyone else – it is a choice of each of us.