“Do you experience stress, get out of balance or are dissatisfied with how your life is turning out: why not investigate for yourself what is going on? Precisely recognizing and analyzing signals of imbalance are important to address stress at an early stage.”
Quote from ‘In de ban van burn-out’ by psychotherapist Christiaan Vinkers.
Stress is part of life. Everyone suffers from it. Life is not makeable. Things happen that are beyond your control but still happen in your life. Illness and death, drop of income or rising inflation and prices, quarrels, conflict or war. Sooner or later, you too are not going to escape situations that create stress. You and the world around you are constantly changing. Fate may determine that you end up in certain situations. Situations that throw you out of balance, and this imbalance lets the body signal to you: stress. Fortunately. The signal is meant to spur you on and deal with the situation. A signal to take action and create a new and more pleasant situation in which you are happy and experience freedom. But how do you cope with it?
Tools to cope with stress
Evolution has figured something out for this. On Earth’s constantly changing conditions, the species best able to adapt to change has the best chance of surviving. So, in the 3.5 billion years that there has been life on Earth, evolution has selected and perfected that which causes a species to survive. We are equipped with tools to experience and regulate stress by adapting to change. The tools? Belly, heart and head! Everyone is equipped with these and, with normal development, are fully developed when we reach adulthood. But not everyone is able to use these tools equally well. Due to upbringing, culture, religion, intense experiences or lopsided education, one of these tools is under or over valued. And therefore more or less developed and used.
Sensing stress in situations
‘Our gut feeling largely determines how we are doing. We “shit” with fear or we “shit our pants” when we are scared. We “swallow” a disappointment, a defeat needs “to be digested first”, and someone can be ”sour”. When we are in love, we have “butterflies in our stomach”. Our “I” consists of both head and belly.’
Julia Enders in Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ.
When a situation is stressful for you, your body shows it in one way or another. And if you ignore signals for too long, psychological or physical symptoms develop. You don’t feel good about yourself. You don’t feel good.
Now everyone is unique. And whether a situation feels right is personal and depends on previous experiences. And an important organ that lets you feel whether you enjoy a situation or whether it comes across as unpleasant or threatening is located in your gut.
So it is important to learn to listen carefully to your gut feeling. Ignoring or not noticing this feeling can be the beginning of complaints. Most coachees that I speak to, have taught themselves, for reasons already mentioned, such as upbringing, culture, etc., to ignore or insufficiently value their underbelly feeling. As a result, they are not skilled enough to signal in time that they are not or not sufficiently pleased with a situation.
Reduce stress by listening to your heart
“When your heart says you have to do it, you just do it.”
While writing H3 What Steps Will I Take? of my book Excelling in Freedom, my daughter Paula Roemeling (then 9 years old) had a school assignment to draw a picture and write a maxim about “love. The maxim she had written reads as follows: “When your heart says have to do it, you just do it.” And she had added a drawing of a heart with a foot and a face. That is what actually happens. The heart enables you to do something, to get into motion, in word as well as in deed.
When you feel the desire to do something, your heart beats faster and your blood is pumped around faster so that the muscles are supplied with enough oxygen and energy to make the movement possible. And since the heart is the symbol for love, you can think of love as knowing what to do. Feelings of love make you passionate and purposeful. You know what to do and you are unstoppable. The zealous horse in us runs wild.
I always ask a coachee in the first conversation to tell his life story. Afterwards, I then ask the question: What did you enjoy doing most, or what gave you the most energy? Then it not seldom happens that the coachee notices that he is enthusiastic and passionate about something, but that this “energizer” no longer, or insufficiently, occurs in his life or work. There are all kinds of enticements that can put you on the wrong track. And you can sustain that for a while. But in the long run, you do get exhausted and tired.
Imagining stress-free and meaningful situation
“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”
And to ensure that we do what gives pleasure and are driven and passionate about, evolution has given us a “faithful servant” as Einstein calls it in the quote above. As humans, we differ from other living beings in that we are equipped with a remarkable brain. Through which we are able to think logically, sort things out, and we are able to imagine something. We can fantasize about a different future. A future where we do what motivates us, drives us and pleases us. We are able to ask ourselves questions and philosophize about what is right to do. How do I want to live? Where do I want to go? And so in order to give the good answers to these questions, self-reflection and imagination is important. Because everyone is unique, there is no universal roadmap that works for everyone. It is craft to discover what you want. Thinking about who you are, what makes you unique, what you enjoy and are passionate about. To then come up with a personalized plan. A dot on the horizon that makes you happy without stress.
Scan your tools in 7 minutes
Stress is part of life. Life that happens to everyone differently. At the same time, everyone is equipped with the same tools to deal with stress. Through life experience, we learn to use one tool more and the other less. As a result, we often get out of balance and experience stress.
Would you like to explore which tools you do or do not use or how to develop your tools? Do the 7-minute Quickscan. Answer the questions and I will contact you for online feedback on the results.
What it costs? How much you think it’s worth afterwards!