Anxiety & Stress

Life can be very stressful at times and when it does we say that we are experiencing anxiety or worryor stress or tension.

We are using these words loosely rather than in their literal, scientific and psychologically accurate meaning. But when we say ‘Under stress’ or ‘worried’ or ‘suffering from anxiety’ tells it all – and others understand us.

That doesn’t matter to us – what matters is that our thoughts and feelings are uncomfortable.

What’s going on when we’re ‘under stress’?

Perhaps not so many would agree that whatever the circumstances we create much of this stress by how we think about and respond to:

  • What is going on around us
  • What has gone on in the past
  • What might go on in the future.

People who cope well

However true or untrue this claim may be there is likely to be general agreement that those who appear to be relatively unaffected by stress appear to have a different approach to life’s ups and downs than the rest of us.

They appear to have a different mental and emotional attitude to stressful situations. And, according to NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), this attitude and his skills which go with it can be learned and practised by anyone.

Effective anxiety management

To cope effectively with stress and even thrive on it requires skill.

A few people have had the good fortune to have been raised or educated in an environment which enabled them to acquire these skills at an early age. The rest of us have a bit of catching up to do. We need to study what it is that these people do differently and then emulate them.

Fortunately researchers have done much of this work for us. Psychologists, sociologists and a range of other research specialists have assembled a wealth of data to for us to benefit from without having to learn painfully and slowly by trial and error.

The key skill: Self Awareness

A key stress management skill which they have identified is the ability to recognise the mental, emotional and physical habits that contribute to, or even cause, our stressful responses.

Yet, for some people, even taking this observation on board is a stretch. Since it requires an openness to the possibility that we play a part in our becoming stressed – a suggestion that many people might be unhappy about.

Nevertheless it’s not a new claim. Nearly 400 years ago the English poet John Milton observed: the mind can make a heaven out of hell – or a hell out of heaven. In other words whether or not any one of us finds an event stressful or not will be largely the result of how we perceive or interpret the event.

Learning anxiety management techniques puts you in the driving seat of your own mind and body.   Click here for further tips on managing your thoughts, reactions, and feelings.


by Reg Connolly

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Our Anxiety pages


Anxiety and the mind-body

Anxiety and relaxation

Anxiety and self talk