April is National Stress Awareness Month. It’s the time where health professionals focus on how stress shows up in our lives and what we can do about it. It’s also a time where terms like “stress management” and “wellness” show up in training videos.
When I work with clients on “Stress Management”, they generally start off listing all of the things that they have to do that are making them stressed so that we can figure out a plan to address all of the items on the list. The logic behind this being that if they can accomplish this, they will be less stressed. Then, they look at me and say. That’ll work, right?
That’s when I ask them to pull out a piece of paper, fold it in half length-wise and focus on the left side of the paper.
Then I say “List 10 ways stress is showing up in your life.”
It’s usually at that point that my clients wonder if I heard them correctly. Once we get past this initial confusion and go through the exercise, my clients find the key to their stress management is really stress avoidance. Through coaching, they come to realize that killing a to-do list ninja-style doesn’t address the elephant in the room as to why the to-do list looks like it does. They determine what meaningful actions they can take to address how stress shows up in their lives.
You can get a free template for this exercise:
If you try it – post a picture and tell me what you’ve noticed. I’ll respond!
1This well-known image was pulled from a comic by KC Green. If it made you smile, check out his Patron page.