Last blog entry we looked at 2 key stress indicators and how to manage them:  Losing Control, and Busy-ness. This time I’d like to share what I’ve found works when you notice Changes in Body Language and Not Doing Enough…

Changes in Body language.

How to identify this
It’s vital that you become aware of changes in how someone moves, or presents non-verbally. The importance here is in the change rather than the behaviour. Let me explain. For some people moving quickly, using sudden movements, clipped tones and short sentences is their default position in times of little or no stress. In times of high stress, this behaviour can either get magnified or will manifest as the complete opposite.

The antidote:
Awareness of the default low stress behaviour is the first key to managing in times of high stress, and the antidote lies in the NLP principles of strategies and acting ‘as if’. The principle of strategies teaches us that our outcomes are achieved by following a set strategy – or pattern of behaviours – to achieve specific outcomes. A change of strategy will cause a different outcome. Following the same strategy will produce the same outcome. So, if we want to achieve a feeling of confidence and control – we need only follow the pattern of behaviour that we use to achieve this.

Let me give you a real example:  my 16 year old has experienced what it takes (and looks, sounds and feels like) to achieve excellent results in her school work. Over the last couple of years, she has developed successful study strategies, review strategies, and evaluation of performance strategies that has seen her get As and A+s.  This year, for reasons known only to herself, those strategies have been discarded and new ones have been adopted. The result? You guessed it.

The work I have done with her has been around re-visiting the strategies that used to work for her, and adapting them to the new demands of VCE studies. But of course a crisis of confidence has occurred. To deal with this we simply reviewed what a ‘confident and successful’ person might do when approaching exams. We mapped the behaviour in terms of what ‘confident and successful’ looks, sounds and feels like.  And then, for a while, she acted ‘as if’ that were her. Results? Predictable!

A feeling of not doing ‘enough’.

How to identify this:
I observed this in a workplace where a manager was experiencing high levels of stress everything she had tried to resolve a workplace issue with her staff had seemingly not worked.  Her words were “I haven’t done enough to manage this, I just don’t know what else I can do.”

The antidote:
A very simple question gives beautiful clarity to help address this issue. “What does ‘enough’ look like to you?” The answer will usually be a set of actions that need to be taken which define ‘enough’. This then becomes a really simple and achievable ‘tick the box’ exercise.

The main message in identifying and managing stress is to be alert to the key indicators. Once you know what you’re really dealing with, the solution is much simpler.