Stress and anxiety are almost always caused by psychological and/or emotional drivers.
And when we’re not taught how to manage these psychological and emotional drivers, then it makes sense that we’re left feeling as though they control us. But no matter who you are, how old you are, where you are from, or what your past is, everyone has the ability to realise their potential and live a life that is happy, healthy, and successful. A thriving life. A life that is not dominated by stress, anxiety, fears, and/or moments of what-feels-like uncontrollable panic.
Not everyone believes this. Many people believe their anxiety is simply part of their personality, or their lack of confidence runs in the family. “My mum is an anxious person so I figured she passed it on to me” is a common phrase I hear.
That’s simply not true.
I live in an area of Sydney with a lot of bushland close to our house. Towering gum trees and angophora sway and creak perilously close to our house when the wind is blowing, particularly the strong southerlies. I often think how strong their root systems must be to support their massive trunks and sprawling branches, enabling them to stay upright. We need the same strong foundations like our tree friends to support us when one of life’s southerlies hits unexpectedly.
Our strong foundations are our psychological foundations. Specifically, they are primary beliefs we hold about ourselves. Our sense of our power and control, coping skills, self-confidence, and social confidence. When these foundations are strong, we don’t create stress and anxiety. We don’t create fears.
We can learn to strengthen our psychological foundations.
How? First you need to understand your psychological foundations. Because once you understand what makes you tick, you’ll know what needs changing, why it needs changing, and how to go about changing it. It becomes clear, simple, and achievable. And that’s when your motivation kicks in – to put in the effort to change.
We go to the gym to strengthen our physical foundations and often with a physical fitness coach to teach us and to guide us. We can strengthen our psychological foundations with trained mental wellness coaches.
A well-trained mental wellness coach will teach an individual the evidence-based cognitive skills and emotional skills needed to reduce unhealthy stress and anxiety. They’ll do this by teaching key principles, supporting new behaviours, guiding new thinking habits, challenging unhelpful beliefs and thinking, identifying your stumbling blocks, holding you accountable, and ultimately walking alongside you during your mental wellbeing journey until you reach your goals.
Strengthen both your cores – physical and psychological. You’ll then be like one of those beautiful strong gum trees in my backyard, swaying gently with the strong winds, but feeling firmly grounded and able to cope with unexpected challenges.