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Guest Post from Matthew Adams of MatthewAdams.com. Matt Adams is a Work Stress and Work Anxiety Expert, Health-Hacker, Keynote Speaker, Stress Management Trainer and Consultant.
Work stress is one of the most debilitating mental health conditions in the modern world.
If you’ve ever dealt with work related stress, even for a short period, you know how it can disrupt not just your work, but also your overall health and personal life.
But is a large workload really the cause?
And more importantly, how can you overcome stress?
As a result of my own journey with work stress and work related anxiety, self-healing from it and successfully managing it to this day, I now look at all mental and physical conditions in much the same way.
I hold the belief first and foremost that:
Anything is curable if I’m committed enough. If I can’t cure it, I’m prepared to make as many changes as possible in my life to minimize the symptoms to a point where they’re almost nil. I’m in control with the choices and actions I take every day.
I believe that if you take this approach to any mental or physical condition you’re experiencing, you create hope. And hope is what keeps you moving forward, especially during the toughest moments of the condition.
Since 2002 when I first experienced work stress while managing two real estate offices and the life-altering work-anxiety related panic attack 3 years later I’ve had the literal feeling that “I could die at any second”, thousands of times.
It was this adversity that motivated me to heal myself, or get as close to a full healing as possible.
I devoured books on personal development and 4 months after the panic attack I came across the 22×11 technique which literally changed my life. I implemented it immediately and had instant results which you can read about on my website, MatthewAdams.com.
From there I went on to either find or create my own techniques that allowed me to shift the negative symptoms, sensations and feelings I was experiencing.
In my travels there’s a few things I’ve learned along the way, the first one being that everything relates back to childhood. And in most cases, back to conception, where you have your inherent genetics, personality and other ‘wiring’ encoded within every cell of your being.
After that, we’re all products of our childhood… our parents, our country and culture, our home environment, our schools, friends, family… absolutely everything plays a role in your make-up as an individual.
And there’s positives and negatives. It’s a double-edged sword.
Keeping the positives and eliminating or at least reducing the negatives is the goal. It’s the onion layer metaphor. Keep peeling back the layers.
My mindset is that after 18 when we’re officially adults, our goal should be to make self-development and self-healing a priority in order to life a full, rich life. Otherwise, we leave ourselves open to being victims of our upbringing.
Taking stress as an example, I’ve come to realise that I was predisposed to stress purely due to my personality type.
Causes And Healing From Stress (And Other Mental Health Issues)
As an ‘A Type’ personality, running on adrenalin in my quest to achieve was what caused stress symptoms to begin appearing. At the time, stress equalled ‘weakness’. So I kept pushing.
I kept pushing for 3 months until I finally crashed. And the panic attack 3 years later was my mind/body’s way of warning me not to go back into that world.
And only because the effect of the panic attack was so severe did I finally ‘get it’.
If I was to identify the most important factors in healing from any mental or physical health issues, it would be these 3 areas:
- Childhood – healing the emotional wounds/traumas from the past. Practising forgiveness, self-love (refer to Louise Hay’s book “You Can Heal Your Life”).
- Self-Awareness – noticing how/what/when triggers your symptoms. Knowing your personality type (refer to ‘Personality Plus’ by Florence Littauer)
- Mental and Physical Diet – literally, what are you feeding your mind (thoughts, words, images, movies) and your body (food and drinks). And of course physical exercise can go a long way to helping improve your mental and physical well-being. (refer to ‘Unlimited Power’ and ‘Awaken The Giant Within’ by Anthony Robbins)
Overcoming stress could include changing your current job role, changing your work environment, finding a new job, or a new career. The solution in my experience will either be your own choice, or it will be forced upon you by external factors.
If you can identify the cause(s) yourself and make changes to eliminate or reduce stress you can save yourself a lot of pain and heartache. Take it from me!
The problem with stress of course is that it can’t be measured. Well, not quite.
Sure there’s symptoms of stress such as shallow breathing, heart palpitations, inability to concentrate and lowered libido, that could lead to the conclusion of stress being the cause. But there’s no ‘a+b+c’ equals ‘stress’.
Perhaps that’s why stress is known as the ‘silent killer’.
So what does all this add up to?
Well, it’s probably the reason that a higher proportion of heart attacks on a Monday morning, more than any other day of the week.
How To Manage Stress
How should you manage stress?
It depends on your work situation and environment.
Working at an office for example will certainly trigger greater stress than working at home, but you can still experience stress working from home too.
It depends on your physical workload as well as mental factors such as self-expectations and how you handle stressful situations.
I recommend starting with the common notion that ‘prevention is easier than cure’.
To prevent stress, I highly recommend starting an exercise program that involves the 3 types of exercise: Cardio, Strength Training (aka. Resistance Training) and Flexibility training.
Cardio will help build cardiovascular fitness (heart health), strength training builds muscle strength, increases bone density and benefits all organs in the body, and flexibility exercises such as Yoga will help the physical release of emotions trapped in the body.
And these 3 physical exercise types have IMMENSE mental health benefits too.
Prevention also includes doing daily affirmations like: ‘I forgive [insert name]’, ‘I forgive myself’, ‘I let go of the past’, ‘I release pain’, ‘I release guilt’, ‘I release anger’ (repeat for all ‘negative’ emotions).
I use affirmations daily as a form of Emotional Fitness.
And lastly, diet, diet, diet. The foods you eat and the drinks you consume are having an immediate AND long term effect on your thoughts, feelings and physical well-being.
Strip back your diet and build it from the ground up, starting with vegetables. In fact, I recommend anyone with mental or physical health issues go vegan for 2-4 weeks to see the effect it has (Disclaimer: Consult a medical professional before implementing any new diet or exercise program).
You’ll be amazed at what symptoms suddenly disappear when you change your diet and strip out dairy, grains, soy, processed sugars, saturated fats and alcohol.
If you’re dealing with stress right now, the above solutions can be equally effective for immediate healing as they can for preventing issues from arising.
I wish you all the best with your journey to self-healing, and if I can be of assistance in any way, please don’t hesitate to ask me a question in the comment section below…