Stress Levels in Challenging and Uncertain Times!
In the past year the media have been riddled with provocative doom mongering phrases such as “In these challenging times” or “in these times of uncertainty”. I don’t recall a time in the history of Planet Earth where there were no challenges and there was total certainty!
We live through an era where there are more people sheltered, fed and warm then ever before and although that’s not an excuse to be complacent about all the millions who don’t have the basic human needs met, it is a time to thank our blessings. And of course there are challenges and there is uncertainty because that’s life.
Challenges and uncertainty are not problems in themselves it’s how we perceive them and how regular they occur that are the problems for many.
When faced with a real or perceived threat one of the options hard wired into the neurology of the average domesticated primate (humans) is to “FREEZE”. A useful survival strategy if about to be ravaged by a grizzly bear or run headlong over the edge of a cliff, yet not so useful in the modern day world where the grizzly is replaced by an over demanding boss and the cliff edge is the monthly sales targets or project deadline, where instead of frozen inaction we need well thought through decision making.
Ancient hard wired stress responses to external perceived or real and impending threats are useful. Yet humans have the double-edged gift and cursed sword of creative imagination, which means they can replay scenarios and make up scenarios and feel really bad just because of their thinking. A challenge can be transformed into a catastrophe and uncertainty can be morphed into Armageddon.
And of course if one or more challenging or uncertain events happen with a close time frame of each other then creative mind can go into overdrive looking for all the other situations and events related and some totally unconnected that could go wrong as well.
It’s exhausting even thinking about how much processing power goes into people making themselves feel bad so I wont – think about it that is – because that’s the real problem, its not challenging or uncertain times which is the problem its how people think which is the problem. Change your thinking and you change your perceptions, nothing will have really changed and yet everything is different.
I’m not for one minute suggesting we all have a Pollyanna outlook on the world, a world full of unrealistic optimists would be – well actually it could be really good.
Perhaps a world full of people who are awake enough not to be hypnotised by social group fear and the media, people having the behavioural flexibility to look at a challenge as an opportunity to learn and to grow, who perceive uncertainty as an opportunity to explore and enjoy variety, that would be nice but then perhaps I’m being unrealistically optimistic.
For an individual or business to flourish, the ones with flexibility and creativity and who can adapt will evolve it’s been that way through millions of challenging and uncertain years.
If you have had enough of the uncertainty conversations and want to learn how to use creativity to create plans so while others are struggling and striving you can be flourishing and thriving why not join a “WellBeing Programme” and explore how to Do Be and Have More.
Author of “Business Coaching & Mentoring for Dummies” - Amazon