For many busy and stressed people it may be a big task to actually take out time to talk or even think about the anxiety they are feeling. One might say “I don’t have time to think about my anxiety”.
Let’s face it. Jobs these days are stressful. Whether you work as an entry level trainee or as a team leader responsible for key results in the company, someone subtly communicates an expectation that you have to work your ass off and deliver results, even if it requires you to work late every evening and on weekends.
I’m not saying the boss or the senior management is at fault. The work culture and industry is as such. Your colleagues are constantly connected with you on phones and video conferencing apps. Email notifications keep buzzing regardless of the time of day. More connectivity and a tougher economy are bigger culprits than any single company’s work culture.
But either way, you end up being overwhelmed with the demands on your time. And even though you feel that you might be burning out due to the piling up stress you’ve been storing since weeks, you can not take a breather to even think about things like your ’emotions’, much less deal with them or talk to someone about them.
“It will sort itself out. I just need to be more focused. I can’t afford to stop” – This is the classic male response to persistent negative feelings and stress. It will sort itself out.
The problem is that it does sort itself out. You don’t stay stressed and sad indefinitely. On the weekends you go out with your boys or colleagues to the club, have a few drinks, chill a little extra and watch that series on Netflix and all of this makes you feel better. This seems like a viable solution. Sometimes it may be. Most of the times it is just sweeping the garbage under the rug and praying it disappears.
It won’t. It will remain as a bulge under your carpet. People would trip over it and fall. The garbage will start stinking in a few days. And most likely you’ll get rats in your room because mess begets mess. Write this down, ‘mess begets mess’.
The big problem with unconfronted negative feelings is that they re-surface when you are even more stressed the next time. And this time they come up even stronger. And they make you do foolish things. Some people smoke like a chimney to get rid of long-pending anxiety (me being one of them). Some people get irritable and get into needless confrontations with colleagues or close ones.
I know that on the surface it feels like you literally don’t have time to deal with your stress and anxiety. You may be right. But avoiding it only makes it worse. It’s a treasonous choice, in the words of M.J. DeMarco ( https://www.mjdemarco.com/my-story/ ). And if you don’t kill the dragon when it is little, it will soon grow up into an insidious monster, metaphorically speaking.
Some men even think that being stressed all the time actually makes them more effective. And if they let loose a little bit, they might lose their edge. This kind of thinking is very typical in Type A people (http://strongmen.blog/2019/12/02/high-functioning-depression/ ) who are generally fast charging goal-oriented people. But trust me man, you are effective because over the years you have built a rock-solid work ethic and real-world hard skills that help you get the job done. It is not your anxiety that gives you the edge, it is your own f***ing talent. Don’t shortchange yourself. Have faith in your abilities and get rid of this delusion that stress makes you better.
In fact, if you are really committed for your goals in life, you should become an expert in managing your stress and anxiety in the most healthy manner possible (I will write about that in my next blog). Because if you learn to do that you will unleash an explosive amount of latent energy that was earlier used up in dealing with all the pain that the anxiety was causing you.
Therefore it is in your and everybody else’s best interest to actually stop, take a breath, deal with any garbage that might have piled up in your life or inside your mind. And deal with it like a man! Because strength is both, external and internal.
Thanks for reading. Until next time!