Taking Responsibility, Developing Control
Over years of running workshops and asking delegates: “What is stress?”, one of the most common responses is that stress is “being out of control.” Nearly everyone can understand that this is a big part of what stress feels like. The catch-22 is that once someone is stressed and feels out of control, the logical, thinking part of the brain (the cortex) is not fully engaged because the emotional part (limbic system) has taken over — as if preparing for an emergency (see Chapters 3 and 22 for fuller discussion). This means that there is little hope of generating a logical, reasonable response to the pressures causing stress and, thereby, regaining a sense of control. The limbic system is also likely to generate feelings that “this is being done to me,” as a victim mentality takes hold. Alternatively, it can invoke feelings of simply being inadequate — that everyone else is coping while one’s own world is crumbling. This chapter will first discuss taking responsibility for personal health and happiness, and then finding ways to feel in control and capable, and escape a victim mentality.
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