Coping with stressful events -4 types of stress part 2.
In my last blog I talked about Dr Karl Albrecht, a management consultant and conference speaker based in California, who is a pioneer in the development of stress-reduction training for business people. He defined four common types of stress in his 1979 book, “Stress and the Manager.”
Albrecht’s four common types of stress are:
- Time stress.
- Anticipatory stress.
- Situational stress.
- Encounter stress.
In this blog I’m going to focus on Anticipatory Stress – that is stress that you feel when you know something is going to happen in the future and you worry yourself to death about it, for example sitting an exam, having a job interview or giving a presentation. You sweat, have shallow breathing, can’t sleep or eat properly, feel sick and panicky.
It can also can also be vague such as an overall sense of dread about the future, or a worry that “something will go wrong.” We all know that if things are going great in our lives we tend to worry that something is bound to go wrong and we worry about what that might be.
Managing Anticipatory Stress
Because anticipatory stress is focused on the future you need to start to deal with it by recognizing that the event you’re dreading doesn’t have to play out as you imagine. For example if you are worried about a job interview, use positive visualisation to imagine the situation going well. Close your eyes and take yourself through the interview step by step. In your visualisation make yourself confident and well prepared. Imagine that you have the answers to all the questions and that you wow the panel so much they offer you the job. Make sure you prepare well, hope for the best and expect the worst.
Research shows that your mind often can’t tell the difference, on a basic neurological level, between a situation that you’ve visualized going well repeatedly and one that’s actually happened.
Other techniques – like deep breathing and meditation – will help you develop focus and the ability to concentrate on what’s happening right now, rather than on an imagined future. Consider setting aside time daily – even if it’s only five minutes – to meditate.
Anticipatory stress can result from a lack of confidence. For example, you might be stressing over a presentation that you’re giving next week, because you’re afraid that your presentation won’t be interesting. Often, addressing these personal fears directly will lower your stress. If you practice and prepare for tough questions, you’ll likely feel more prepared for the event. If you lack confidence and self esteem, life coaching could be a great help.
It is also really helpful if you learn how to overcome your fear of failure by making contingency plans and analyzing all of the possible outcomes. This way you’ll get a clearer idea of what could happen in the future. This can help diminish your fear of failure and give you a greater sense of control over events. So think about what could be the outcome if the worst thing you could imagine, actually did happen, then plan for it. It is very unlikely to happen but if it does, you’ll be ready!
Next time in part 3, I’ll explain about situational stress. Meanwhile relax, breathe deeply and enjoy being in the now.
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