Ever been trapped in your head? So worried about an issue that you just keep dwelling and catastrophizing and stewing. The whole time it feels like you are right in the middle of the thoughts; bouncing around with them.
The other night, my buddy Craig, from out East, was very trapped in his own mind.
He is usually a fun guy, always good for a few laughs, but in tonight's call, he was not himself.
Craig said there had been some rumours of lay-offs where he works and he was freaking out a little bit.
I asked him what kind of thoughts he was having.
Craig said, "Nights are the worst. I lay there thinking, what if I lose my job? What if I can't find another one? I could lose my house, our kids are both in hockey and that's super expensive" and the record played on and on.
After listening to his mini-rant, I light-heartily said, "Buddy, you are not the master of your stress, you are the stress."
Whenever we let the record of doom and gloom play over and over again, it flips our little stress switch and we end up getting caught in the emotion; trapped in our own brain. The longer we allow ourselves to stay there, the further we get pulled down the "stress spiral".
In Craig's case, fear was dominating him and had been for several weeks.
I asked Craig what would help him feel better. He quipped, "Winning the lottery." I said, "Sounds good on paper Craig, but just in case you don't, what else may help?"
"Oh, I don't know, what can I do, I don't have any control over layoffs." As we talked more, it turned out Craig had a really good relationship with his boss. I suggested going to him and just being honest; tell him how you are feeling and get his perspective on the lay-off rumour.
Craig did. His boss said he had heard a bit about potential lay-offs, but then added, "Craig, stop worrying, you're one of the best guys on our team. You're not going anywhere."
When we become our stress we get trapped by the emotion, we are held hostage by the emotional part of our brain. This makes it tough to not only think of a logical and realistic solution but to take action on it as well.