Stress: There Is Nothing It Will Not Affect!

Zeina Ghossoub El-Aswad

The word stress means, and not in these exact words, to put something or someone under duress, to push their limits, to test the fabric or make up of something and to exert a "pressure” like situation. Stress can be on metals, bridges, trees, animals, an ecosystem, and of course, on us. And when we talk about "us”, stress can be biological, like an infection or cancer, or mental, such as problems to be solved, or psychosocial, or economical or emotional. In coaching, the stress we talk about involves situations we can deal with using our mental and emotional and psychological abilities.

         Before we talk about coaching and stress, let us examine how stress affects us. Stress can lead to over 50, yes, 50, different manifestations on all the above levels. It can lead to lack of sleep and irritability, decrease focus, rapid heart rate, abnormal behaviors like drug addictions and alcohol, failing and lack of focus and concentrations, loss of jobs and families, suicide and depression and so much more. Stress can lower our immune system and make us more prone to infections, it can break relationships and families. It can lead to digestive system problems, heart problems, breathing problems and so much more. Stress can make us feel isolated, decrease our effectiveness at communicating, solving problems, interacting, and increase our agitation and anger and aggressiveness. The simplest way to talk about the effects of stress is the following. Supposing we have a range of the "good us” and the "bad us”. The "good us” is the one that is successful, happy, loving, sweet, caring and the achiever. It is us at our happiest, most confident and mort giving. The "bad us” is the exact opposite, where we feel the weakest, shaky and insecure, angry and sad, inefficient and unstable. Stress pushes us towards the "bad us”.

Stress though is not the same across all. Some will feel it more than others, and not all of us will have the same manifestations. But the one common thing that stress does is that it applies pressure across the board on all of us. And make no mistake, those effects can be devastating and deadly. And how we deal with stress is a major determinant in who succeeds and who fails, in finding ACHIEVABLE solutions and in adding more stress by failing. Coaching does not nullify stress. However, coaching takes stress head on, and shows you how to deal with it and how to handle it. Coaching is essential in helping you understand your goals, understand why and how you are unable to achieve them, provide you with the tools to recognize what is and what is not ACHIEVABLE, and then assist you in reaching your goals. Coaching helps you identify your strengths and weaknesses. It helps you figure out which mountain you can climb and how, and which one you need to let go off according to your abilities and situations. Coaching will not help you get to goals you are simply not equipped to do so. We all have limits, and when we exceed them we are stressed. And that is the beauty and necessity of coaching. It helps you identify your limits and helps you work within these parameters. Coaching helps you draw your own boundaries, discover your own abilities, identify your own successful strategies, maintain your own strengths, avoid your own weaknesses, and ultimately achieve your own goals within the above dimensions. In other words, we all have innate capabilities. If we know what they are and how to maximize them instead of searching for new ones we may never have, we will improve our outcome, enhance our strengths, increase our success ratio, decrease our failure percentage, and improve our overall sense of the "good us”. And, a state of "good us” is a stats opposite to stress. And that is a state we should and do always strive to be in.

I salute the "good me”, acknowledge the "bad me”, and as a coach, seek to be coached to stay in the "good me” field. As such, I strive to maintain a low level of stress. My sincere hope is you do the same.