What is a normal amount of stress … or a normal amount of anxiety? That is an interesting question, because there is no right answer. When a new client comes to me suffering from anxiety, I usually ask them what they want instead – and a very common answer to that question is, “I want to be normal.”
Many years ago, when I worked in the corporate world, I lived my life in continuous high stress. I got so used to being stressed, that I just assumed that everyone else felt the same as me. It did not occur to me that I had the choice. High stress had become the norm. And now I help people with high levels of stress that have become anxiety – and I find that they often have the same problem.
The problem is that they don’t know how to reduce their stress levels, and so it doesn’t occur to them that they have a choice. They don’t need to live their lives in a constant state of stress. That doesn’t mean that they have to stop doing what they’re doing and go and live life as a monk in a Tibetan monastery! It just means changing small aspects of their lives to get everything back into control again.
So … just as an experiment … try gauging yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 is the absolute pits, and 10 is the best life ever) … where is your life right now. (Don’t worry – this is not scientific – it’s just your immediate subjective view.) Now imagine what your life would be with the anxiety gone and the stress levels reduced down to very low. How would that impact your life. Now start to imagine that achieving that is possible.
So what is the stress and anxiety norm? Of course – there is no norm. You can live your life with your anxiety set to whatever level you want. I prefer mine to be turned way down.
It took me a long time to work out how to reduce my stress and anxiety to my current (very chilled) level. I did it on my own and it took years. If you want help getting your life back in control, or you want to do it faster than I did on my own, you might consider getting help. This is now my job – helping people who are only just coping with stress and anxiety to regain control of their lives. I use hypnotherapy, in my clinic here in Fleet, to help them get to where they want to.
Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash