When I had my most stressful periods at work, I was still nice to everyone; of course to my clients, but also the people around me, colleagues and people I relied on in order to deliver. I seemed calm and in control of the situation. What was happening inside was a different story of course. I used my last energy to pick up the kids and get home. After that it was ‘free falling’. Smallest thing made me explode. It was often one of my children that triggered me. My reaction was instant, I couldn’t hold it back.
Most of us have been there. Not our proudest moments, when we allow a reaction to take over. In my case, a reaction to a day of non-stop pressure, when all my energy had been spent on firefighting while keeping calm and composed. We don’t want to be that person in that situation, but the pressure inside has reached boiling point and rather than dealing with it in a constructive manner, we lose it on those that least deserve it.
We are constantly affected by both internal and external pressure. A fair amount of external pressure can be good for most of us, but when there is a lack of balance, when we can no longer deal with it internally, it will have a negative impact on us.
Our internal pressure mainly comes from our own thinking. There is perhaps a situation we don’t know how to deal with, or perhaps we feel overwhelmed, hence we create an environment of pressure in our mind.
To make this less of a problem it helps to see and understand how much of the pressure we feel, is afflicted by our own thinking, and in turn understand how we can reduce the thinking or even step out of it all together. When someone is under too much pressure they are not able to perform in the same way. We can see this all around us; at work, in elite sports, in the world of music..the list goes on. But for those who can somehow befriend the pressure, and even feel at ease with it, they can thrive and perform better than the rest.
It doesn’t mean that they are free from fear or anxiety, but by having found a way of ‘befriending’ the pressure they have found a way to handle and manage the situation and therefore they can perform better than those that cannot.
Meditation can help with this. It gives us more balance in our minds, which allows us to be less reactive in our responses to a situation. We tend to be more reactive when we become more stressed, and it’s often an immediate reaction, born out of fear. As a result, we probably won’t get the best outcome of the situation.
By training meditation regularly, we can allow ourselves to step back and be less reactive to thoughts in our mind. Instead, we can find a window of pause, where we can respond more skillfully.
After I started meditating, I could feel that those same situations at work did not have the same profound effect on me. I had extra padding inside. I could stop myself from being triggered, of reacting to my children or anyone else, despite being under pressure.
Does this sound familiar to you? Have you also been there, or are you there now, when reactions seem to take over your life, affecting your abilities to communicate?