[This is a translation of my article published in French on April 26, 2017. You can read it here 🇫🇷]
At first I thought it didn’t exist or rather that I wasn’t affected by it.
Then, when I stopped denying it, I thought it was obviously present, obviously embarrassing, but controllable. That my body knew how to defend itself and cut it down when necessary.
I ended up realizing that stress is not – or is no longer – a foreign body. Stress became an internal part of my body. It melted into my cells like a virus, no longer allowing me to distinguish between before and after, stress or calm.
I realize how every moment, every day of my life makes me subject to stress.
So yes, sometimes it has positive effects. Perfectionist in nature, it often allows me to get good results, fast. It allows me to learn quickly. It allows me to give 200% of myself in most of the projects that I undertake. When they show up, it can even allow me to handle unmanageable situations so yes, in some ways it has advantages.
But, what’s the price ?
The price is much bigger than you would expect.
It is obvious that I will not go into too personal details here, but what I can say from my experience is that one must be attentive to oneself and one’s organism.
I have, on too many occasions, received vain messages of prevention from my body. Messages that I heard, but systematically refused to listen. As if every day I drank water from a well that I considered bottomless.
And then one day, I had a burnout (But that’s another story for another day).
I take the time to talk about it here, not out of narcissism, but because I am convinced that many other people – if not all – are in the same situation as me. And, the best way to avoid the consequences is to know the symptoms.
So, if you’re like me and you do not need tea or coffee to keep you awake because stress is your drug, take care of yourself. Listen to your body. I will not tell you to review your ambitions because this is certainly not a choice I would make, but at least try to make time for yourself. Think about what makes you happy, situations that do not require stress, and makes you feel calm. If you find them, use them to restore your inner calm.
Let’s stop ‘getting through life’ and start living. Now.
All credits for the cover picture of this post go to Gabriele Diwald and David Mao on Unsplash.
What about you?
What about you guys, have you ever dealt with stress or anxiety?