Look for the Needs that you aren’t Meeting Successfully
There are many ways to deal with stress but most of them just deal with symptoms. Few strategies will help you deal with the underlying causes of your stress.
When you are asked why you are stressed out and anxious you can probably come up with something outside of yourself to blame: your job, your kids, the strange guy in accounts, your husband or even your mother. But what if the things or the people that you believe are causing your stress are only symptoms of stress, that is actually caused by one or more of your basic needs being not being met?
Everyone has the Same Basic Needs
Everyone has the same five basic needs to differing degrees.
- Enough money
- A roof over your head
- The ability to have children if you choose
- Air, food water and room to move
- Love and Belonging
- Learning things that interest you
You are Always Trying to Meet your Needs
Everything you do every day is an attempt to meet one or more of your needs. You eat, sleep, breath, drink for your survival but you also do some of these things for fun. You could survive on a very basic diet, but you also eat for pleasure. You work to put a roof over your head and food on the table, but work should also meet your power, fun and love and belonging needs.
Stress and Anxiety
Stress and Anxiety occur when you are not sufficiently meeting one or more of your needs.
- If your workload is too high and as a result, you aren’t able to do your job properly you may be stressed. If you have high power needs this will stress you much more than a person with low power needs, who will find it easier to shrug it off or negotiate a better deal.
- If you are separated from your friends and family and you have a high need for love and belonging, you will be stressed.
- The loss of a job can impact a number of your needs depending on what was most important to you about your job. If the thing you enjoyed most about your job was the people you worked with, your love and belonging needs will take a hit. If the idea of not having your regular pay-check coming in is terrifying, then you have high survival needs. If you feel useless without your job, then your power needs will have be affected. Something as important as a job may affect a number of needs at once.
Getting to the Bottom of your Stress and Anxiety
In order to address what need or needs are not being met, you have to take a thoughtful look at the areas of stress in your life, look at what control you have over the situation and what you are prepared to do about it.
Remember you can only control yourself. No matter how much you think someone else should change, the reality is that you can’t make them change. Of course, you can discuss the situation and try to negotiate change. In some cases, this may be enough to bring about changes that mean your needs can be met. Problem solved.
When you can’t Change a Situation
When you can’t change a situation or another person’s behaviour, then you are only three things that you can change: –
- Your behaviour (including your thoughts)
- Your perception about what is happening
- Your quality world picture
How to Change your Behaviour
For most people, behaviour is the easiest thing to change. What you are currently doing in response to the stressful situation or person, is obviously not working well enough for you. If it was you wouldn’t be feeling stressed and/or anxious. What could you do instead that might meet your needs better?
Could you Change your Perception?
Sometimes it is just the way you are looking at something which is actually causing you stress. Observe your thoughts about the situation and challenge their accuracy. Ask people whose opinions you value what they think.
Your Quality World Pictures
Quality World Pictures are the ideas you carry around about how things should be in order for you to be happy, safe and peaceful. Sometimes these things are unrealistic and you might need to change a QWP. A common example of this is when someone very important dies. While everyone grieves the loss of a loved one, some people find it much harder to move on with their life because their QWP includes the person they have lost. They believe they cannot be happy with anyone else. The best way for them to address their stress would be to replace the person they have lost in their QWPs, with someone who has similar qualities.
No Magic Pill But ….
These strategies will address the underlying causes of your stress but they won’t do it overnight. It is not easy to change behaviours that you may have been using for a long time or to change the way you have looked at something for perhaps your whole life. Go easy on yourself, be kind to yourself and nurture yourself while you are making these important changes.
How to Deal With Stress and Anxiety Effectively
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