Do you sometimes feel that “you do not arrive”, you feel overwhelmed, you would like to free yourself of the tension to be able to perform better the task that you pose or simply to be calmer, or to enjoy more having the feeling that “you control the situation?”
The dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy defines stress in the following way:
“Stress caused by oppressive situations that cause psychosomatic reactions or sometimes severe psychological disorders.”
What happens is that we observe any situation and interpret it in our own way. Each one in a different way. The good news is that I can influence the way I interpret the situation for my own benefit.
So harmful is for our well-being and personal equilibrium the fact of not assuming the responsibility that touches me as assuming too much. And it is the latter that can generate excessive stress.
A tennis student arrived the other day completely despondent because he had been put a bad note in the language. He felt worried and helpless because he did not know how to deal with the situation, because according to him, the teacher had treated him unfairly. He also did not understand his criteria for correction. It was not the first time it happened, I had experienced this same sense of failure on other occasions due mainly to their spelling mistakes. “To top it off,” he said, “I went to the test without a watch and when they said fifteen minutes were missing, five was actually missing and I couldn’t finish the test.”
Seeing how stressed the student was, even when hitting the ball was noticeable as trying to release tension-I raised three simple questions aimed at managing the stress that recalled the book “The Inner Game of stress” (Timothy Gallwey):
What are you not controlling about this situation?
I don’t control the teacher’s opinion of me.
I don’t control the teacher’s correction criteria.
I don’t control the suspense I’ve been given.
I don’t control “my inner voice that tells me I’m never going to approve.”
I do not control how I feel bad for having failed again in language.
What am I trying to control?
I’m trying to control my anger.
I’m trying to control my discouragement.
I’m trying to control my thoughts about what I should do.
What could I control that I’m not controlling now?
I could take a watch to the test to better manage the time.
I could talk to my tutor to ask for help and make a work plan.
You could regularly study the subject to be better prepared for the exam.
I could do specific spelling exercises every day.
I could stop criticizing and get to work.
I could accept the situation and reassure myself.
I might think I’m able to approve, just like I do with other subjects.
The gesture of my pupil’s face changed when he realized everything he could do to improve his situation without depending on anything or anyone.
Later, during the class, there was a time when he complained that the balls he was throwing was not “comfortable”, pretending to justify a mistake in his coup.
I asked him:
What can you control that so far you’re not controlling? He stayed a thoughtful moment and answered:
I can be more attentive to “read the trajectory of the ball” in advance and prepare myself better for the coup.
I can run more to get there on time.
I can keep myself more active with my feet while I wait for you to throw a ball.
And you, in your work, in your family, in your personal relationships, what can you do to take responsibility and focus on what you could control instead of wasting energy uselessly trying to control what is out of your reach?