01 March 2007

Are You Pressure Sensitive?

A few weeks ago I was asked to get involved in a project with one of my long-term clients (for a new client of theirs). My immediate visceral response was “no” – not my thing really, not really what I do best but rather than simply get the message and respond, I chose to override it with my insidious thinking that I “should consider this” and not wanting to disappoint anyone I said “yes”. After all I was doing something to help my client and I thought “I can do this, I can make this work” and so it began.

One week on and I was feeling anxious. I kept telling myself “I’m a bit anxious and that’s ok and this will work” and I’d let go of the anxiety for a while and carry on. About the same time, I had my annual physical check-up and my blood pressure was higher than usual. My doctor suggested I monitor it for 3 months to see what was going on. Now I was anxious about this too!

Two weeks and many hours of thinking, talking, meetings, phone calls, emails and changing schedules later (and higher than normal BP readings every day) I presented to the client and it was a complete bust! Nothing worked for the client (or for me!) and at the completion the client said it was not going to work and my involvement in the project was terminated. I agreed and rather than feeling not good enough, I actually felt relieved! I felt much calmer than I had in weeks, I had a smile on my face and my body felt different, lighter and more relaxed.

As I was driving home, I realised that I had been putting so much pressure on myself (and everyone else) to “get the project right and make it work” that my wellbeing – physical, emotional and mental – was directly affected. And because I was so intent “doing the right thing” I ignored most of my anxiety and pushed it away. As soon as it was all over, I felt completely different. And the next day my blood pressure dropped significantly (and has stayed in the normal range ever since).

I saw again how easy it is to slip into agreement with my fear, rather than stand for what I know is right for me, even if it feels uncomfortable to say so. And the real epiphany was to see the immediate affect my emotional state has on my health and how quickly it can change.

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