A Helpful Way to Understand Your Stress

Your emotional brain can’t talk to you like I can. I think it would like to because then you would understand it better. Lacking the power of speech is very frustrating for your emotional brain because so much of what it has to say to you – gets lost in translation. It can’t even write you an email or send you a text. So your emotional brain uses the only form of communication available to it: emotion. And the most common emotion it uses is stress.

There are two types of stress. The first is stress caused by the demands being made of us. The second is stress caused by our ignorance of what our emotional brain is trying to say to us.

Intuitively, factually this has to make sense. Let’s say someone comes to see me for therapy. We talk about what has brought them, build a supportive working relationship and sketch out a plan of action to tackle their issues. At the end of their first session they report feeling far less stressed. Why should this be? Their issues haven’t changed. We’ve only had one session! They are less stressed because their emotional brain feels listened to.

Therapy and coaching are befriending and translation services. They introduce us to our emotional brains so we can become best of friends. And they translate our stress for us, making it comprehensible.

The point I want to get across is this: a big chunk of our stress is the result not just of causes and triggers, but by our failure to listen to our emotional brain. Like someone knocking loudly at our front door, our emotional brains aren’t going anywhere until we answer it. Anyone who has experienced severe stress knows just how loud that knocking can get.

If you are experiencing severe stress then think about whether your existing conversations can befriend and translate your stress for you. If they can’t, then be good to yourself and talk to someone who can.