Are You Improving?

It can be disheartening sometimes when you want to get better in some way, shape, or form, but despite all your best efforts, it just doesn’t seem that improvement is happening.

When it comes to improvement, tracking progress is important. Then, celebrating your progress keeps you motivated to continue on working to improve.

But what if it looks like there’s nothing to celebrate? What if you don’t see any improvement?

I remember, when I was training as a Physical Therapist, I learned how to assess improvement. I now realize how similar assessing improvement in pain level is to assessing improvement in stress level.

If a client comes for physical therapy with complaints of pain, the therapist needs to know if the treatments are helping, if the client is improving. You can apply the same 2 principles to assess if your stress is improving.

1. Improvement happens in stages.

The first stage of improvement is that the problem stops getting worse. The pain stops worsening. Or in terms of conquering stress, the anxiety, anger, overwhelm, fear, etc. has stopped worsening. That’s improvement.

The second stage of improvement is that the problem decreases in intensity and/or frequency. The pain decreases intensity or is experienced less often. Or in terms of conquering stress, when you experience an unregulated negative emotional reaction, the anxiety, anger, overwhelm, fear, etc. is less intense than before and/or these reactions happen less often. That’s improvement.

2. Improvement is evident when the problem centralizes.

When a client comes in with pain in his back that goes all the way down his leg, right to the tips of his toes, improvement is evident when the pain is now down to his ankle. Further improvement is when the pain is just down to his knee, then just in his back. This is what is referred to as centralizing.

In terms of conquering stress, improvement is evident when stress centralizes. In other words, stress is no longer reaching its way into every area of your life. Improvement is noted, for example, when one was once anxious about everything new is now not anxious about driving, or meeting strangers, even if the other areas of her life trigger anxiety. Or another example, if one was feeling overwhelmed at work, at home, and at play, improvement is noted when overwhelm is only present at work and at home, and not at play.

Stop and reflect. 1. Was your stress getting worse and has now stopped getting worse? 2. Are there areas of your life that were once stress-filled that are no longer so?

Be aware of these 2 principles of assessing improvement in your efforts to conquer stress…and celebrate your progress!

Not seeing these improvements in your stress? Join one-on-one coaching and start seeing improvements immediately.

Here’s to conquering stress.

With heart,

The Stress Experts

Practical Strategies to Deal With Daily Stressors

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