The Pit And Pendulum Of Stressful Weeks
How To Climb Out Of The Pit Of Isolation
As a Sales Person, I fancy myself to be pretty savvy at handling resistance and rejection. However, there are certain times in life when the pendulum of stress, energy and time demands push well past my tolerance levels. I sometimes spend my entire weekend pushing it the other way (like climbing up a mountain in the mud) out of the pit of isolation. It is my ability to redirect negative self-talk that allows me to plow ahead and make progress week after week.
I’ve spent several years battling anxiety. It started as a bullied child when I had a nervous tick that led everyone in the 6th grade to call me ‘blinky’. I remember what it felt like to have (what seemed to be) the whole world make fun of you. When I was 21 (and just married — for the first time) I joined the US Army where I gruelingly hyperventilated through Basic Training. Years later, I enjoyed a wonderful case of vertigo as my career was taking off — my world started spinning at the worst possible times (such as while driving on highways). It took me months of medical tests to figure out the obvious anxiety link. Me and stress have been bullfighting for years and I am not about to let it win.
So my pendulum can really swing both ways. I realize this about myself and understand that it is completely within my control to swing it.
Have a positive mental weekend marathon
Any time that you focus on anything negative, you give it life and bring about more of it. That includes yourself — if you are talking down to yourself, every cell in your body, every molecule is feeling that pain. Like Masaru Emoto’s Book Hidden Messages in Water, negative words can actually change physical structure thereby self fulfilling your criticisms into reality.
Only allow healthy self talk
It’s all about where your head is. If you like to obsess (as I do) let your mind obsess with loving and healing self talk for the weekend. If this is difficult to do, imagine having a discussion with your most loving relative — such as your (perhaps departed) grandmother. Every time a mean thought comes up about you, let Grandma assuage that remark with love. Your soul needs your help with this, and it is completely within your control. Disrupt the worry chatter.
Even if the current focus of your rumination is giving you some level of comfort (such as the verbal massage that those few draining people might ask you to endure when they call to vent about their misery) make it stop for the weekend. The fastest way to get rid of that thing that you are worrying about is to not give it any attention at all. Immediately expand your mind to think of bigger, more exciting things that bring you joy. Is it consignment shopping (or is that just mine)? Start there. Or think of your greatest dream in life. Take your head out of the current situation and focus on your passion.
If you are still feeling compelled to work through an issue, look for deeper meaning.
I once worked for a person who had just moved into a leadership position. His entire job was about managing me and 2 other female salespeople. He used to refer to us as his “angels” and behave in a demeaning manner. As this occurred over ten years ago, I wasn’t quite as mature or in control as I am today. Therefore, I made the situation much worse by openly expressing my resentment. I meditated on the situation and found myself in the back seat of his car, driving around with him in circles. He was driving himself crazy and was in a rampant state of stress and anxiety. I immediately saw the situation for what it was: a person who was so anxious about succeeding in his new role that he had no idea how to behave as a manager. I suddenly had the incredible insight and source of true compassion to assuage the pain that both of us felt and went on to remove that source of stress from my life.
Spend some time in an alpha state
When I was working in one of my earlier sales jobs, I became a very anxious driver after a series of incidents. I also had a huge fear of driving over bridges and through tunnels. Driving into New York City seemed like a nightmare to me. I decided to go see a hypnotherapist to get over my phobia. She happened to be based in midtown Manhattan. The hypnosis was so successful that I ended up driving myself home to New Jersey from my final visit.
The therapist gave me a guided meditation cassette to use at home. It was all about being at ease and in control. I listened to that cassette for years. When my anxiety from work got the best of me, I would listen to it nightly. What I realized soon after was that it helped to put me into an “alpha state.” An alpha state is where your mind is most relaxed and open to inspiration. I always linger in a state of meditation when I push my pendulum on the weekends, and almost always succeed as a result.
Spend as much time as you can visualizing, feeling and sensing your dreams throughout the weekend. Find the best way to engage yourself in this picture — are you a visual person? draw or look at pictures that represent your dream. Are you more of a listener? Download an audiobook of the topic, listen to music that puts you there. Sensory? Spend time creating and lingering over huge caldron of soup that represents your dreams.
While you are dreaming, dream about helping someone or something in need in the way that is most unique to you. The Dalai Lama talks about how the rising global anxiety may be linked to the human truth that “We all need to be needed”.
As Edgar Allen Poe said “They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night“
Rena Cohen-First is a VP of Sales who has sold in the Food Ingredient Industry for the past 18 years, selling to the largest food and beverage manufacturers in the world. She is the author of The Authentic Sale, A Goddesses Guide to Business. She has taught online business and leadership classes as an adjunct instructor, studied Professional and Executive Coaching, completed her MBA and Served in the US Army. She resides in San Diego with her two children and husband.