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The Pusher’s Dilemma: How to Channel Stress Productively

At my worst, I’m a pusher – a ‘pusher’ in the sense of what I do to myself (and others) physically, mentally, and emotionally when I am stressed. I know this and have worked at reducing this urge for a number of years. The fact is, though, that when I’m worried and anxious about something, I push.

I insist. I shoot forward. I press on. I make sure something urgent gets done no matter what!
Now, while this tendency may be perfect in a real emergency, all it does is cause me and others problems otherwise. My lizard brain may feel something is an emergency, but is it really?

Is getting something on my list that I may need in a month or a year while I’m going in that direction anyway really a good use of my time? Is protecting something or someone I care about with physical, mental or emotional impenetrable cement really a good thing to do? Is it absolutely necessary to get something needed done this week rather than a month from now? If so, then fine. But is it really urgent, or does it only feel urgent to me in that moment?

In order to tell the difference, I’ve developed a method that is turning into a habit for me:

First, and most critically, I’ve learned to recognize the signs in my body that tell me I’ve gone into urgent mode. Upset stomach, acid reflux, a buzzing in my chest and arms, an urgency to get up and do something. Your personal physical signs may be different. These are all physical sensory signs that feel a particular way and tell me to take note. When I first began to take note, it was often several hours after an event. It took me time to gain awareness of this feeling. Even so, building that awareness whenever I was able to notice it led me to being able to have that awareness when I needed it.

Then, I take some long slow breaths. This is something I’ve now done long enough that it’s become automatic. At first, I had to tell myself to take those breaths, and it was surprisingly difficult. What I really wanted to do was take action or wallow in remorse. Taking the breaths helped me ground and shift perspective. So essential!

Once I make some space inside myself by taking those breaths, then I decide what I can do that might actually support a positive or helpful solution.

If you’re a pusher, like me, see if what I do works for you, or you’re welcome to try it out and change it to suit who you are that works better for you.

This seemingly simple change will most likely be very hard to accomplish. But it’s worth it, because it will not only change you for the better, but change your impact on others for the better.


Quote of the Week

Meet people where they are. Your impact can be easy or challenging depending on your ability to respect others boundaries.”

– Germany Kent


Get comfortable with being uncomfortable


I hope you enjoyed this article. When you’re ready to take the next step on your life journey, book a free 20 min consultation with me.