Life Standard-Deviations

24 October, 2016

Are you expecting life to be perfect?  Do you interpret the deviations of life to be problems that need to be solved, so you can get back to a perfect way of being?  Well, if so, I have news for you! 

I notice this 'projection of perfection' a lot with my clients, especially those who have had issues with anxiety, as there is a lot of attention given to the future when we're anxious, wondering if it's all going to be OK.   We come to coaching and therapy to feel better, and we mistakingly think that feeling better, or, even, feeling good or GREAT, means that things will be a perfect straight line from then on.  We interpret the normal bumps and stresses of life as a sign that we're going backwards, or no longer feeling very good, which then causes anxiety again.

I have come to think of things differently.  Feeling good and resourceful within yourself is not the same as life being perfect.  Getting yourself into a resourceful space, and feeling good, simply gives you the resilience needed to deal with life's ups and downs.  A lot of people are also misinformed about resilience.  It actually means being able to cope when things are bad/challenging, not the absence of challenge.  I'd like people to think about coaching in the same way, you're simply making yourself more resilient, and equipping yourself with the resources you're going to need to cope with life's stressors. 

So, what happens is that if people get stressed or anxious about something, they panic, thinking they are going 'backwards'.  There is no backwards!  We haven't developed time machines yet, you can't go back, it's just not possible, you can only go forwards.  So you may get a bit too stressed, or too anxious for your liking, which is simply a sign to re-group, get resourceful again and continue forwards. 

Although you can't go 'backwards' there is such a thing as a downward sprial, which is when you get knocked around by life a bit much and your resources to cope start to dwindle, and before you know it you're 'stuck in a rut' as it were and those positive neurotransmitters that we need to feel good start to get depleted, which of course feeds into the downward sprial.   This is the time to certainly get help in some form, reach out and get some options for getting into an upward sprial again.

So, it's very simple, there is no straight line route into perfection.  Standard deviations (life's ups and downs) from this imaginary straight line are normal, and as long as you're coping and feeling resourceful, you're fine.  Enjoy the ride.

When things start to go downward and you start not coping, and not feeling resourceful, get help.

Listen to this inteview with American neuroscientist Alex Korb about depression and upward, downward sprials.

This can be seen in the very helpful diagram I've drawn below:

As always, I welcome your comments and feedback, so leave a message and let's chat.

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