Stress is in the mind – part 2

Your beliefs about yourself are the root cause of your stress. Don’t believe me? Contact me or read on to find out why.


Epictetus Greek philosopher professed that people were disturbed not by things but by the views they took on them. In other words, your perceptions and beliefs determine how you feel. The cognitive psychological view is that stress occurs when the pressure exceeds your perceived ability to cope with it, which is just another way of saying that believing that you can overcome difficulties and challenges will lead you to feel calmer.

As you have gone through life, your beliefs about yourself, your abilities, and your life have changed and evolved. As a young child, you believed that anything is possible and just like a super hero you are capable of achieving anything in life. You could not see limitations and barriers and you looked at life with an awe of wonder. Then you became more conscious of your environment and others around you. You started to hear views such as, life is a struggle, it is not possible for you to do or to achieve certain things, you will never amount to anything, you are not pretty or handsome enough, you do not deserve rewards, you are not good enough, not smart enough, not strong enough, and so on. With that, the super hero in you began to diminish and slowly disappeared. You might not even have believed those negative statements at first however as life went on and you experienced failure on the way, you drew the conclusion that those ‘fake’ truth were facts and built a belief system around them.

No wonder, that you feel overwhelmed by life’s challenges when you do not have the basic belief that would help you to cope, which is ‘I can do it’. Knowing that you are able and capable to fight your battles and overcome difficulties in life would reduce stress in your life significantly. It might not always easy to overcome difficulties in life but it is certainly possible. I am certain that you could list a number of occasions when in the past, you did manage to do what you are currently stressing over and when things just turned out to be fine. I accept that sometimes things do not turn out the way they were planned however in order to reduce stress it is essential to look for evidence on the contrary.

A good way to start managing stress is by noticing what your mind is telling you. I bet that most of your self-talk is negative because if it was not, you would not experience high levels of stress right now. So, what is your mind telling you? I am guessing the most common response would be ‘I can’t cope’. When you hear yourself say that that is the time to close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Then ask yourself the following questions:

Where is my evidence that I will definitely fail or that I will not be able to do this?

What are my personal traits and skills, which will help me, cope with this challenge?

When in the past did I manage to overcome a similar issue? How did I do it?

Here are 4 short questions that you can ask yourself when challenging your own beliefs and assumptions:

Is it logical to think that way?

Is it realistic to think this?

Is it helpful to think this way? (How is this limiting way of thinking helping me?)

Where is my evidence for this assumption to be true? (Is it a fact?)

Let’s face it, most of our assumptions are fictions and have little to do with facts.

Taking all the above into consideration, it is fare to conclude that stress is in your mind.

By taking the standpoint of an observer and beginning to monitor the way you think about yourself and about possibilities in life you will start to reduce tension and stress in your life.

Stress and you

Stress affects every corner of your life. Find out how the stress beast operates by contacting me or by reading on.


The stress beast rears its ugly head from four corners of our lives, health, career, relationships, and finances. It has been documented that people who suffer from health issues are prone to high levels of stress and anxiety. Stress can also come from family life, from a break up or from tension with your spouse. You might feel stressed at work due to strained relationships with your colleagues or superiors or due to feeling underappreciated or overwhelmed by the workload, you required to handle. You might feel stressed right now, because you fear for the future, as you have no financial stability in your life. Stress is just everywhere and it is coming at you from all directions.

The word stress became part of our everyday vocabulary but most people are unsure as to how we come to experience stress. What is stress? Where does it come from?

The term ‘stress’ was coined by Han Seyle back in 1936 and it was aimed to describe the consequence of disruption of homeostasis through physical or psychological stimuli. Well, that was a mouth full, wasn’t it? J So, let me try again. Stress is a condition that results from the perceived discrepancy between the demand of the situation and the social, biological or psychological resources available to deal with it. Stress is a physiological response to our thoughts and feelings that signal to the body that ‘we are in danger’. When you are faced with a perceived threat, which is usually ( hopefully) not a lion charging at you but everyday threats such as, ‘I won’t meet my deadline’, ‘I don’t know how and when I will be able to get a job’, ‘I can’t pay my bills.’, ‘I can’t deal with this feeling of loneliness’, ‘I can’t face talking to my boss’ and so on, an automatic biological response, called the fight or flight response (Cannon, 1929) is activated.

This response mobilizes the body by setting off a chemical alarm that originates in the hypothalamus, which results in stress hormones being released by the sympathetic nervous system, including the hormones of adrenaline, nor epinephrine and cortisol. Of course, it is important to have a healthy level of stress in your life as it spurs you on and keep you going but the danger is being in this high arousal state for a prolonged period as it can harm your health. Not even mentioning the psychological distress, it causes.

Because of stress, you could be experiencing headaches, muscle tension, nausea, dry mouth or diarrhoea and in the worst-case scenarios, heart attack, stroke and diabetes.

Stress could also influence your psychological wellbeing and you become moody, restless, agitated, anxious, and possibly even depressed. You know that you are stressed when you catch yourself feeling angry or you change your eating habits by eating a lot more or a lot less to what you would normally eat. Stress can also manifest as procrastination and in over doing activities.

Stress affects your body, your mind, and your behaviour. So, ‘How to stop this disruptive cycle?’.

The key is in the mind. Stress can be reduced by taking control of our thoughts and by changing the way we respond to situations that are considered to be stressful. Talking therapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Stress Coaching are highly effective and are recommended if you suffer from intense levels of stress.


Self-Belief Coaching is built on Cognitive Behavioural Coaching principles and it aims to help you to build your Self-Esteem and Self-Confidence as well as assisting you to become more assertive. You will go on a journey to find out how self-doubt, lack of self-esteem and self-confidence affect your life and your ability to change your life. You will start to recognise the relationship between your thoughts, feelings and actions. You will begin to discover how you can improve every aspects of your life, being relationships or career by learning to transform your thinking patterns and by trying out new, more empowering behaviours. During the coaching process, you will develop new skills and will begin to build your self-esteem and self-confidence. You will start to see your self-worth, value and appreciate yourself and your abilities. By the end of our coaching sessions, you will feel happier as you will know how to move forward and change your life.

Tips and hints for telephone interview virgins

Man and woman looking positive at the prospect of getting a job interview.Telephone interviewing is a popular choice among recruiters at the pre-screening stage of the recruitment process, due to the fact that many candidates can be evaluated at a minimal cost to the company. In recent years there has been a drop in permanent and temporary jobs in the UK, which indicates that there is a fierce competition for all types of jobs. It is therefore essential that you, the job seeker prepare thoroughly when given the opportunity to have a telephone interview.

These interviews are usually brief, lasting no longer than 30 minutes, so during this short time you have to give all you’ve got. It is useful to have your CV or application in front of you incase you are asked about it or you need to refer to it.


It is almost guaranteed that your knowledge of the company you are applying to work for will be tested. Find out as much as you can about the company in advance. Look at the history of the company, their products and services, what they are most proud of, what their best selling products are, what sets them apart from their competitors, what the size and structure of the company is, what the career prospects at that company are.

You also have to be clear on why you are applying for that particular role, meaning you need to find out as much as you can about the role in advance. Having a pre-prepared answer to the questions ‘What attracted you to this role?’ and ‘What makes you the best candidate for this position?’ will help you during the interview.


First of all make sure that you are by the phone at the agreed time. Answer the pone by announcing your name and remain polite throughout the conversation. Speak calmly, clearly and succinctly without using any jargon. Listen to the questions asked carefully, you can even make a quick note of the question on your pre-prepared notepad incase you loose your thread while you are attempting to answer the question.


Although interview questions differ from company to company there are some commonly asked questions for which you can plan your answer for.

  • What are your strength and weaknesses?
  • What are your main skills?
  • Where have you worked previously and what experience and skills have gained while working there?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
  • What benefits/inputs can you bring to the company?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to motivate others / influence others opinion.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to show initiative / had to take the lead / had to make a quick decision.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to work under pressure / had to deal with conflict.
  • Tell me about a time when you went beyond the call of duty or received a compliment.
  • Give some examples of team work.
  • What motivates you?
  • Tell me about the biggest challenges you had to face in your career.
  • What qualities do you bring to this position?
  • What have been your main achievements and disappointments and why?
  • Give me an example of a time when you had to use logic and problem solving skills.
  • Tell me about a time when you set a goal and you were able to achieve it.

Of course, the exact questions asked are unpredictable however if you think about all the above and talk to friends and acquaintances who had a telephone interview you put yourself in a winning position.

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