Laura Gervais Talks Stress & Pressure


Someone once told me that stress kicks in when your brain realises that your to do list is much greater than your capacity to complete it all. Either you simply don’t have enough time, or you just don’t know how. For many of you reading this, this can happen often, even daily. So how can we manage this?

Stress and pressure are an inevitable part of growing up, but there’s always a difference in what is real and what we put on ourselves. The truth is, life will always throw more stuff at you. It will always throw challenges and new hurdles for you to overcome. But if you can equip yourself with the right mindset and tools to manage your stress levels, navigating through them becomes much easier.

So how do we keep pressure and stress in check?

Firstly, we only have a certain amount of brainpower to problem solve, communicate and deal with our emotions. It’s called cognitive load and the best way to imagine this is to think of the battery life on your phone. However, unlike your phone, you can’t put your brain on charge. But what you can do is manage how you use the battery, to not wear it down too much to recognise when it’s running low, so you always have something left in the tank to deal with stressful or highly emotional situations as they occur.

Mindfulness through meditation is a great way to calm you brain, lower your stress levels and give you back some brain power so that you can problem solve with ease.

While it can be easy to think all your time should be filled with stuff, its important to have nothing in your calendar for you to spend some time doing the things that you love. This might be simply listening to music, reading a book or spending time with your friends enjoying their company. All of which replenish your brain and give you back your superpower- your ability to be the most awesome you!

Being kind to yourself is also important. When you catch that voice in your head starting to worry or hear negative self talk happening, take a breath and acknowledge it simply isn’t helping you get anywhere.

Then, try and counter it by reminding yourself of when you did something you were most proud of – perhaps a time when you surprised yourself by doing something you never thought you could. Maybe think of examples of how you have already made an impact on the world? It can be as simple as remembering you made someone smile today.

Remember – positive self talk is the only kind of talk that serves you.

I was recently given a piece of advice from a very smart lady that I will remember forever, “remember that whatever is happening to you now will be a blip in this time line that is your life”.

When you think back about this moment of pressure or this stressful week of exams on this day next year, you will remember it as a blip in time. Everything passes and the days go on. Whatever feels impossible today, will begin to feel less bad tomorrow and even manageable the day after that.

If you think of your entire life as a 12 hour day, you haven’t even reached sunrise. Whatever happens, even if you fail and everything goes wrong, you have all day to turn it around. Maintaining that perspective when things get tough, I hope, will help you to realise that everything is going to be okay.

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