Since childhood, my emotions have included anxiety and phobia. I have never been diagnosed with anxiety, though my sensitivity to stress has impacted my professional life. I had to seek a non-stressful job with less money.
Born in the French countryside near Bordeaux, I grew up in a low-stress environment. This quiet life far away from the buzzing city was also lonely and isolating. I was shy and suffered from bullying at the local school so badly that my parents sent me to a boarding school where bullying was not allowed. It was an old-fashion school where discipline did not allow for the expression of personal feelings. I became an introvert.
FEAR OF STRESS
Is there anything like the fear of stress phobia? I spent years avoiding stress and situations (in fact reality) when I would cry and feel distressed. At that time, I hardly made the distinction between normal stress when creative answers are needed to move on in life and stress created when I had to obey rules. For instance, I disliked sport activities at school.
For a long time, I was socially shy and avoided parties with too many people attending. I even feared the ‘faux-pas’ that would make others laugh at me. Still, I dreamed of becoming a leader one day. I was aware that I could achieve more but somewhere I was stuck and paralysed by the fears of failing and being rejected.
STEPPING OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE
After years of quiet by unremarkable and not really exciting life, I moved to London. This was a bold move for me, but I trusted my gut feelings and followed my heart. I noticed that personal growth requires leaving the comfort zone. Leaving my family for a few months was tough but I knew that if I stayed, I would shrink psychologically and die. I never regretted my decision.
BECOMING SOCIALLY CONFIDENT
Meeting new people, having new experiences helped me gain personal confidence but I remained introvert for a long time after I moved to London. The big city can be a lonely place. Loneliness and boredom can also make you stress!
How could I achieve my vision of being confident among people? How could I even enjoy public speaking? I had the vision of talking to a large group of people.
Studying part-time in History and Archaeology helped increase my social confidence, but I was still uncomfortable talking in front of the whole class. I blushed when I had to do a presentation for the MA in Medieval History.
PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT AND THE BREAKTHROUGH IN SOCIAL CONFIDENCE
Despite being a postgraduate, I remained an introvert with little professional prospect as I was not clear about my life purpose. After a couple of poor financial decisions which wrecked my bank account, I sought help. I read a few books written by Life Coaches and explored the big books in personal development, notably ‘Think and Grow Rich’ by Napoleon Hill.
I realised that my behaviour and decisions were driven by my thoughts and beliefs system. I started exploring the causes and effects of my stress and noticed that when I turned to my values and gained clarity, I became more confident. I was not leaving someone else life anymore but mine. I accepted myself fully and it helped.
HELPING OTHERS ACHIEVE SOCIAL CONFIDENCE AND STRESS LESS
The Meetup site opened a new world to me. I went walking with other people and attended group coaching classes. After a few months, I enrolled in a life coaching course and I created my own meetup, London Stress Relief and Social.
I help other people now to break from isolation, communicate their needs better, and be socially confident. I also support clients with busy lifestyles who want to reconnect with themselves and what is important to their life. I organise Mindfulness-Based-Stress-Reduction classes.