The How Are You, Really, Checkup
Symptoms: You're stressed to the brink of hysteria.
Cause: Suppressed emotional trauma.
Remedy: Dig down under the surface.
As anyone who has experienced road rage—on either the venting or receiving end—can tell you, a lot of us are thisclose to losing it. And seldom is the cause actually the ice cream truck in front of you.
"So many people are overwhelmed," Webb says. "But rarely is what's going on at that moment overwhelming. Something has triggered the panic, brought up emotional history. They've postponed dealing with an issue that's been hanging over their heads for 20 or 30 years."
Oh, that! People who take Webb's course often uncover some fairly traumatic memory, and the same is true for Loehr's clients. They come to him for stress management but wind up bumping into the Big Secret they're hiding from. "You really have to pull the whole thing up almost by force," Loehr says, "but when you start uncovering it, it's not going to be a huge surprise."
Webb likes to remind people when they're freaking that if they admit they're not facing a man-eating predator, "they'd realize their fear is out of proportion to the current event." Simply recognizing that you're on emotional overload—not under attack from a man-eating predator—calms you.
Condition #4: Powerless