Stressed to Impress

stress woman

‘How focusing saved me when I met a person whom I terribly wanted to impress’

Guest article by Professional Coach Lenka Grackova. Lenka was one of my first clients and has also followed 3.5 days training in Whole Body Focusing

I sit down in my living room and look at the clock on the wall. Good, I still have enough time to get ready before I leave my home. For an unknown reason, I feel stressed. I have this strange feeling in my belly, telling me that I am anxious. I do not understand why. I am going out to meet a person whom I did not see for 9 years. I am looking forward to meeting him again. I am curious how he has changed. I really liked him at that time.

I am still sitting on the sofa and feel frozen. I do not feel like standing up and get myself moving. I look at the clock again. I still have some time, and I can not leave in such a state. I need to take some time to figure out what is happening.

I tune in and get aware of each part of my body. I notice my breath, my feelings, my appartment, my whole being. I ask my body to reveal what is happening.

The first idea that flashes in my head: „I am going to be late!“. My logical side totally disagrees and tries to push the idea out of the away. I focus again on my belly. I wish I could run away from that tense feeling. Instead I open up. I tune into the nervousness inside of me. I relax and focus on what is happening right now in my body. I feel weak. My arms and legs are without any power. I open up to that feeling as well.

I feel powerless. Suddenly I get a flash in my head. I feel I am not good enough. I would like the other person to enjoy being with me. I want him to be impressed. But I am worried that I might not be good enough. An emotional flood open up and I let the feeling pour out. I stay with my feelings of insufficiency. Another part of me starts calming me down or maybe complaining again that I do not feel confident. I open up to both parts. I give them as much space as possible. Until they can make peace. They become friends and my tense feeling in my belly goes away.

I thank my body for all that it revealed to me. I feel very much alive and energized. I look at the clock. Damn. Now I need to hurry up!

On the way to the restaurant, I start looking forward to the meeting. The curiousity takes over. I feel light.  When I arrive to the place, I am almost on time (only 5 mins late). But finding a parking place seems impossible. I start stressing a little bit. Sending him a couple of messages that I am not able to find a parking place. After turning in circles for 15 more mins, I find a convenient place. I arrive to the restaurant 25 mins late. That’s a bit of a world record for me.  I feel a little bit guilty, but the guy is extremely understanding.

I celebrate inside of me that I did my focusing session earlier on. If not, I would be feeling uncomfortable with such a bad start to the evening, and  I would not be able to be myself. Instead we  have a great evening together.

Before leaving the restaurant, I check myself in the mirror and smile. Oh no! A big piece of parsley is stuck in my teeth. I do a quick calculation, it has probably  been there for at least an hour. I regret I was laughing that much. Then we go out from the restaurant and my friend offers to walk me to the car. Oh my goodness. Where did I park it? After being confused for a couple of minutes, I finally find my way.

After we say good bye and I go off in my car, I have to laugh. I am so happy that I did my focusing session. In the past with such „bad“ impressions, I would probably be driving back home devastated. Now I just think: What a funny story to tell! I need to share it with my focusing guide and teacher, Ruth Friedman.  My body was right again. I was terribly late and I surely impressed the guy!

About Lenka: She creates motivation and passion at work by individual coaching. and she works to help people bring the passion back to their job. Thanks to her international experience in multinationals, she learned that the problem was not to be different, the problem was to be different while trying to do the things the same way like the others.   More about Lenka



Memories Spinning Off – Focusing and a Fear of Flying



The young man told me he had a fear of flying – so much so, that he was working on it with another therapist.  He was curious to see what focusing would bring in helping him with this phobia. Lets take a look at what happened in Jospeh;’s  session ( not his real name)  which I describe here with his permission.


By way of introduction I asked Joseph what happens for him when he flies and he described the panic and anxiety that he often had before and during flying.  After our introductory grounding I invited him to get in contact with his memories in a physical way and we invited his body to show him something .  Right at the beginning of the session a lot of anxious feelings came up for him and he noticed there was a pressure in his chest.  It seemed that lying on the ground was a good position, lots of contact between him and the ground.  I invited him to really feel the ground.  Then I suggested that just for a moment, he get back into contact with the anxiety and then immediately to come back to bring his awareness to the ground. Already there was more calmness as he did this.


Then he announced that he needed to sit up – ‘you know, like in an airplane’.  I found us some suitable chairs – sitting opposite each other on upright chairs, not exactly like airplane seats but it seems to have been close enough.  I kept inviting him to reconnect with the anxious part and to keep bringing his awareness back to his feet and to the support from the chair.  Before long Joseph was on a memory carousel of challenging  flights – from years ago – in  Surinam, in Nicaragua, in Indonesia as well  as closer to home.  All I was doing was sitting opposite him and inviting him to feel the stable ground beneath his feet and the support from the chair.  And I kept inviting him to make space for whatever was there, over and over again.


A little while later Joseph informed me that the bad flight memory carousel was still going round, but spinning off –further and further away.  Suddenly Joseph reported that there is more space in him,  the memories still there – but  ‘over there’ and in him now – more space.  Something had shifted in him and my role was simply to remind him to bring awareness to the solid ground underneath him – and over here on my side I was extremely aware of my feet and the contact I had with the ground I noticed that my feet were warm and definitely connected to the ground..

Later on Joseph told me that he will be flying again very soon and that he could  see himself at the airport about to fly – The self he sees he sees is telling him ‘It’s going to be fine, I can handle this now’.

With focusing when you start a session you never really know what is going to show up, or even whether your body will want to go where you are intending it to go – sometimes other things that are more pressing need to be dealt with first .  Sitting over here as Joseph’s listener and guide I am struck again by the simplicity of this process, and its beauty.

In this situation where Joseph’s sense of  panic at the start of the session was almost completely overwhelming him, having a  listener was essential in his process. This is definitely not a topic to try at home!   Nonetheless the simple practice of finding the contact between you  feet and the ground  can help brings more presence, calm  and more aliveness , wherever you are and whatever is going on in the moment.