Overwhelmed. Feeling like I am sinking, the water pulling me under. I struggle but I cannot pull free. What is wrong with me?
What’s happening? I feel like I can’t breathe. I need to get out. I want to run away.
Why can’t I do better? Why is this so hard. Am I stupid? I feel stupid, I’m a real failure.
Stress. Those are just a few of the symptoms of stress. We can respond both mentally and physically in stressful situations.
Stress affects us all and we each respond differently. Put two people in the same stressful situation and one may immediately show their distress while the other shrugs their shoulders and walks away thinking it was no big deal.
Short term stress usually will not hurt us and may be beneficial. It causes us to react and pushes us to respond quickly to get something done. Long term stress can be detrimental to our health causing insomnia, stomach problems, headaches, nervousness and can eventually lead to long term health problems such as heart disease.
What can we do to help eliminate stress?
- Talk to someone about what you are experiencing. Talk to a friend, a mentor, your doctor or a therapist. Heck, talk to your imaginary friend. It’s important, let it out. Talking will help you release some of your emotions and the tension you are holding inside. You may be able to relax and look at the situation differently, and even start to work on a solution.
- Exercise. Sometimes just going for a walk will help. Doing Yoga, Tai-Chi or Pilates is super relaxing. Any form of Aerobic Exercise is always beneficial and will release endorphins into your blood stream which will help you deal with anxiety and stress.
- Write about it. If you are not comfortable talking to someone about your problems, write about it. The process of writing will have very similar benefits. It will allow you to sort through your emotions and look for solutions. It will help take the pressure away by releasing some of your tension. Writing will help you visualize and see your problem better. It may give you a different perspective. Writing in a notebook and using it as a reference for the future is a good practice. It may help you sort through and manage recurrent stress.
- Manage your Time. Quite often we become overwhelmed because we are not managing our time well. We place unrealistic demands on ourselves and allow others to do the same. Take a deep breathe and really look at your schedule. Is there a better way to do things? Can you eliminate excess stuff that you really do not need to spend time on? Can you delegate it to someone else? Learn to say No.
- Try Relaxation Techniques. Splurge and have a professional massage. Listen to music. Try Meditation. Read a book, poems, positive quotes or the Bible. Spend time with an old friend. Play a game and laugh. Take a walk with your dog. Watch a funny movie. Volunteer.
- Learn to take care of problems as they occur instead of pushing them away or trying to ignore them. We know they are there. They will sit there and fester and your stress level will go up as a result. It will take less time to deal with them immediately. Just do it and move on.
- Change your attitude. Sometimes we can’t see the forest for the trees. We lose track of what is really important. Take a little time to think about why you decided to do your job or whatever it is that is causing you stress. You wanted to start a business, write a book, have a family. You were committed and you were happy doing it. Give yourself a chance to refocus.
- Redo your daily schedule by prioritizing what is important. Do the most important thing first. Get it done and out of the way. You will be more relaxed and be able to accomplish more of the smaller items later in the day.
One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from a horse master. He told me to go slow to go fast. I think that applies to everything in life. We live as though there aren’t enough hours in the day but if we do each thing calmly and carefully we will get it done quicker and with much less stress.”Viggo Mortensen
Life is after all what we make it. We are the one responsible for the choices we make and how we react to what happens every day. Life can throw us a lot of curves. Slow down, relax and be happy.