Why does it seem like everything gets worse when we are stressed out?
I usually have a high tolerance for stress, but there are times where it seems like one thing happens, and then another, and things just to pile onto the list. Individually, they really aren’t that hard to deal with, but when they start building on top of each other, that’s when the chaos happens.
Then, in the midst of the crazy, there is one thing that actually seems to be going right… until it goes terribly wrong.
The stress of these few things stacked on top of each other, seems to start affecting our relationships. We get shorter with the people we care the most about, and we start pushing them away, without even realizing it.
People deal with stress in different ways. Some people get mean and respond in aggression. Some retreat into isolation, or fall into depression. In other cases, people resort to addictions, like smoking and drinking. I for one, tend to get “bossy” and controlling. When my life is in chaos, I feel the need to control SOMETHING, and usually that means trying to boss around other people.
Luckily, I have people in my life who notice when I am being a psycho, and they try to snap me out of it. As hard as it is to hear, and as much as I hate having someone burst my bubble, I know that it is much needed. That is when I know that I need to have a serious gut check with myself, and I need to take a time out to take a breather and revive my mental health a little bit.
However, there are those times, when I have to be self aware of my own mental health, because I can’t always rely on other people to fix my problems. So here are some ways that I have found that work for me when dealing with stress.
I know this sounds so cliche, but I’m serious. Sometimes, you just have to stop for a minute and take a few deep breaths. Sometimes the “three deep breaths” rule works for me. Other times, I need a little longer, and I need to push it to five minutes. If I get seriously heated, I need a lot longer… like a few hours.
You know yourself best. You can usually tell how much time you need. If you are still coming from a place of pure emotion, you might need a little longer to calm down.
2. Analyze the emotions that you are feeling.
Emotions are scary. We don’t like feeling them. Emotions like anger, anxiety, and sadness are all healthy emotions. We live in a society that is uncomfortable with dealing with those emotions. But bottling them up ends up just hurting US in the long run.
They might be scary, and you might not like them, but it’s OKAY to feel a little uncomfortable for a moment. Analyze what you are feeling. Once you recognize the emotion, then analyze WHY you are feeling that way. WHY do you feel anxious? WHAT is causing you to be stressed out? HOW is your stress affecting your relationships, and your work life?
3. Make plans.
One of the unhealthy ways I deal with Stress, is that I try to isolate myself, because I feel that if I lay my problems onto the people around me, I will just be a burden to them. Isolation is probably one of the worst things that you can do for yourself when you are dealing with something as heavy as Stress. So make plans.
Find a friend that encourages you, makes you laugh and helps you realize that you are not alone in your crazy life. Find someone who will hold you accountable, and who will check on you to make sure that you are okay when you start to hide in your “Cave of Misery.” Go volunteer somewhere. Interact with other people. Chances are, your circumstances are not as bad as you think that they are.
4. A little R&R time is good.
If other people are in the house, I usually have to go find a quiet room, and spend some time by myself, doing something that refuels me. I am Christian, so often, that means spending some time reading my Bible, and then praying and meditating on what I’ve read. I also enjoy listening to podcasts, and crafting. Or if I am feeling particularly “ambitious” on my day off, I like to binge watch a TV show and avoid the outside world and leave my phone in the other room.
5. Make “No” your best friend.