Are you feeling stressed or overwhelmed?
Well, you are not alone!
In our culture, stress management has almost become a mandatory pursuit.
According to the American Psychological Association, 75% of adults reported experiencing moderate-severe levels of stress this month. And The American Institute of Stress reports that 80% of workers feel job-related stress.
With such a high degree of stress in our culture, The World Health Organization has officially declared stress to be the health epidemic of the 21st century!
We stress about key areas of our life, like our career and finances, to the more mundane aspects like where we left our keys or what we will pack for a trip.
We focus so much of our energy on the “what ifs”, that we waste so much time worrying about things that may or may not happen. This causes us to fill our heads with varying concerns and stresses, sometimes without realizing we are even stressed.
But what effect could this stress be having on our well-being?
Could this stress actually be slowly killing us?
Well, according to research it could be!
Stress correlates to disease through its ability to increase cortisol, adrenaline, inflammation, clotting, and blood vessel damage. This, in turn, can lead to issues like hypertension, strokes, depression, heart disease, ulcerative colitis, bronchoconstriction etc. It has actually been found that 80% of diseases are related to stress!
With an awareness of the impact of stress, we must move forward in developing the tools to combat this epidemic. We must reflect upon our own mental health, and take the necessary steps to address our own stress levels.
So look at your life and ask yourself if you are stressed or overwhelmed about something.
But do you even realize you’re stressed?
Stress can show itself through a variety of mechanisms including anxiety irritability, changing eating habits, or sleep disturbances. Sometimes these occurrences may seem “normal”, and you may just be brushing these disturbances off as such.
However, the good thing about stress is that you can expect it! We will never be completely rid of stress in our lives – stress is unavoidable. It will always be there, somehow managing to squirm into your life.
Therefore, if stress is often expected, we can plan for it! We can create an action plan to lessen the effects of stress, and bring about more ease into our lives.
Here are some helpful tips to prepare for life’s overwhelm:
1) Get Organized
Get your environment sorted out. A lot of our stress comes from feeling out of control, so take back the control by getting yourself organized! You don’t need the added stress of not being able to find your favorite shirt in the morning so make sure all of your clothes (and other belongings) are organized. Once you start to add organization to your stress management toolkit, you will start to notice that stress trickle away.
2) Tackle the Problem
Make a list of all of the things that are overwhelming you in your life right now. Don’t ignore the problem. Instead, tackle it head-on! You don’t need to do everything all at once. Instead, break everything down, and work through it in small, manageable steps. What is one baby-step you can take to relieve some of the stress? Once you know what you need to do, do it!
3) Take Care of Yourself
Sleep well. Exercise well. Eat well. Repeat. Sleep, exercise, and nutrition are all KEY to your stress levels, so if they are out of whack then expect greater levels of stress! Stress management doesn’t have to be hard if you implement small self-care habits. It’s when you let yourself go, that stress can become too overwhelming.
4) Deal With Your Emotions
I repeat, DEAL WITH YOUR EMOTIONS. Don’t brush your pain and anguish aside. And don’t cover them up with food, shopping sprees or other external escapes. Choosing to look at your emotions, and empathizing with yourself is a great stress management strategy. Manage your emotions because if you don’t, they will catch up with you (and you will be left with even more stress and overwhelm).
5) Reframe Your Stress
Take back control over your stress by reframing it. Take a step back and ask yourself why you’re feeling stressed. Stress can be a sign that something needs to change. So view stress as an opportunity to improve your situation. Perhaps stress is telling you that there is a relationship you need to re-evaluate. Or maybe you just need some additional organization in your life. Reframe your view on stress so that stress doesn’t control you or your happiness.
SO IN WHAT AREAS IN YOUR LIFE ARE YOU FEELING STRESSED (AND HOW DO YOU PLAN TO MANAGE IT)?