Each person has their own threshold for stress. One person may tolerate and endure so much more then another. What we all have in common is a breaking point! To understand what that looks like for you will help you decrease the chances of that happening. Nobody wants to appear like they cannot handle their life. However, if you do not take the time to understand your limits you will continually be in a vicious cycle of frustration or temporary fixes with no reward for your efforts.
My goal is to help you recognize the warning signs to gain control over stress before stress controls you. We all have a dialogue in our head that tells us the story about what is happening in our life with a particular problem or circumstance. In fact it is not the problem or circumstance that is stressing us out rather the story we tell ourselves about the problem.
My story tends to look like this, “if only this wasn’t happening I would feel better”, or “once I get through this I will be ok”, “I don’t think I can take this much longer”, “why do I always have to be the one to step up?”, “if things were only different I would be able to live my life” etc. I also tend to become short tempered, less patient, sleep in, don’t sleep, racing head, anxiety, depression, negative view, self pity, martyr, perfectionism, over-do, over achieve, stay busy, not to mention all the vices etc. All of these things just avoid the inevitable which is dealing with ourselves before the stress takes over us!
See what tends to happen is we start the dialogue in our heads that perpetuates more of the same negative self talk which then makes us more stressed out. The last thing a person wants to do when they have a problem is to stop thinking about the problem because it seems counter intuitive! The truth is if you don’t examine what you are saying to your yourself about your problems then you will continue to create the same result for the future. The very thing that you don’t want to do is just what you need to do to feel better. Let’s face it life happens to all of us with it’s blessings and struggles but if you want to feel peace in the “eye of the storm” then this is critical to your well being. You must change the messages you are saying to yourself.
Finding a new story that serves you will empower you as you are going through a tough time. Messages like “although I feel hurt/angry/sad this is temporary it will pass”, “I am exactly where I am supposed to be”, “there is a purpose for what I am experiencing”, “I may not understand this but I am open to learning”, “everything happens for a reason even when it doesn’t make sense more will be revealed”, “with every problem there is a gift”, “all problems have solutions” etc. Take care of yourself mind, body and spirit. Just as you say these gentle thoughts to yourself you can also do something physical to release the tension such as walking, biking, swimming, working out, yoga or whatever your thing is that brings your back to center. The same goes for nurturing your spirit where you do what connects you to that place of serenity whether it is prayer, going to church, a nature walk, reading, meditation, yoga, being of service to others or whatever your spiritual practice may may be. This does not mean that all the problems are gone but you are able to maintain your composure rather then hitting a breaking point. The stress may be there but you are in a different frame of mind to handle it!
We don’t have to let stress take over our lives. Stress can be both positive or negative so watch out for the warning signs. Life happens to us all. Just remember to take care of yourself especially during a stressful time. Take a time out for you to evaluate the story that you tell yourself about the problems in your life. If it doesn’t feel good then there is an opportunity to change it so you can feel better. Think about this carefully so the next time you don’t have to suffer the consequences as long from stress. Your self talk will be more soothing as you navigate difficult times.
I would love to challenge you to try this approach in your life. Leave your comments on the messages that you caught yourself saying about the problem and how you were able to turn around the stress in your life. Best of luck to you all in catching the warning signs of stress before you hit your limit. My hope is to that you have less stress and more peaceful days filled with joy and happiness.
Love, blessings and peace always,