Stressed and Overwhelmed?
Many of us do not even realize that we are living in a constant state of stress. It has become a normality with inclination of anything out of order in our lives. We get up, go to work, come home, workout, go to school, have partner commitments, kids, social commitments. Many have tuned out, and kicked in a natural survival instinct living our lives on autopilot. Similar to the movie Click, where we go through the motions but experience life just as a ghost of our lives until we choose to wake up and stay present.
At some point stress can become overwhelming, and manifest in anxiety, sleep disorders, adrenal fatigue, body syndromes, illnesses, or something else. It is only when we take time for ourselves, we realize that the trinity (mind, body, and soul) is out of whack and we need to slow down to recover and properly hold space for ourselves. Many feel that taking a day of rest or taking a lazy day, is seen as wasteful or unproductive. But in fact it can be very effective as it allows your body, mind, emotions to heal. Our bodies cannot keep pushing past limits without regular sleep, self care, and the basic needs of a human being. When we take a step back, acknowledge our boundaries, start to meditate, we realize how out of alignment we truly are. This is when we begin to realize that every day feelings and behaviors are triggered and derived from survival instincts where we live in constant state of fight and flight. This means that your brain has recorded consistent danger warnings, keeping your body and mind alert at all times.Too be constantly alert at all times subconsciously, well that is frankly exhausting. You might find it hard to sleep at night, but your subconscious mind believes it is keeping you safe and alive by keeping you alert. Surviving trumps recovering from exerting all that energy and lack of sleep. It is hard to find inspiration in this mode or additional energy. Often individuals are overwhelmed with emotions and thousands of thoughts; too busy knocking out tasks and surviving life instead of staying present and enjoying life. Survival instincts are triggered by your familiar knowns in your subconscious mind, which alerts you and causes you to take action. The modern day survival is no longer based on surviving primitive animal attacks, but surviving demanding responsibility, overload from social media, news, work, and personal commitments, illnesses, etc. In modern day these survival instincts, fight and flight are seen as anger, depression, and anxiety. Overwhelming stress can best be explained with feeling as if all your thoughts and emotions are right in front of you screaming their head off for an immediate answer and relief. Can you focus when a group of people are constantly screaming at you with constant hurtful critique, demanding you pay attention and immediate action? No? Those scenarios equate to your thoughts and emotions flaring up in defense. Kicking in your danger alert mode, to activate your survival instincts.
Quick hit solution: Hit the pause button, take a step back in your mind, and take a deep breathe, and exhale. Even if you are in a conversation, hit the pause button, gather yourself, and take a deep breath (get some oxygen in your brain, chances are you were holding your breathe and cut off circulation to your brain trying to figure out how to handle the situation) tell yourself that you are safe and secure.
Here is a list of things you can do to take yourself out of stress-response mode:
Maslow theory: Make sure you take care of your basic human needs. Check in with yourself. Did you sleep well? Did you eat food? What kind of food? Was it enough protein? without sufficient protein your blood sugar levels can drop substantially and exastrobate emotions, fears, and stress.
Did you hydrate? Did you poop? Yes pooping and removing stagnant waste from your body is important too as if it stays too long in your body it becomes toxins seeping out of your intestine to the rest of the body where it does not belong, which in turn becomes poison. Ensure that you always take care of your basic needs first to get a solid foundation to deal with stress's in life.
Breathe. We do it all the time, but forget that breathing with awareness and deep exhales can make a huge difference. Not to mention provide additional oxygen to your brain. Take a deep breathe from your nose for 4 seconds, hold for 6 seconds, and exhale through your mouth for 7 seconds. When you exhale, it will mimic an action where you try and fog up a window or mirror to write a message on it or you can make sounds like Darth Vader. Repeat for at least 4 times.
Movement: Unprocessed emotions, and lack of movement causes stagnant energy, which can manifest as depression, anxiety, fear, procrastination etc. Go for a short walk, dance to your favorite song, do small workouts, like jumping jacks in the morning, some pushups a couple of hours later, and some squats. Whatever it is, mini habits become big impactful habits later and you will find that you feel better and lighter.
Laugh! Yes, laughter instantly makes you feel better, and it also helps shift out of downer emotions. It's easy, you’ve done it all your life. It is fine if you don't have anyone to laugh with. Access an old memory or a joke, and start laughing from your belly, and really laugh into it. Or imagine how a clown laughs, they seem to love crazy laughing. Do so for a minute.. Embrace how you feel after.. You will be amazed how quickly your energy shifts.
Meditate - Everyone is talking about it, whether they can't quiet their minds or have been partaking of the wonderful ritual of self-discovery and inner peace. Start with just 5 minutes. If you receive thoughts, allow the thoughts to come through, you are still meditating when that happens, because the first step into mediation is awareness of thoughts, and then bring back your focus to your breathing. How the air feels against the nose, how it feels to exhale out of your open mouth. If you feel your thoughts wonder again, bring it back and refocus. Don't worry it's a practice, and practice means you will succeed after practicing several times. Another easy way is to keep saying “one” like a mantra. It has the same frequency as love. Or “om” which has the same frequency as life force energy. Meditation is really about being aware of yourself, and what flows through you, and how you can still yourself. 5 minutes is all you need. You will find that you will become more aware of your feelings, get clear ideas and can find solutions to your issues with ease. This is because when you meditate, stay present, and breathe, you take yourself out of survival mode of fight and flight and put yourself in a vibration of creation mode. You cannot see your reflection in boiling water but you can see it in still water. Meaning when you live in chaos it will be hard to see a clear picture.
Sleep - most of us do not get enough sleep. Make sure to turn off the blue light on your phone at night, don't listen to negative tv, news, podcasts, or read anything dynamic or stressful before going to sleep. You will carry all that into your subconscious state and you could implement it in your subconscious mind which can manifest as anxiety and stress. Go to bed at the same time, our bodies love schedules, do some affirmations, gratitude and accomplishments from the day. Seeding your mind with positive information is setting yourself up for success. Allow yourself to have a great night sleep.
Do not dwell - Do not dwell on a conversation that might have taken up 3 minutes of your time, and allow it to linger in your mind consistently analysing the situation, what was said, and how you upset you are feeling hours later. Most of us carry situations and conversations in our mind and body for far too long thinking about it even after 24hrs. It was only 3 minutes of your life, why are you allowing this to continue to take your power away? Important is to understand what happened, acknowledge how it made you feel, and what you can do next time to change the situation for the better. Breathe, and think, will this matter in 5 years? will it matter in 6 months? chances are you wont even remember it, so if doesn't have an impact that will last as long as 5 years, then please do yourself a favor and forget about it. The only person you are hurting is yourself. You decide do you want to be miserable or happy?
Understandably with everything going on in the world today with the Pandemic, by now you have realized that your normal day stresses before the pandemic hit are likely not the same as what you are dealing with today. Is your situation better? or worse?
Do you feel more rested now? have you had time to understand how worn out and burnt out you were before the pandemic? What can change to make your life inspiring for you to live and enhance it with fun or a balanced work and personal life? During this time when the world took a pause, was there something you wished you could do before the pandemic that you didn't have time to work on before but now you have more spare time?
What can you do to live a more purposeful life that brings you a bounce in your step when you wake up out of bed, and passion to find what works best for you in your personal and professional life?
You might ask what this has to do with the article?
If you are not living an authentic life where you feel fulfilled from your job and personal life, that in itself can bring a lot of stress to your body, emotion, and mindset. Part of why many people suffer from exhaustion is not just a hectic life, but that they do too little of what inspires them, joy, and passion in their lives. What could you do for hours without batting an eye? Keeps you entertained, engaged, and a natural need to keep going. Could you turn it into a business? could you teach others how to do it? Find something that you are naturally good at and take your focus off of what stresses you out. Enjoy life more.
What can you do today to make your life more enjoyable?
Start with the simple stuff and build it from there. Focus on this and you will see how your life changes.