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.