Stress.

There’s going to be stress in your life, but it’s your choice whether to let it affect you or not.
— Valerie Bertinelli

Stress: a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.  

Synonyms- strain, pressure, (nervous) tension, worry, anxiety, trouble, difficulty

 

[click the image and find out how photography can help with stress]


We all face stress, but how we each deal with stress is different... 

It can consume you and drag you under if you let it. Stress is another detour on the road of life that can cause us to make irrational and self-destructive decisions. Stress causes anxiety and often can cause people to develop unhealthy coping skills to manage it

Here's some of my stress coping techniques that you could try to help you out.

The biggest coping skill I can tell you is to acknowledge and accept that stress is a part of life. No matter what, you can't run from it, so if you learn to accept stress and move through it, you'll be able to handle it better.  Stop living your life thinking "why do I have to deal with this?"...instead, change that thought to "I will get through this."  The more you tell yourself you can get through it, the easier it will become to manage the stressful situations you will encounter.  

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I can struggle with stress, I admit I could be quite the habitual person and because of that I've had to deal with needless stress and anxiety do to the only constant in life, change.  However,  I'm learning with each day that passes that if things change and I have to deal with stress from work or a situation I wasn't expecting...I just deal with it [really, there's no other way..it's unescapable]. 

Facing stress is like holding two magnets. When you push two negative magnets together it never works, they will never attract one another. Only when you push a negative magnet with a positive one do the magnets attract each-other. That's how you need to handle negative stressful situations...with positivity.

Stress can cause us to be down on ourselves, whether it be stress with family, work, relationships, friendships, etc...we often fall into the hole of allowing stress from these areas to overtake our daily lives and allow it to ruin our current mental state.  The key is to understand that when stressful situations happen, you have the power to allow or not allow it to mess up your whole day, week, month and possibly year.  

I often tell my clients to categorize the stressful situations in their life. We often prioritize the wrong situations.  With a list, we have a visual of the things that need immediate attention and the things that we can handle later [Try it out!].

If your car dies on the side of the road, you wouldn't just leave it and say forget about it, would you?  You would call someone to help you or call a towing a company.  You would handle it. 

Often, for many, anxiety paired with a pessimistic inner voice can cause us to believe that our situation is far worse than what’s actually happening.  The skill is to bring ourselves back to reality, to the present, to where you need to live...this takes time and practice.  [Read 'Becoming Present', a past blog post teaching you how to bring yourself to the present]


For instance, let's envision this certain situation...

Your boss sends you an email and says, "I need to speak with you, please see me in my office tomorrow at 9 AM".  

Where would your mind go? I'm sure most of you would go straight to..."I did something wrong, oh no, what am I going to say?"...

Now you have no idea. You've been doing your job like usual, nothing out of the ordinary has happened.

This is a time where your thoughts could get out of hand...how are you going to make it until tomorrow?  You can hardly finish the email without overreacting...

Get your thoughts in order.  Your boss wants to meet with you...take it as that.  Take on a different perspective, tell yourself that you aren't going to work yourself up over something you have NO IDEA ABOUT...face it when it happens. This is when staying present helps. Tell yourself over and over again how you can do nothing to change it now and to not allow something you have no clue about to ruin your current state.  

The meeting could be bad, could be great or it could be that your boss just wanted to ask you something in person, but that will be something you find out when you meet.  Only when you are sitting in that meeting will you able to control it.

So, the point of this vision...

 There is no point of causing needless turmoil in your head, stay present.


Stress can cause the use of alcohol and illegal substances to increase.  Not only can it cause those unhealthy coping skills, I know of many clients who state that can start to stress eat, not eat, smoke cigarettes, act irrationally to loved ones', have trouble sleeping, sleep too much, and make impulsive decisions.  People can develop serious problems because of stress.

Find your healthy coping skills to deal with stress.  I have mentioned in the past that exercising can help ease anxiety.  It can also help with balancing stress as well.  Not only does exercise aid in stress relief, but having hobbies and participating in things you like can also help tremendously.   Keeping yourself in the current moment and enjoying yourself is priority number one.  When we have too much free time we tend to create issues for ourselves.  It’s a common theme I see, we are creatures of problems...if things are going well...we believe "I don't deserve this, something is going to happen"...basically willing negative fortune on ourselves because a lot of the time we feel we deserve the bad things that happen to us and don’t deserve the good things. If things are good, GOOD be happy!  If things are stressful, realize like I've stated in previous therapy diaries, nothing lasts forever.

Now don't go to an extreme.  I don't want you to fill up your days with activities and work because eventually the stress and problems you're running from will catch up with you.  Balance.  Have a balance of things you do, make time for yourself to have fun, but have time for yourself to relax or to 'decompress' [this is what I call it for myself] and get your thoughts in order.  When we run from our mind, it sits and waits for us to stop and then holds out for the ideal moment to overload us [ideal meaning- the abosolute worst time].   This is when a 'mental breakdown' can happen.

As I always say, You are in control!  Stop acting like a victim of your circumstance and get things done.  If stress is on your shoulders, do what you can in the day to handle it.  Each move you make is your own decision.   Take ownership of your life choices.  Stop feeling bad for yourself because you have the power to better your life.

Lastly, a lot of people ask why I'm so happy all the time. Well I choose to look at the world through a positive lens.  The more stress and problems that come my way creates more opportunities for me to learn how to handle an array of different situations. This is not just for me, but for my clients...for you. I’ve had so many stressful encounters over the years. Sometimes I've handled these encounters properly and then there's times when I've handled them terribly.  Each one has developed me as a person.  I just take each day as it comes and try my best in the moment.

Every day is another day to make yourself better. With each stressful situation that comes your way you become stronger and more prepared for the next one.  Challenge yourself because that develops you as a person.  Stress is inevitable...face it and don't run from it, the more we run from things in our lives the more things follow us.  You have the tools to handle stress, use them!