- Mental Health
Stress Management - Help with Overwhelming Stress
Feeling Stressed Seems to be a Part of Modern Life...
We all face stress at some point in our lives. Most people handle the day-to-day stress relatively well, but there are times when it all seems just too much. Being prepared mentally and having a few techniques "up your sleeve" to deal with stress is a good idea.
I have written some techniques that have worked well enough for me that I wish to share them in the hope they give you some relief from your daily stress and even help in times of extreme stress.
I am an optimist and always look at the bright side. My life has had a few tragedies and I am not all that extraordinary. It is just life “happening”. We all encounter some of these in the normal course of life.
What do I exactly mean about tragedy?
Sure there are the biggies, like tornadoes, floods, earthquakes and wars…those affect huge numbers of people; there are other crimes which again are sensational and reported by the media. They affect a smaller portion of persons. Both create a lot of damage emotionally and require professional help.
There are also the quiet tragedies happening in families every day, the passing of loved ones. Conflict at work and home. Personal injury or illness. Even a loss of a beloved pet.
Who among us, of a certain age, has not lost a beloved family member or friend? We all have - or will. It is simply a fact of life.
When I was young, everyone I knew was hale and hearty. M y parents were healthy and I had the energy to keep going no matter what. Sure there were bad days along the way, but nothing overwhelming.
It wasn't until I was 29 that the first overwhelming event happened. There was no reasoning, no remedy, no answer. I lost a brother to a traffic accident; a totally senseless one at that. He was a passenger in a car. The gamut of emotion was unbelievable. There was no relief, none at all. The stress level was unbearable at the time.
"One must not let oneself be overwhelmed by sadness".
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
I ranted at at the injustice of it all. I was devastated. Six years later I lost my other brother. I went through the same process, but I had learned some techniques by then. However, the feelings were overwhelming.
Luckily years passed before my spouse suffered a stroke and the resulting turmoil that ensued, I won’t go into it, I managed to get through.
Only a year after my husband’s passing my stepmother was diagnosed with stage four cancer and within the year I was arranging her funeral. Was I overwhelmed? Yes, and that is an understatement. I had to reinvent or find myself, because all my references to who I was were disappearing. Three years later I lost my adoptive mother to cancer as well.
What helped get me through?
Focusing on the good parts of the day…like sunshine and the pattern of clouds, birds singing and watching waves crashing to shore….and yes, importantly, the moral support of a few close friends and family…and solitude …just being quiet and trying to take care of myself in all that turmoil...giving myself room to grieve.
Stress in many forms...
We all need shelter, food and clothes. After that, in a devastating situation one needs quiet and rest. Being overwhelmed is a signal the system is overloaded with stress and needs time out; a break from the stress.
The stress comes in as many forms as one cares to imagine...
Financial ruin…it happens from divorce or squandering spouses or other unforeseen circumstances. Loss of jobs, loss of health, loss of dignity, loss of everything.
Then there is the everyday stress of just too much to do and too little time to do it in. We have all been there at one point or another.
Somewhere in that situation, the soul needs rest to restore the equilibrium. That was the one thing that kept me from being completely overwhelmed. REST. I refused to take on any further stress, if I had a choice.
One remedy that gives solace is: prayer. It is amazing what the simple process of prayer does. No one to censor your words, outpouring of raw emotion that must be expressed and dealt with. Liberating. Read on for other remedies that worked for me.
Getting some control back
Though we control much of our lives, there is much completely out of our control, no matter how well we plan. Those are the tragedies I speak of that can overwhelm.
Here are my suggestions that worked for me...until the clouds lifted...and eventually, they did!
- Focus on what you can do at this very minute and do that little thing (you will feel a little better doing it)
- Let your mind go blank for periods of time, listen to music that relaxes you (it is busy in your head and you need to clean house so to speak, so you can deal with the moment)
- Go out in nature and away from noise if you are able…the calming affect is wonderful
- Talk to a friend, tell them your problem, but do not keep repeating it…tell it to “get it out” and then focus on your friend as much as you can muster. The change of focus helps. They can share your burden but don't stress them out!
- Remember to eat, but try not to eat too much
- Find a group that shares your problem…use their resources to find solutions
- Spend some time alone to think upon what is the next step you can realistically take
- Get as much rest as you can get
- Take good care of yourself