What to do when you are getting overwhelmed?
How do you handle stress?
How do you balance inner peace with everything else?
Life will without a doubt give us the opportunity to experience good and not-so-good days. You will have the days that leave you feeling fulfilled and utterly connected to the life that you have and the purpose that you are living. You will have days that hit you harder than a Mike Tyson uppercut. Leaving you in emotional pain and with tension that flows from the mind to the muscle.
I like to think about life as a journey. On this journey you have a backpack. Mine is black and with lots of space. The purpose of my bag is to carry items and to remove items. At times I add in experiences that ground me or support to shift my frown to a smile. During other periods of my journey, I am diligently working to empty certain items in the bag. For instance, a negative interaction at work. The interaction left me feeling low, stressed, and insecure. My job is to work to remove the negative components of the interaction. If not, then it’s likely for me to carry the experience with me. In addition, it’s likely for you to make this a habit. The habit of adding in negatives and this system over time highlights why we may struggle with managing stress.
I mention the term, habit because people are closely connected to their habits. Consider if you see someone that is physically fit. You can literally see the muscles poking out of the shirt. An educated assumption would be that the person engages in exercise. At this point, it’s clear to understand how closely people are connected to their habits.
The topic is habits are mentioned to connect it to the journey of life. You are carrying a backpack. The purpose of the backpack is to carry items that serve you and moving those that do not. The principle of habit comes in with creating a habit that allows you to routinely add in items of life that serve you and remove those that do not.
Common reasons why people experience stress include:
- Taking on more than what they can handle or release.
- Taking on new changes.
- Death of a loved one.
- Financial problems
- Experiencing challenging times in life.
- Divorce or separation.
- Loss of a job.
- Taking on new changes without preparation or a plan on how to address it.
- Moving to a new location.
- Adding worry upon worry with no practice implemented to reduce worry.
Ways to build a healthy relationship with stress so that you do not feel overwhelmed:
Ground yourself with supportive words.
The power of words is beyond measure. I’m sure that you have had an experience in which you gave yourself words of kindness or someone else gave you those words. During this moment, you probably felt uplifted. Empowered.
You can be your own healer.
Try using positive supportive words. Below are examples that you can play with:
- I am strong and beautiful.
- I can continue to move beyond this moment.
- Today has been a challenging day and for that, it is okay for me to stop and slow down.
Santos Counseling PLLC has a group of amazing counselors that help people learn that they can without a doubt live their best life. Counseling starts with an intake session that gives you space to ensure that the counselor you are working with is a good fit. You are able to share your story, ask questions, build a solid game plan focused on achieving objectives and goals. Over the course of sessions, you will start to learn creative ways to address stress.
Practice grounding exercises.
A simple grounding exercise is to give yourself 10 minutes three times a day. Once in the morning, in the middle of the day, and in the evening prior to bed. Spend 5 minutes in meditation. This can simply be closing your eyes and breathing in and out for 5 minutes. In the next 4 minutes write down what you are grateful for. The last-minute focus on how you want to enter life with a positive mindset. Such as “I will enter life with a projection of self-love, kindness, and compassion.”
Pick up an object near you.
This can be anything from a leaf on the floor or a pencil next to you. Pick up the item and think about how it feels. Run your hands gently across the top and sides. Think about how it feels as you touch it. If you can squeeze it, then squeeze it. Do your best to play with it so that you are creating an experience.
Overall, the activity takes 1 to 2 minutes. Though it can be longer.
Go for a centrally focused walk.
This is a short walk lasting under 10 minutes. During the walk, focus to count your steps. Think about the rhythm as you move each foot forward. Explore how your feet feel when you touch the ground. As you walk do your best to help your mind focus on the task at hand, that being counting the footsteps.
Explore supportive questions.
The questions listed below aim to help you navigate stress so that you can build tools to address stress. At the end of the day, we are likely to experience stress. It’s important to develop a method for how we react to stress.
- How do I deal with stress?
- Why am I doing what I’m doing?
- In the past, what did I do to deal with stress that helped to reduce stress?
- What to do when you are getting overwhelmed?
- How do you handle stress?
- How to you balance inner peace with everything else?
- Are there ways that I add stress to my life? (for this question take time to explore boundaries. For instance, a person may add stress to their life by always saying YES. Often saying YES to everything leads a person to doing too much. Which directly makes their day and to-do-list overwhelming.)
Take 3 minutes to identify categories.
This is a fun and supportive grounding exercise. The goal is to focus on identifying categories based on topics or themes for the duration of two minutes. The last minute is for you to create a supportive affirmation as you enter life. An example of an affirmation is, “I am strong and fully capable of taking on what life gives me. and if I am not able to handle it in the moment, I will put it to the side and address it later.” Examples for themes or topics include identifying animals with four legs, fast cars, destinations that are tropical, and more.
Visualize yourself doing something that is fun or brings you pleasure.
This grounding process connects you to an activity that you enjoy to some degree which helps to promote inner peace. Let’s picture that you enjoy fishing. One of your favorite parts is sitting on the boat and holding the rod. Patiently waiting for a fish to bite. You can practice visualization by focusing on what the process looks like for you. From putting the bait on to tossing the line into the water. This may sound silly to some. I encourage you to try it out. You’ll notice a sense of peace and calmness.
Imagine yourself flying a kite.
The kite represents the feelings that you want to let go off. During this grounding exercise, take time to imagine that the kite represents the tension you feel. Slowly allow the kite to lift into the air as you release more of the line.
Connect with your body.
During this grounding exercise, take time to identify where your body holds stress. Once you identify the location, take time to soothe it with a gentle supportive rub. Let’s say that you feel the tension in your arms. Take 5 minutes to sit with yourself. During the 5 minutes start with a gentle massage that goes from your hands to your shoulders. As you massage your arms, you are welcome to include supportive words in addition to the massage.
Play with your pet.
For some, it’s cuddling with their pet dog while for others it’s playing with their cat. There are ample articles that go into detail in sharing the positive relationship between calmness and interacting with a pet. To ground your level of stress, take time to play with your pet. You can evaluate if this works by exploring the before and after stress levels. Of course, the goal is to stabilize or reduce the stress.
Try a weighted blanket.
You can purchase them just about anywhere. The weight is usually connected to your profile versus selecting a random weight. When feeling stressed, take time to snuggle with your weighted blanket. Let’s imagine that you are stressed and feel overwhelmed. The feeling shifts to create aches in the body physically. Taking time to lay on your bed with the weighted blanket. The weight helps to create a sense of support. Very much like receiving a comforting hug.
Take a supportive e-course.
The overcoming anxiety online course helps people learn healthy ways to cope and manage stress in their life. The course gives you video lectures with education and skills that you can apply right away. The course has worksheets aimed to help you learn how to overcome the challenges you are experiencing.
The art of self-awareness if mastered can create transformation. Self-awareness helps people build a strong and healthy connection between mind and body. For instance, with the practice, you are able to recognize when stress is impacting your life. Typically people find themselves at the end of the line when thye realize stress is taking place. For instance, Bob in his first session shared that he felt overwhelmed. The therapist asked him when did he notice he first felt overwhelmed.
If you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, counseling can help. Our office has counselors that can help.
Call 335-663-6570 to schedule your counseling appointment.