Overcoming Stress

All of us have to accept some anxieties.

Back in the day, when I was working all the hours God sends, I suffered terribly from the effects of stress.  Everyone around me suffered too because I was bad-tempered, impatient, irritable and moody.

We all experience stress, to a greater or lesser degree.  In fact without some stress we couldn’t function ~ our minds and bodies need a little stress to feel alive.  However, too much stress is bad, and far too much stress can kill you.

Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one.  ~  Hans Selve

The proximate causes of stress and distress vary from person to person, but the usual suspects are:  Bad News, City Life, Too Many People, Mindless Bureaucracy, Being Discriminated Against, Bullying, Work, The Rushing Woman’s Syndrome, Dysfunctional Relationships, Failed Relationships, Sex, Sexual Dysfunction, and the Death of Someone Close to You.  And then you might have your own particular reason to feel that you’re under intolerable stress.  Of course, there is also a chance that you are seriously mentally ill with something like Borderline Personality Disorder.

People with BPD are like people with third degree burns over 90% of their bodies.  Lacking emotional skin, they feel agony at the slightest touch or movement.  ~  Marsha M. Linehan.

The warning signs that stress is adversely affecting your mental and physical health are;

  • Apathy and Depression
  • Chest pains
  • Crying
  • Diarrhoea
  • Drinking too much
  • Headaches
  • Inability to relax
  • Indigestion
  • Insomnia
  • Intolerance of and over-reacting to noise and disturbance
  • Irritability and a bad temper
  • Lack of concentration / brain fog / poor memory
  • Palpitations (oh Gods, did I suffer from heart palpitations!)
  • Tiredness and an inability to get things done

The symptoms associated with stress are in themselves so distressing that they are likely to make you even more stressed.

Many of us will approach our doctor if we feel under intolerable stress and are suffering from one or more of the very serious symptoms listed above.  What your doctor is most likely to do is prescribe you some powerful psychoactive drugs; Celexa, Cymbalta, Klonopin, Lexapro, Librium, Paxil, Prozac, Tofranil Valium, Viibyrd, Wellbutrin, Xanax, Zoloft… to name but a few of the very powerful chemicals your doctor could give you.

All of these drugs come with a load of side-effects, from tiredness, to sexual dysfunction, to feelings of dread, to wanting to commit suicide…  Reading the leaflets that come with these drugs can be a very sobering experience.  In my experience these drugs will either detach you from reality so you don’t worry about anything at all, or they will have an adverse effect.

If you’re lucky, then your doctor will also / instead refer you to some ‘talking therapy’ such as; Cognitive Analytic Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Counselling, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, Gestalt, Group Therapy, Hypnotherapy, Mindfulness, and Psychoanalysis.  Alternatively you could take yourself off to a 12-step group like Alcoholics Anonymous.

I love going to my AA meetings and I don’t think I will ever stop.  ~  Davina McCall

Drugs act fast, but all they do is mask the symptoms and make you ill from the nasty side-effects. Talking therapies and 12-step meetings will eventually make you well again ~ but the key word there is ‘eventually.

So what can you do to help yourself overcome stress?

Breathing is good.  I mean slow deliberate breathing with serene and peaceful visualisations is good.

When I was under extreme stress I would take myself off to somewhere quiet, maybe into a church or public garden or down to the beach, stand or sit, or lie down comfortably, and really slow down my breathing, and at the same time I would breathe very deeply.   Concentrating on my breathing I would listen to the sound of each breath, imagining it was the gentle sound of soft surf washing in and out on a white sandy beach under a blue sky.  My breathing in and out exactly matched the sea gently washing in and out.  After just a few minutes of this breathing exercise I always felt immeasurably more peaceful, and ready to face the next thing the day was going to throw at me.

Learning how to relax is the cornerstone of helping yourself to overcome stress.

‘Ha!’  You say; ‘If I knew how to relax I wouldn’t be so stressed…’

Breathing exercises are recommended by doctors and psychiatrists everywhere as a method of relaxation to overcome stress and anxiety.

Being better organised also helps alleviate stress.  The best way to begin being better organised is to start writing things down, keep a journal, keep your diary and day-planner up to date, make lists, always have a to-do list, never go shopping without a shopping list…  If you think of something you need to do, write it all down and then stop worrying about it.

Break big tasks into a number of smaller parts, and write a list of those smaller tasks with the date and time they need to be completes ~ then stop worrying about it all.

Learn how to say NO.  Being at everyone else’s beck and call all the time is a sure-fire way to put yourself under extreme stress.

Stop using social media first thing in the morning, or late at night, and especially don’t look at crap like Twitter and Facebook when you are pressed for time.

Learn how to love yourself.

Get plenty of good quality sleep.  It’s hard to sleep when you’re under stress.  If you really have insomnia, then it may be worth asking your doctor for something to help you sleep.  But only rely on sleeping medication for a couple of weeks ~ these drugs are addictive.

Make reducing the stress in your life your #1 project, something you practice all the time, every single damn day.

Extreme stress can make you extremely ill, and it’s well-known that happy people are healthier than stressed-out and unhappy people.  Make ‘don’t worry, be happy, and start living…‘ your daily mantra.

Happiness is a choice.  You can choose to be happy.  There’s going to be stress in life, but it’s your choice whether you let it affect you or not.  ~  Valerie Bertinelli.

And please, please don’t resort to booze or recreational drugs, they make things worse very fast, and you can trust me on that one.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

click on the book

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18 responses

  1. The negative effects of stress seem to occur the most, and ramp up exponentially when we feel we have no control over our life. It might be constant deadlines at work, or a demanding boss, or constantly trying to do an impossible number of things in a day.
    Earning enough money to live upon can force into activities or jobs we are not happy doing, and can create a cycle of self destructive behaviours that result in even more stress.
    Stepping outside of ourselves and looking at the causes from an objective viewpoint is very cathartic.

    Years ago when I was working too hard, not sleeping enough, and had lost the ability to relax and have fun of any kind, my partner told me I was a mental case and that I needed Prozac.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I dutifully went to the doctor to request Prozac because I had lost sight of why I was so stressed. Power to my doctor, because after asking me a few questions, she said…you are not crazy or mentally unstable. You are stressed because you have a job that you don’t like and a partner who is neither caring nor supportive. You cannot continue with this. You must change your job, your partner, or both to find relief! I changed both! Happiness came in spades after that.

      Stress is a fight, flight response to something that your body sees as a threat to survival…. Adrenaline gives you a hormone response that gives you super energy for running away very fast. Adrenaline doesn’t work so well when someone dumps another stressful job in you ‘In Tray’ at the office. Stress hormones unspent will eat away at you until you no longer know yourself, nor even care about yourself.
      If you are stressed, all of Jack’s suggestions will help, but you must work to find the source of your stress and change it, no matter how hard the battle to do so.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Being at the beck and call of others, having to put the wishes of others before your own, having all the responsibility but none of the authority, being out there on your own with no support from your partner… these situations are bound to make you stressed. We all need to learn how to say ‘No, I’m not doing that…’
      Fight or flight may work well when you’re faced with a sabre-toothed tiger, but all that adrenaline does you no favours in most situations we face in modern urban life. We all need to learn how to stay calm.
      Thank you for your comments. ❤ ❤ ❤

      Like

  2. Chk out The Tapping Solution by Nick Ortner. I got my copy from the library.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. Noted. 🙂

      Like

      1. Let me know what you think. =)

        Liked by 1 person

  3. All very valid suggestions…loving your posts these days!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the compliment. Maybe the biggest ting to reduce stress is learning how to say ‘No’more often. ❤

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  4. Excellent blog! Why is it we have to get older to realize this!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I can so relate to this. I’ve gone through stress several times throughout my life and it only seems when she merging goes wrong for me physically I literally take a step back. I’ve yet to find a way to effectively manage my stress before it’s to late. Great article and a wake up call.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you ~ maybe learn to say No more often? ❤ 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I wish it was that simple. My stress reliever is riding my bike which helps considerably. But it never ends the day to day struggle that life throws at us 👍

        Liked by 1 person

  6. This is a good useful reminder post! Thanks!! I too was under crazy stress from working crazy hours!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Stress is a terrible thing. Hope you’re over it now. ❤

      Like

      1. Trying…by taking on a mindless job or a job that uses 10% of my capability haha!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Excellent article. I like your blog. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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