Did you know that over time stress can alter your brain? When you continually make decisions with an exhausted and stressed mind, you can find yourself repeatedly in situations that don't serve you. What happens is that you practice a pattern that becomes your belief system.
For example, you think that keeping a budget is too hard. So you feel that you are not adulting properly. You might miss some bill due dates because you didn't set a reminder. Additionally, you failed to keep track of your spending and therefore come up short. You've now proven to yourself that yes, you suck at being an adult because you're forgetful and you don't manage your funds responsibly. This thinking can reach into other areas of your life where you feel challenged. Your self-worth can suffer because your thoughts of inadequacy keep producing the same results.
Free Your Mind
When you have long-standing thought patterns, changing them may feel impossible. It isn't. It does take practice and discipline.
Decide. You get to choose the way you want your life to be. What is the benefit of you achieving certain milestones? We can try to do too much in a short period of time and rush through vital steps. Start with small attainable goals and give yourself a timeframe to complete them. Recalibrating your thought processes takes consistency. You're working against patterns that have a well-worn path in your brain. Give yourself time to adjust.
Your body gives you cues when you have thoughts that just don't sit well with you anymore. You might feel pressure in your head or your chest. Your sympathetic nervous system regulates these flight or fight responses. It engages every time you feel something that makes you anxious because it reads it as a threat.
Check your breathing. You may need to slow it down or make it deeper, more intentional. Focusing on the breath signals the mind and body to a calm state, making it easier to respond to what is happening at the moment. There are many types of breathing techniques available. Experiment to find what best suits you depending on your needs at the moment.
Alter the way you interact with stressors. See them as information. What is your reaction to a particular situation trying to tell you? Acknowledge how you feel. Also question if your perception of an incident is true. The person that bumped into you on the bus and grumbled something does not mean that you are invisible and unworthy of respect. Whatever they were dealing with most likely had nothing to do with you.
Move it, Move it!
Now that you are calmer, let's get some more energy flowing through your system. In a group? You can excuse yourself for a moment, even if it's to go to the bathroom. If it's available to you, changing your environment is a helpful tool for shifting your focus. Moving your body to shake, stretch, dance or walk gets more blood pumping to your brain and heart.
Start building a mindfulness practice to help you before stress becomes overwhelming. As you find what works, you'll have accessible resources to turn to. You can incorporate movement, journaling, mindfulness, or an inspirational video; there is no limit to what's available to you.
We are in some stressful times. The pressure to maintain when all else fluctuates can feel like juggling with too many objects and not enough hands. Talking to friends and loved ones can help. However, they may also be struggling to stay afloat. The right licensed mental health professional can fill in the gaps and provide insight that our peers may not have the capacity to offer all the time.
A Deeper Level
Whatever your belief system, there is a power that connects us to all life. Our words and our actions have a ripple effect on us and others. This energetic system may go unnoticed until you start connecting to your higher self. Sometimes energies and feelings we sense are not actually ours, they are from our environment. Being grounded in who we are as a person allows us to process this awareness in healthful ways.
There is no quick fix to managing stress. It's trial and error and exploration. We're here to support your journey.
Unsure where your stress level is at? Take our Stress Test to find out.