Living with Stress

Stress : pressure or tension, quantity measuring this; demand on physical or mental energy, distress caused by this.

Nobody lives a stress free life, if you’re aiming to live one, it’s not that you’re aiming too high but maybe just off target.

To live is to encounter stress and whilst we can actively live more or less stressful lives, generally there’s a baseline level of stress in just being. Nothing ground breaking I know. Whilst I’ve always been an unnecessary worrier and cared too much what other people think, over recent years stress seems to have been building to a point where my usual coping mechanisms seem overwhelmed or worn out. So it’s led to a bit of soul searching and reflective thinking.

My stress to worry ratio has become disproportionate, worrying shouldn’t in itself be a stress. Problems can either be dealt with or they can’t. Overthinking them, trying to outthink them or solve the unsolvable is a waste of time and energy. Too much sleep is lost, then follows worry about the effect of losing sleep. So, the problem with this isn’t actually the wasted time and energy. It’s the negative energy that finds it way into the positive parts of your life, that hinders the enjoyment of things you should be enjoying, the negative shadows the positive and takes centre stage.

What to do?

1.Identify old stressors that you still fear and let go of the anxiety surrounding them. For example, losing sleep- my children aren’t tiny any more, they sleep through the night so I need to let go of the anxiety I feel when I get woken up or if I end up with a late night.

2. Dismiss the stress you have no control over.

3. Don’t let others project their stress on to you

4. Don’t worry what others think, problems they have are their problems not yours.

5. Focus on the positive, be the person you want to be, enjoy all the small things. Live and love.

If this isn’t enough, talk, write, see, hear your problems out loud. Confide, cry and heal. If your world is still too dark – seek professional help. Sometimes the light needs turning on by someone else to chase away the shadows and put you in a place to start.

I let go of a particularly stressful, drawn out event this week, my breakthrough was realising the problem wasn’t mine and handing ownership of it back. Whilst it’s not gone away, I feel lighter, brighter and back to enjoying life. So if you find yourself in dark spaces hopefully this helps.