Do you ever have one of those days where you simply feel overwhelmed by the amount of things you have to do? It is not uncommon for adults to feel stressed, anxious, overwhelmed, burdened or other emotions when it comes to having multiple priorities in a busy world. You must learn some ways to relieve stress.
Do you ever have one of those days where you simply feel overwhelmed by the amount of things you have to do?
It is not uncommon for adults to feel stressed, anxious, overwhelmed, burdened or other emotions when it comes to having multiple priorities in a busy world. You must learn some ways to relieve stress.
People often lead such busy lives they forget to take time for themselves. Between caring for children, working, extracurricular activities, housework and all of the other responsibilities that frequently accompany being a grown-up, adults fail to care for themselves.
This lack of self-care results in those stressed-out and overwhelmed moments. Adults begin to worry more and to deal with that worry less.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 40 million American adults suffer from anxiety disorders. Stress and anxiety impact more than just your thought processes. They also impact your physical health and have been associated with numerous medical conditions.
Here’s what you can do to help calm the stress storm inside of you.
Find a relaxing activity
Relaxation does not necessarily have to be sitting in a dimly lit room with your eyes closed while focusing on how your body feels and trying to clear your mind. However, relaxation techniques do work for many people and can be beneficial when things are particularly stressful.
Relaxation is more about finding what works for you. What will help you feel calmer? This could be a hot bath, reading a book, drinking a cup of hot tea, sitting quietly in a comfortable chair, lying down with an eye mask on, listening to music or going for a walk outdoors. Yes, even exercise counts as a relaxing activity. Find what helps you.
Take a breath
Heck, take three or four, and make them big ones. By taking deep breaths, you are calming your body, your heartbeat and your breathing. It is hard to feel calm when your heart is racing and your breathing is rapid and likely shallow.
Quiet time for a quiet soul
We live in a world with constant noise. The radio is always on, the television is on, the kids are talking (or yelling), people around us are talking and our jobs likely requires talking and listening, too.
Many people only find quiet time when they go to bed, often with little to no time before bed to allow their systems to unwind and calm. This means most are likely going to bed stressed and anxious, likely to find themselves waking to a similar feeling.
Television stimulates the brain; it does not calm, even though many people find it relaxing. Perhaps take ten minutes or more between turning off the TV and sleeping for "quiet time." You may find that you sleep better, wake easier and feel calmer in the morning.
While driving, shut the radio off for a while. Just take time to enjoy the quiet. Find a quiet spot to yourself at lunch. Just find some time without all of the noise. You'll be amazed at how much more calm you feel.
Often, people take on more than they can handle. But beyond that, people often worry about things beyond their control. So, take a moment to assess the things bothering you.
What do you have control of? What can you do about it? What is simply out of your control? When thinking of something beyond our control, take time to simply acknowledge the worrying thought, but do not add to it.
We often add to worrying thoughts by constantly thinking of the worry, finding additional worries related to it and finding that the worry has grown. A children's book on anxiety relates worries to tomato plants: the more you water them, the more they grow (“What to do When You Worry Too Much: A Kid's Guide to Overcoming Anxiety”). So, next time you're worrying about something you can't control, ask yourself, "Am I watering the tomato plant?"
It's OK to ask for help
It is not uncommon for adults to feel as though the stress and anxiety they feel is "normal" or is something they can "handle on their own." However, when stress or anxiety are interfering with your life or are consuming your thoughts, it may be time to seek additional help.
Friends and family are phenomenal first resources. They can oftentimes serve as a sounding board, listening to problems and offering advice when solicited –– and sometimes when unsolicited.
But friends and families can only do so much. So when things start to overwhelm you on a regular basis and anxiety or worry becomes the norm, do not hesitate to contact one of the many valued therapists in your community for additional help.
Therapists are trained professionals to deal with concerns such as anxiety. Therapists use a variety of theories and techniques to help people, most of which start with the very basic concept of good listening. Therapists also provide empathy and can offer suggestions for coping skills and ways to reduce further anxiety.
Trisha P. Malott is a licensed clinical social worker in the Department of Psychiatry at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.
-- Be Healthy Springfield (Ill.)