“Stress level: extreme. It’s like she was a jar with the lid screwed on too tight, and inside the jar were pickles, angry pickles, and they were fermenting, and about to explode.” – Fiona Wood
Look, we all feel stressed from time to time. It’s OK to feel stressed from time to time. Its normal. However, high stress is not something that should become a constant. Although a little of it can help at times, in order to reach a deadline, or achieve a goal that is important to you, it is not healthy for it to be a daily occurrence.
The odd thing about stress is that we often don’t see it. Sometimes, it is only when we are on the other side of a stressful time that we can look back and say, ‘Wow. I was really stressed just then, wasn’t I?’
In order to look after our wellbeing, and become resilient individuals, it is important to be conscious of how we are feeling. Spending time reflecting on the self and searching your mind and body for stress is valuable conscious practice. To prevent yourself from getting over stressed, here are some of the questions you might want to ask yourself on a regular basis.
1. How Are You Sleeping?
One of the tell-tale signs of over stress is regularly experiencing a bad night’s sleep. We’ve all been there. Everyone has experienced nigh time tossing and turning, trying desperately to switch off the noise in their heads. If you can’t put your unrestful rest down to anything (late night coffee, sleepless children or bedtime screen time), then perhaps you need to look at how to take your stress levels down a bit.
2. Are You Feeling Overwhelmed?
Knowing that you are feeling overwhelmed is sometimes hard to see. This is due to the fact that feeling overwhelmed comes from you having to many thoughts, concerns, and pressures swimming round in your head, all fighting for priority. Adding to that the clarity and brain space to required work out if you are overwhelmed or not can sometimes seem impossible. So, if you are stressing out over the amount of unchecked boxes on your to-do list, perhaps its time to take a thing or two off your plate.
3. How Is your Focus?
Over stress often leads to a lack of focus and motivation. Its not that you don’t want to focus or feel motivated, its that you neither have the emotional or physical energy to care as much as you would like. Fatigue is a common symptom of over stress and can seep into all areas of your life.
4. How Is Your Fuse?
If you are feeling irrationally angry or are noticing that you are being a little short with other people than usual, then perhaps you should examine your overall stress levels. Again, this is something that we don’t always see. Often only become aware of when somebody else brings it up. This is another reason that regular self-observation is of huge benefit.
5. Are You Feeling Down?
Anxiety and depression come to us for a variety of reasons, and stress is certainly one of them. Therefore, if you are feeling down and can’t quite work out why, it may help to focus your energy on destressing your life.
6. Are You Doing Your Job Properly?
I once found, at a time of extreme stress, that my anxiety and lack of focus eventually led to me not doing my job very well. I thought that I was doing fine, and that I was still doing a passable job despite how down I was feeling. However, my bad performance was brought up by a superior, and it turned out that I had been falling short. This led to me ultimately dealing with my stress. But I could have avoided this situation had I recognised and tackled it much earlier.
7. Are You Worried?
Uncontrollable worry. Are you always worried? Are you worrying about things that are not under your control? Perhaps you are worrying about hypothetical situations? Take a step back and a deep breath. Is it stress?
What is common when answering all of these questions, is that they are only answerable when we take a moment to reflect on the self. Stress will always be part of life, but over stress can more easily be avoided when we take time to listen to our emotions.
By Chris Thomson
Emotional resilience is part of what helps us to deal with stress. So, you’re in luck? Because last year taught many of us how to be more emotionally resilient! What 2020 Has Taught Us About Emotional Resilience
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