Life is stressful, right?
Imagine this emotion of being overwhelmed is a vibration in your body.
Things happen, and at times it feels unbearable. But being overwhelmed is a feeling, which is good news. Imagine this emotion of being overwhelmed is a vibration in your body. In fact, all emotions can be conceptualized as a vibration in your body. Now imagine that you can handle this hum inside you. It is uncomfortable, you don’t like it, but It won’t actually harm you.
If you are in tune with your body, I invite you to pause and notice where you feel the pulse of stress. I am sure most of us can describe how anxiety feels in our bodies. Strain expresses itself as muscle tension, nausea, finger tingling, lip numbness. I invite you to pause, close your eyes and process the stress physically. It is right there for you to notice, then start to work on breathing through it. Side note: Since we experience stress in such a physical way, exercise is a fantastic way to work through it.
There are the stressors we choose and the stressors that life hands us.
School, jobs, moving, divorce are examples of stressors that we choose. No one is forcing us to do any of them, and honestly, we can walk away from any of these stressors. We do have the choice to walk away from relationships, from jobs, from mortgages. There may be consequences if we walk away, such as loss of income, loss of partnership, going into bankruptcy, staying in an unhealthy marriage, but that is always a choice. It is kind of crazy to think about since we so often feel stuck, but we do have options (thankfully).
The second type of stressor is one that we don’t choose, such as sickness, death, taxes, pandemics, natural disasters, layoffs, abuse, etc. You do not select these situations, but you can learn to have agency in how to think about it, and there is a journey to heal from the stress.
Our brain deals with stressors in phases
In the acute phase, we typically have a fight or flight mode, where we will respond to survive automatically. When my daughter was born and was a little over 2 pounds at the time, I did not think. I was just there, reacting, surviving, responding.
Once the fight or flight is over, we start to reflect and process the stress. Several weeks later, after my daughter was born and I was home, she was still in the hospital. The emotional enormity of it hit me. I am sure my parenting style, and all the emotions I had for her, were partly informed by how my brain responded to those first few parenting months. I wish I had realized I was traumatized at the time, I am sure some therapy would have helped me, but instead, in typical doctor mode, I toughed it out. It worked out fine, thankfully, and I managed to have twin boys two years later. People still say to me, “I don’t know how you did it?” Honestly, I have no idea other than I just did it.
One thing I know is that more stressful events came, and I processed each one differently. Some took years to process, and others are just gone from my conscious, and subconscious. Now that I know the tools of thought work and meditation, it makes it all so much easier, and the processing of it so much faster.
Here a few things can help in a world that feels overwhelming and a series of stress-inducing events.
- Give yourself forgiveness for feeling like crap. How you feel right now is how you feel. The more you are in a hurry to get out of feeling like crap, the longer you will feel like crap.
- Human beings are built for community. ASK FOR HELP. This stoic American independence “show no weakness” is total harmful bullshit and honestly against human nature.
- When you receive help, make it a point to offer to help others. Giving at a time of trauma, or soon after, sounds counter-intuitive, but giving back, even a tiny amount (and not to the end of martyrdom), but giving creates so much mental health and internal strength that lasts.
- Talk to someone, journal about your experience, create the intention of processing it. Both during and after the trauma, make an effort to process it in some way. You will learn so much about yourself and frankly about those around you. You will learn how much you really can handle, and you will know who you can rely on for the support you need.
You got this! As I say in almost every hypnotherapy session; Life is messy, challenging, gorgeous, and you can love all of it anyway.