We experience emotional stress when our emotions are affected by extended pressure in our environment. It can have different levels of severity, ranging from lack of motivation all the way to depression. Before we get into the methods to cope and resolve emotional stress, lets go over some symptoms.
The main things you will experience when you have too much emotional stress:
- Feeling tired, anxious, or depressed
- Frequent headaches
- Signs of holding stress such as clenching jaw, grinding teeth, shoulder and neck pain.
- Irregular sleep
- Upset stomach and other digestive issues
- Heaviness in your chest (often associated with increased difficulty to breathe)
Note that likely you will not have all but some of the above mentioned symptoms.
So, lets get into some of the strategies that you can use to lessen emotional stress.
Get to Grips With Your Struggles by Journaling
Before we are able to tackle the problem, we need to know what it actually is. Journaling about your daily experiences is a great way to get an in-depth overview of what is going on in your life.
When you journal, I suggest to really dig deep and focus on the emotional aspect of your day. It is all about paying attention to your thoughts and feelings and gaining a greater understanding about them. Writing a couple of paragraphs in the evening before you got to bed is an excellent way to get to know yourself better.
You are bound to come across some emotional stress triggers as you write and reflect on what you have written. Once these are identified, you can workout what needs to be done to either avoid them in the future, or to prepare yourself for the next time you experience it.
Rest your mind
Emotional stress affects us the most when we are focused on it. I know when I get stressed out, I can spend hours on end just dwelling on the issue. This is quite an unhealthy coping mechanism, and doesn’t provide any solutions.
I always try to find activities to do in which I don’t have to actively “be present”. Take watching a movie for example. Your brain is given something to focus, instead of dwelling on your inner troubles. Other examples can be reading a book, engaging in a loved hobby, or just talking to a close friend about how much you love your pet.
Exercise in another great activity since it boosts your body’s ability to deal with stress as well as lets your brain relax.
Practice Mindfulness Via Meditation
Mindfulness is a practice that can bring the body and mind to a place of peace and calmness. This is a strategy that is especially useful for those moments where we feel overwhelmed by our emotions.
What mindfulness teaches you is to live in the moment and not only feel but to understand the mind-body connection that we all have. It will help you figure out what calms you down, and this can be applied when you come across your emotional stress triggers.
It is a very viable tool to keep your emotions in check. We all know that we make bad decisions when we are too emotional, and being able to avoid this is just one of the many benefits of mindfulness.
Once we get comfortable with mindfulness techniques, we can apply it whenever we want. Remember that practice is key and it will take a while before you become proficient with mindfulness and meditation.
What are some other things I can do?
Stress can also be directly linked to deficiencies in other area’s of your life. Make sure you maintain a healthy lifestyle first before you try any more advanced techniques.
The first suggestion I have is to make use of a routine in your life. Having a routine makes implementing solutions much easier. You can find our article about how to create one here.
There are other aspects in your life that contribute directly to your ability to handle stress:
- Getting enough sleep. The best way to get a good sleep routine is to go to bed and waking up at the same time every day of the week.
- Exercise regularly. The minimum suggested is 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week.
- Maintaining a varied diet to ensure you get all the necessary vitamins and minerals that your body needs.
Talk to a Therapist
It will come to no surprise for me to say that if you feel that you don’t have full control over your emotions or have seen no improvement but have tried everything you can yourself, that you should seek the help of a trained medical professional.
Therapists and other trained staff will be able to not only have a good conversation with, they can also provide you with a custom road map on how to solve your individual case.
Wherever you are in life, keep on grinding and everything will sort itself out, I promise you that!