We’re living in very trying and challenging times. Technology and advancements have made things more complicated than the simple life our ancestors had.
Sometimes life can be terribly painful and unfair. Why do some people manage to get through it easier than others? They have better tools.
Society as a whole is more stressed. Millions of people are in record levels of debt. Many are losing their jobs, their homes, their health and sometimes even their sanity. Worry, depression, and anxiety seems to have become a way of life.
It seems like we’ve entered the Age of Anxiety. In fact, Time magazine once proclaimed this in one of their issues. The constant stress and uncertainties of living in the 21st century have indeed taken their toll. The result is that many people are now living in a state of constant fear and worry.
When the 9/11 terrorist attacks happened, this became magnified. In fact, even now, years later, people report they are still scared every day. They worry that something of that magnitude will happen again.
Turn on the news or open up a newspaper and you’re bombarded with disturbing images and stories. You begin to wonder if you’re safe anywhere. The information age is providing us access to unlimited data. Most of what is covered by the media is unsettling and disturbing news.
Having more women in the workplace adds to the stress. Many women feel the need to be everything to everyone, and that includes a paycheck earner, housekeeper, mother, wife, daughter, and sibling. Trying to cram everything in and do it well is a huge stress factor. Women are so busy doing, that they don’t make for themselves and if they do they feel guilt. This cycle is a losing one, and it’s driving stress levels to an all-time high.
Even children can feel the pressure of stress and anxiety. Teenagers who want to go to college feel pressure to obtain scholarships. They need part-time jobs to earn money for extras that their parents can no longer afford. Add peer pressure into the mix, and you have a real pressure cooker!
Mobile phones, smart-watches, tables, laptops, internet, social media – we are always on the go and still reachable. There’s no downtime in life anymore.
We’re so busy that we’ve forgotten how to relax and our minds are always going over what needs to be done.
We feel pressure to do these things because we think we HAVE to, not because we WANT to. It’s difficult for people just to say “No.” Not saying that one little word piles up un-needed expectations and obligations that make us feel anxious.
All of us will experience situations that may cause us to become stressed or feel anxious. The reasons are endless but here are a few everyday stress triggers; buying a property, career pressures, having guests stay over, being bullied, exams, looking after children, managing finances, relationship issues, deaths, illnesses and even traveling.
Stress is a ‘normal’ function in everyday life. Only when it starts to take over your life does it become a problem.
Everyone reacts to stressful situations differently. It’s usually when we don’t feel in control of a situation, that we feel its grip tightening around us causing extreme stress. Regain that control and lose the stress.
You have everything inside you that you need to overcome stress and the accompanying anxiety. You can gain the upper hand on stress.
Let’s first look at the barriers we put up that are preventing us from becoming healthy and getting rid of our anxiety and stress.
Blocking behaviors keeping your stress alive
There are three obsessive behaviors that you are likely to be engaging in that impeded your healing process and stop you from enjoying life.
Recognizing these barriers is the first step toward getting rid of the problems that happen when you’re too stressed.
The first is obsessive negativity. When you are obsessively negative, it means that you have a tendency toward looking at all the things you don’t like about people, places, situations, and things in your life. Is your cup half full or half empty? I believe it’s half full and you can too.
If your internal voice is telling you things like, “You can’t do this!” or “No one understands!” or “Nothing ever works,” you’re sending yourself negative signals. You may be doing this unconsciously, so you need to tune into this voice.
It could be holding you back from knowing what it’s like to view life from a positive lens and enjoy the beauty in yourself and people around you! There’s a whole world out there for you…with happiness and positive thinking.
Then you have obsessive perfectionism. When you engage in obsessive perfectionism, you are centered on trying to do everything “just so” to the point of driving yourself into an anxious state of being. You may find yourself making statements such as, “I have to do this right, or I’ll be a failure!” or “If I am not precise, people will be mad at me or won’t like me!” Again, this behavior may be totally under the threshold of your awareness, but it interferes greatly with your ability to enjoy things without feeling “uptight” and “stressed.”
Finally, there is an obsessive analysis. When you are obsessed with analyzing things, you find yourself wanting to re-hash a task or an issue over and over again.
For instance, you might find yourself making statements such as, “I need to look this over, study it, and know it inside and out…or else I can’t relax!” or “If I relax and let things go without looking them over repeatedly, things go wrong!”
While analytical thinking is an excellent trait, if it’s done in excess you never get to stop and smell the roses because you’re too busy trying to analyze everything and everyone around you. Gaining insight into this type of behavior is one of the most critical keys to letting go of stress, and getting complete power over your anxiety.
If you find yourself engaging in any of the above “Blocking Behaviors,” there are two things you can do to help yourself. First, ask the people you know, love, and trust, “Am I negative about things?” “Do I complain a lot?” and “Am I difficult to be around?”
This may be hard for you to listen to, as the truth sometimes hurts. But the insight you will get from others’ assessment of you is invaluable. You’ll know precisely how others see you. Accept their comments as helpful information, and you’ll gain insight into yourself.
Second, keep a journal to write down and establish patterns of when you are using “blocking behaviors.” Even if you are not thrilled with the idea of writing, you can make little entries into a notebook or journal each day. The significant part is that you’ll begin to see patterns in your behavior that reveal exactly what you’re doing to prevent yourself from curing your anxiety.
We’ll give you some great stress-busting techniques later in this blog, but you need to recognize these blockages first so you can move into the “healing” stage and conquer your stress and anxiety.
Many people think that stress and anxiety is the same thing. This couldn’t be further from the truth!