Learning to Cope with Stress

Sunday, January 29, 2012

One thing I learned from looking over my journal from last week was that I desperately need to set some health goals and since Week 2 of my Feel Fabulous Makeover is about setting health goals now is a perfect time to start! However, my health goals are not all about improving my physical health. Keeping a daily journal helped me to realize that I needed to set some emotional/mental health goals. Lately, I have been taking my emotional health for granted not realizing that I need to give it the same effort that I give to to maintaining physical health. Don't get me wrong I strongly believe that physical and emotional health go hand in hand but most times we pay so much attention to the exterior us that we forget about how important the interior is. For example, how many of us talk to our family doctor if we have an ongoing emotional problem? However, the minute we feel sick we make an appointment. Same thing goes for taking a sick day from work, I believe sometimes we also need to take an emotional health day!

So what exactly is an emotionally healthy person?
An emotionally healthy person:
~is in control of their thoughts, feelings and behaviors.
~can keep problems in perspective and bounce back from disappointments.
~is able to balance stress and emotions.
~is resilient.

Wow! I used to be all those things! I used to be able to cope with stressful situations while still maintaining a positive attitude. However, lately, I have lost my ability to leave my work stress at work and I find myself being emotional, irritable and stressed. I stopped paying attention to my own needs and feelings. I let stress and negative emotions build up without talking about them as often as I need too. Suddenly it just became harder to maintain a healthy balance between my daily responsibilities and the things that I enjoy doing just for me.

Now this is not at all uncommon. I did a lot of reading on building and maintaining emotional health and the one thing that I learned was that we all go through a time where we just get overwhelmed by the day to day stresses of life and find it hard to cope with these stresses in an acceptable and healthy way. So it is time for me to take control and set some emotional/mental health goals for myself.

1. Make leisure time a priority. Do things that I enjoy doing for no reason other than it makes ME happy!

2. Manage my stress levels. I read that the body responds to stress by making stress hormones which over a long period of time can wear down your body so it’s important to keep it under control. I know that not all stress can be avoided but I need to reactivate my stress management tools that help me bounce back from stressful situations.

3. Learn to express my feelings. Sometimes I just need to let the people who are close to me know when something is bothering me. Keeping feelings of sadness or stress inside takes too much energy and can cause us to feel alone which can lead to depression.

4. Focus on the positive things in my life and there are a lot of them! I need to start paying attention and appreciating what is good, positive, and beautiful in my life.

I know that whatever negative factors have allowed me to neglect my mental and emotional health can be counteracted with just focusing on more positive factors. By learning to cope with stressful situation as they arise in a healthier way I will become resilient and feel fabulous again!


Vanessa on January 29, 2012 at 9:21 PM said...

I'm with you on this. I'm really try to learn how to express my feelings...and the right way. I have a habit of keeping them in because I don't want to hurt people's feelings (ppl pleaser), but I'm realizing that this too is unhealthly. I'm about to order this book called don't be nice be real to help out with this situation. It's a work in progress...

Bijee on February 14, 2012 at 10:17 PM said...

This was an awesome read! I too recently have not been maintaining my emotional health and I have found myself beyond stressed. These are all things that I know I need to do, but in keeping with the tradition, I set a future date to begin that comes and passes. I think I am gonna challenge myself to start employing these things right along with you. I need to make time for myself and also focus on the positive when I am feeling that overwhelming feeling coming on. Thanks!

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