If you’ve been in the nasty webs of negative thinking, you can know how hard it is to get out. Even when you have passed a certain circumstance or situation you seem to still find cobwebs hanging off of you or spiders creeping and ready to attack.
This is some serious life stress.
Often times in these situations it feels like no amount of self-help books can help. You see issues in your life and nothing is changing. It seems unfair. In some scenarios, you might actually be stuck. It could be dealing with a bully, or you are in a contract at work, or dealing with a death of a loved one who was dear to you even though they passed away years ago or just recently. The pain can still be prevalent and real.
You think all the positive thinking in the world can’t change how you feel and that really hurts.
It is more than just “positive thinking” sometimes we have to re-frame our mind completely. This can take work and is a daily process.
Let’s take a second and step back and look at how this stress is literally impacting our body.
We know there is good stress such as running away from danger. But this isn’t what we are talking about. True chronic stress is long term, pain in the butt, sometimes depressing inducing stress that dwells within us and effects our body. It can truly interfere with your day to day life. The good news is there are ways for you to take control of your life again. It will just take a little bit of effort.
So let’s take a look at your situation. Have you identified what is truly bothering you? Are there ways to make the situation better? Have you lost hope on it ever improving? Is the situation out of your control?
What about you? Can you control your reaction to it? That is really key here. You can!
Before we move forward, I want to stress there are some situations that require immediate attention. This article provides some basic help to help those who feel hopeless (and have over a long period of time). There is hope. There is not ANY shame in seeking counseling. This article is in no way shape or form a replacement for therapy or counseling. If your situation is dangerous or detrimental make sure to reach out for support, tell law enforcement if need be, or talk to Human Resources if it is relevant to your job. Each circumstance is different. This article is aimed to assist those who just can’t seem to get past what looks like to them, a bleak reality. I want to stress for those in unhealthy, threatening, or treacherous situations, there is help for you out there (I will include some resources below).
Chronic stress can be a nasty beast if you have ever gone through it. So let’s take it one step at a time. You and I both know what is bothering us in our life. The annoyances we have to endure on a daily basis…
But what is actually going right? Can you think of ANYTHING? This cloak of misery sometimes blinds us to the beauty we have before us. The world can suck it right out of our hands.
Stop for a second. Take a deep breath. Look around. What’s good around you at the moment? Allow the memories of happiness flow into you. There is something there, you have to just believe and be open to it.
I want to take a moment to put something into perspective for you. All the energy you spend thinking about what bothers you, takes away the time you can be truly doing what you want to do. You have to start looking at your life in terms of resources, space, and time. Let’s get real with this:
Every morning you have your box, a box of possibilities. You have a 24-hour time span (minus sleeping time), that you can put anything into. The box is empty when you first wake up. You can start on a good footing, eat breakfast, watch some YouTube, or whatever. Then you get to work or school and you start thinking, and then the space in your box starts to get filled, filled with complaints, animosity, jealousy, anger, sadness, hopelessness. Each and every day you are filling your opportunity box with heavy burdensome materials. So by the time you think about putting “good” or “great” things in your box like appreciation, happiness, and joy… your box is already almost at full capacity with opposition, rejection, and critical gloom. Can you see the problem here? You are overwhelmed and full!
But there’s good news. First, the reality is your circumstance might just stay the same truly. If patterns have shown your boss is going to act a certain way, she/he will probably always act that way. If haters have proven to be a specific way. Guess what? That isn’t (ain’t) going to change unless they work on themselves. Let me tell you, this is not your burden. You have your own fish to fry (remember that good ol’ saying: can’t help others unless you help yourself). Be kind to yourself right now, you have a human right to improve yourself and love yourself.
Long and Short-Term Goals
We have got to come together to look forward to something if we want to stop the hate from creeping into our precious lives. This is where the importance of long-term goals and short-term goals come to play. It may sound like work, but think about it… this is YOU bringing YOU into the life you want.
On a daily basis, we should set out what goals we want. Our focus can be on accomplishing that. For example, (for me) today I plan to:
Finish this article
Clean for 20 minutes
Get outside for at least 10 minutes
… among other goals that I have. These little objectives and intentions make true purpose a reality.
When YOU start accomplishing what YOU want. Your life starts to fall into place like the way you want it to. These smaller goals can intertwine, and should, with some of your greater long term goals. So your job really sucks right now, or the reality is you are in some serious debt. This will pass and you can see a brighter day! Set out a realistic vision for your life.
If you want to be debt free, you’ve got to reel it in. No more small splurges! This is where your short meets your long. These goals intersect. You can’t build a mountain without starting with a grain of dirt.
If you want to get into a better job, then you’ve got to look for one. What is next for you? What careers are appealing to you? Do your homework?
What’s Going Right in your Life?
It’s hard to have a job that drains you before you even get home. So try and find some minor joys you can have at work that help you throughout the day. It can be working on a project, talking to the nice co-workers in your facility, or getting the chance to get away from it all at lunch with an awesome snack you made up or a fun workout.
Recognize What’s Going On
We are RE-FRAMING our minds. You’ve got to keep in mind your box. When those unsettling vibes seep into your box and come in grains of sand or piles at a time into your precious box, recognize it and dump them out. You only have room for the greatness you were destined to accomplish.
Now let me tell you this is a learned skill. It is not easy being your own ninja, kicking away every insulting thought that comes your way. This is where you got to do a reality check. Your misery is effecting more than you, whether you realize it or not… it’s true. It is hurting those closest to you, the ones you truly love, who see your suffering and listen to your berating bickering. The only criticism that needs to be going on is constructive criticism at best.
The dangers of sulking are simple. You get trapped it in and can become worse than the actual situation. You soon become the “judger” and think you are privileged to point out every flaw there is. You can’t let yourself continue to be this person. It’s not pretty and you become just as bad. You are better than this, you are a force of beauty. Yes, vent when it is too much, but don’t let the situation change you into something you know you are not.
There are two other points I want to point out. I don’t want them to be used as excuses or pardons for those who have truly hurt you. But instead an increased awareness that there is always more than what’s happening beyond what you can see.
- Everyone has their own baggage and not everyone knows how to carry it well. Sometimes they throw the manifestation of it onto other people.
- You are a worthy person. Not in an arrogant sense, but in a sense that you have the right to be treated as a decent human being with respect. Don’t ever forget your value (especially in the eyes of God, he loves you).
So as we embark on this journey, know that you are not alone. You’ve got to bring your guard against yourself down, and stop judging yourself and others. You know what is right and wrong, you feel it; and if you are in a place where you can’t progress immediately out of the hell you are in… then don’t fuel the fire by your own doing.
You can control your mind, thoughts, actions, and reactions to ANY circumstance. This is powerful. You have autonomy over yourself. Instead of looking at what appears to be flames around you, take a breath and remember your forest will grow out of this rebirth. You have gained experience and wisdom out of this. You get to choose how you rise above these ashes. You now know how you definitely don’t want to treat other people. So don’t sit in the unpleasant mindset you have. Rise above the squalor. You have a present and a future, and boy is it so beautiful and bright. Rise my fellow soul, rise. You are meant to fly into the joys of life.
Quick side note:
The National Institute of Mental Health has a list of ways you can cope with this stress and get your life back.
I wanted to point out a few I thought were particularly helpful. For more information, click on the link below.
- Seek help from a mental health provider.
- Have a support group: family, friends, church (and I say: if you don’t have one, it is okay to reach out for one).
- Set priorities in your life.
- Recognize signs of stress for you
- At the end of the day, look at what you accomplished not what you didn’t do
- Make time to relax and do some healthy things
- Get exercise it really boosts your mood and reduces stress
For those who are in dangerous, life-threatening, abusive, harassing or other similar situations, here are some resources:
24- hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1(800)273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline 1(800)4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453) https://www.childhelp.org/hotline/
National Domestic Violence Hotline 1(800)799-SAFE(1-800-799-7233) or 1(800)787-3224 http://www.thehotline.org/
National Human Trafficking Hotline 1(888)373-7888 or SMS: 233733 (Text “HELP” or “INFO”) http://traffickingresourcecenter.org/
“Adult Stress- Frequently Asked Questions: How it affects your health and what you can do about it.” National Institute of Mental Health. Web. 18 June 2016.