We live our lives unconsciously a lot of the time. In others words, “things just happen” and then we react and look back and ask ourselves why did this happen. Why did I choose to react this way? Why did I behave the way I did in this particular situation? Stress could be a factor that triggers your reactions…or overreactions.
Have you ever gone to the cupboard and grabbed some of your favorite chips and only pause at the point that you realize the bag is nearly empty? You likely don’t remember eating or even enjoying a single chip despite the fact that the whole bag is nearly gone. Have you found yourself skipping lunch and not even recognizing the hunger signs? Stress can occupy your mind at a subconscious level to the point of blocking out your actions, behaviours and what is going on around you.
Everyone knows that a certain amount of quality sleep changes everything. When there are a lot of stressful things happening in your life, it is not unusual to wake up in the middle of the night to multiple thoughts and emotions spinning in your mind. The following minutes and sometime hours get filled with internal dialogue. Before you know it, its morning and sleep has eluded you. Or, have you experienced a time when you were in bed for what seemed like a normal nights sleep but you wake up still feeling tired. Could it be that stress is impacting the quality of your sleep?
Have you ever felt overwhelmed from what feels like pressure and stress coming from every direction? Simple tasks and responsibilities that you normally could handle with ease seem to be escaping your grasp. We then criticize ourselves in our internal dialogue for not performing to our own standards and thereby add to the stress that already exists.
Have you ever driven yourself to work or home from work and never seen any of the landmarks along the way or remembered any part of the journey? When you arrive at your destination you realize that you have driven the whole distance feeling overwhelmed by what was to come or what had already happened that day. Or, have you ever looked down only to see that your nails have been bitten to the quick? You are disappointed with yourself yet do not even remember doing any of the nail biting. The actions were likely triggered by stress that was occurring in your mind and body whether you were aware of it or not!
It is not unusual today to look to other things to help combat stress. Using alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs to relax and de-stress only offer temporary reprieve. The route cause of the stress is still there and your ability to temporarily escape using substance is short lived and usually adds more stress in the long run. You can however learn techniques that will increase your awareness and help you deal with unwanted stress without needing to reach out for temporary solutions that have unwanted consequences.
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