Often when we are struggling, we have buried our emotions so far down within ourselves, under our duties and obligations, under the logistics of our daily lives, under our prioritization of other people over ourselves – that we often aren’t conscious when we’re experiencing toxic levels of stress. Stress is a normal part of life, but when we are living with unhealthy levels of stress on a regular basis, our mental and emotional health can deteriorate, and we can turn to self-destructive addictive behaviors for solace. The first step in addressing our stress is in becoming aware of it, finding consciousness around it so that we can find ways to work with it and heal ourselves moving forward.
What are some signs that your stress has reached dangerous levels?
If you’re regularly having trouble sleeping, your anxiety might be such that it’s keeping you from being able to quiet your mind enough to get to sleep. Getting adequate quality sleep is vital to our wellbeing. Lack of sleep can exacerbate our anxiety, depression and other challenges.
Similar to sleep habits, our appetite can signal a change in our stress levels. If you find yourself having a hard time eating, or if you’ve started overeating, you might be experiencing more stress than normal. What we eat greatly affects our physical, mental and emotional health, so having consistent appetite and eating habits is an important part of maintaining our wellbeing.
Stress can cause us to have more difficulty managing our emotions than we normally do. We might find ourselves being more reactive with other people, becoming more defensive about the things people say to us, and taking things more personally. We might cry, worry or yell more quickly and easily than we might have before.
When we are stressed, we often feel like our minds are racing, and we are less able to control our thoughts. Our overactive minds cycle through fearful thoughts, and we have a hard time calming ourselves down. We might find ourselves having more intense bouts of anxiety and panic attacks.
We often attribute our stress to the demands of our work, families and other commitments. Very often there are other, deeper emotional factors that we’re not paying attention to. When we give energy to addressing them, we can work to heal our stress, causing ourselves to be better able to manage it so that it doesn’t overtake us.
Learning how to work with our stress is an important part of recovery. Call (800) 871-5440 for information on how we can help.