Have you ever found yourself feeling stressed or overwhelmed and telling someone (or to yourself) "Oh I'm just stressed"?
Whilst acknowledging that you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed is a fantastic first step, sometimes we are too quick to disregard what is going on for us internally as 'just stress'.
Whilst we may initially interpret what we're feeling under the blanket of 'stress'- and on one level it IS stress that we're experiencing, it can be really helpful to look at what your stress is made up of..
It is fantastic that it is now considered more acceptable to admit to feeling stressed. We all experience stress at certain times. Most of us are juggling lots of different things all at once. The general pace of life these days can feel really fast and unrelenting. There is widespread addiction to constant busyness... But to truly address our stress and understand what we are feeling stressed abou,t it is sometimes helpful to unpack and examine what you're feeling, beyond just stress..
I was reminded of this myself just recently, I found myself telling my husband that I was feeling stressed and overwhelmed.. but when I stopped and looked at what else was present underneath the awareness of feeling stressed and overwhelmed, I saw that there were also feelings of anger, frustration and worry that I hadn't made time to deal with.
Once I was able to recognise what I was feeling 'stressed' about and the feelings/emotions making up the stress, it all felt less overwhelming and I could also break down what I needed to do differently or how I could shift my perspective of how I was viewing things.
Breathwork is also my go-to to regularly create space to check in with what is going on for me emotionally. Not only does it bring me back to myself but it also allows me to let go of stress, emotions or 'static' and find my centre again.
We all need practices to come back to ourselves and check in with our inner world. We need a balance of attention within as well as attention outwards. In our constant busyness and striving to get things done, for most of us the balance is skewed in favour being outwardly focused on external things and even our downtime is often scrolling on social media or online which is another distraction from going within! inner wisdom and going away feeling more connected, supported and empowered.
Next time you find yourself thinking or saying "I'm just stressed' pause for a moment and consider what is creating this sense of stress? What feelings or emotions are making up this sense of stress or overwhelm? It may be unprocessed anger, frustration, grief, sadness or a feeling of being unsupported or even lonely.. Once we identify the actual emotions or feelings we can acknowledge them and then are better able to let them go. Strategies to release, process or safely express emotions are really helpful to have. Breathwork, movement, creative expression of some form such as writing in a journal, drawing or painting can be helpful..
As humans we all have emotions and we are meant to feel things but for so many of us this feels scary or uncomfortable because we have been trained or taught to disconnect from our emotions and have often not been given strategies to allow us to feel and process and let go of our emotions. It often feels easier to try to ignore,suppress of numb our feelings though food, social media or constant busyness and distraction BUT the emotions or feelings don't necessarily just go away (this is how they end up stored in our bodies as stress or tension or gut issues or something else) until we find ways to acknowledge them, learn from them if necessary and then let them go!