Q: Although I have always been a person who gets stressed easily, since the start of the pandemic I have started feeling overwhelmed by stress. My husband says I need to “go with the flow and chill”, but this makes me angrier!
A: Stress affects everyone differently. Stressful feelings typically happen when we feel we do not have the resources to manage the challenges we face.
Typical stress triggers are pressures at work, difficulties at school, relationship issues, worries at home, illness and challenging or sudden life changes. When we add the Covid-19 global pandemic into the mix, it’s little wonder that a person who “gets stressed easily” wouldn’t experience stress that is off-the-scale! It’s little consolation, but you are well and truly not alone with feeling stressed about the current situation. Everyone is, to some degree, worried about what’s happening right now. How you deal with it, what coping mechanisms you employ, will determine what control it has over you.
So, how do we regulate your stress levels and reduce your bursting rage?
Start by making your unhelpful thoughts unwelcome. The way we think directly affects the way we feel. You see, our thoughts, feelings and behaviours continually rub and bounce against each other. Therefore, it’s easy to develop negative patterns where unhelpful thoughts lead to unhelpful feelings and in turn unhelpful actions. Over time this can lead to an unhealthy, vicious thought-cycle developing. The simplest way to deal with these unhelpful thoughts is to learn how to recognise them, challenge them and see if you can replace them with something positive. This takes time to master, however, with practice you do it.
We know things are bad globally. However, you must allow yourself some positivity. There are good news stories out there, there is positivity and joy still to be found. Take time to think about the good things in your life. Each day, consider what went well for you. What made you feel good and positive then list a few things you’re thankful for.
Next tip is to become more active. Getting some high-energy exercise will instantly help you to burn off some of your anger and stress.
The additional benefit is you’ll be improving your overall health – particularly your immune system. Introduce some calming techniques into your life such as yoga, meditation and mindfulness. I should add that a healthy diet, free of junk food and sugar-laden snacks is a must.
When it comes to your anger, you should try talking to a trusted friend, family member or colleague who can give you useful advice, or you could contact a support group or helpline. Naturally you can look at professional support from a life coach or anger management expert. It’s a fact that people need people when they are struggling, in my experience, going it alone is hardly ever the answer.
You mentioned your husband suggested you be more ‘chilled out’. Perhaps this is his way to try and tell you something more. Share your concerns with him. Get his perspective on stress, it may give you a valuable insight into your own.
You could also try and get involved in some community activities. It is important to acknowledge and experience other people’s worries and fears. Having empathy is a vital quality for you to reconnect with and develop.
Russell Hemmings is a Dubai-based life coach and cognitive behavioural hypnotherapist, and author of The Mind Diet and Active Positive Parenting (russellhemmings.co.uk). Got a problem? Our panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.