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Surviving Extreme Stress

Are you a little weary of hearing about stress management?   I know sometimes it seems like a worn-out phrase, a trendy buzzword.  However, both personally and professionally, I am constantly reminded of the importance of taking special care of ourselves when our stress exceeds what could be called “safe limits.”

What I am referring to here is when we are in a period of ongoing, unrelenting stress, as for example, with job loss, death or anticipated death of a loved one, or divorce.  During these experiences of grief and sorrow, our unwanted loss is compounded by uncertainty about the future.  We know our lives will never be the same and we don’t know how the “new normal” will be.  It is at these times that we can be vulnerable to serious health problems.  Therefore we need to pay close attention to our personal routines and personal maintenance. 

With continued heavy stress, though, we can lose the ability to focus on the task at hand.  It feels almost like a fog that separates us from others as well as from what we are doing.  In this condition it is easy to make an error, for example, in driving, in record keeping, or in any area of life that is ordinarily routine.

            Here are some suggestions for how to survive through rough seas:

          Remind yourself that this pain is temporary, and that, as in nature’s cycles, spring will return.           

          Keep all routines that support your health and well-being intact, as much as possible, including getting enough sleep and exercising.

          Continue to eat good food, even if you don’t especially feel hungry.  Concentrate on protein and good carbs.  Drink lots of good clean water daily.  Take extra vitamins and mineral supplements.

          Pay close attention to the details that actually need your attention.  This is a good time to fine-tune your ability to prioritize, thus saving less-important items for when you feel better.

          Keep up with your bills and pay them early if possible. 

          Find sources of “extreme humor” and enjoy!  This is healing to your spirit.

          Spend time with friends who understand your situation.  Allow them to comfort you.  Do not feel that you must keep your sadness inside.

          Find an appropriate support group. This can allow you to benefit from others’ wisdom and remind you that you are not alone.  Later you may be able to support others in the group.

          Watch for things every day to be grateful for, and thank others for their kindness.

          Store your experience in a special mental place, so you will remember later when someone else might need your support.

    This is only a partial list, and you could probably add some ideas of your own.  As you may notice, many of the suggestions here are good practices for healthy balanced living anyway.  However, when we have come close to the edge of our own “stressed out” cliff, we know it’s time to review the list and pay close attention to what we are doing.

    There are many desirable health benefits of learning how relaxation feels, like lowered blood pressure, improved circulation, an improved attitude, and better heart health, to name a few.  For improving your ability to relax, self-hypnosis and massage therapy are great health enhancers.

            To reach Lainey, please call Circleville Hypnotherapy, at 740-474-3417.