Yesterday I read an article (I get the magazine in the mail) about stress and it made me thinking. There’s no doubt among scientists the stress is bad. Stress lowers our immune system and eventually we get physically and mentally ill. My immediate thought when reading the list of symptoms is: this is everyone today. Almost every single person I know is stressed. There are so many young people in their early twenties I know that has to be on sick leave because of stress and anxiety. Something is wrong.
I don’t know what it is, when it happened, or how to fix it. Stop using social media? Start having meditation classes in school? Prescribe more pills?
I think a lot of the stress comes from within us. At least that’s what I experienced. We believe that we have to be perfect. We have to have the best job, the best education, travel enough, be spontaneous, be organized, wear pretty clothes, be skinny, be curvy, eat clean, eat pizza, be unique, be like everyone else. Its’ a complete overload for anyone who browses Instagram. Who wouldn’t be stressed? I get stressed.
So how do you deal with stress and perfectionism?
Personally, I believe that you have to go “back to basics”. Take a step back, and really think about what you want. Regardless of what others might think.
Acceptance is key. If you can accept yourself for who you are, you will create a shield to the outer stress. For example: Accept that it is OK to cry. I’m a real cry baby and I hate it. I’ve come to the realization that fighting to keep the tears in won’t help. Instead, I accept it, cry for a while, then let it go.
Accept that it’s OK to be “imperfect”. What is this “perfect” anyways? Decide what you believe is perfect.
Stop and feel. Why do you feel the need to always be on the go? Why do you have to keep yourself busy every single moment? In trying to run towards your goals, are you actually running away from yourself? I think a lot of people are afraid to relax. When you relax you have to feel, and think. You might not like what’s popping up, but you have to deal with it. Maybe practice mindfulness or yoga. Go to a therapist, write a diary, whatever suits you.
Pushing away your emotions is like pushing a rubber duck under water: the deeper you push it down, the higher it will fly back up.
If you listen to your body and mind, you can stop it in time. Don’t run into the wall, you will crash, and it will hurt. The way back will be so much longer.
Don’t diminish your feelings:“Oh, but it’s not that bad”, “Other people have it way worse than me”, “It will pass”. No, these thoughts are not to be trusted. You are entitled to your emotions regardless if someone else might have it “worse”. You cannot compare yourself to others.
Talk about it. People are so busy trying to keep up the perfect front no one realizes that everyone else is struggling just as much as them. Talk to your friends next time you see them. Ask them how they really feel, instead of asking what they think of the latest fashion. Opening up about a problem of your own can be a good ice breaker. I have discovered that when I am open and sharing my own problems, people are very positive and I get a lot of recognition. We are not alone. By sharing our struggles we can help each other and lower the bar.
I don’t know if any of this made sense. Sometimes I wish I could help everyone at the same time. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of stress, or feel low in general, please don’t ignore it. That’s all I ask for. You are not alone.
Pssst. If you want to read more about mental health and how to deal with it, check out these posts.
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