Warning signs you’re overtired and stressed out.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Stress person

Stress.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Stress can be either physical or emotional.

Some stress is more harmful than others. Physical stress wears out the body, but it also makes it harder to regulate your emotions. Emotional stress makes it difficult for you to think and can also interfere with sleep, appetite, and mood, leading to depression and anxiety. One of the early symptoms of job burnout is feeling both physically and emotionally tired and not being able to rest up during your hours away from work or stress. Below is a list of symptoms that may mean you are overtired, stressed out, and headed for long-term physical and emotional problems.

You have stopped feeling pleasure.

Loss of pleasure, particularly the inability to feel pleasure, is one of the warning signs of depression. If things that used to make you happy no longer do, you’re headed for problems. Life is a mixture of the good and bad, but if you’ve reached a point where you no longer can recognize and enjoy the good things when they happen, something is wrong.

If you can’t sleep, stress may be the cause.

The inability to sleep, or poor sleep quality, can be the result of many things, very few of which are good. Sleeping far too much or inability to sleep is a symptom of depression. Lying awake at night unable to fall asleep because your mind is racing and you’re full of anxiety should tell you that something is wrong. It’s possible to be too physically tried to fall asleep. But more often, the cause of an inability to sleep is stress, anxiety, depression, or an even a more severe mental illness.

Stress can cause weird, upsetting dreams.

Today most therapists spend far less time on dream analysis than we did in the past. What a dream means to one person and what it means to someone else may be very different. But if you’ve noticed a change in your dreams, you need to look at what else is going on in your life. If your dreams are upsetting, you start by examining what is going on in your life. Weird upsetting dreams are one sign that your stress levels are just too high.

Tight, aching muscles can be a sign of stress fatigue.

If your muscles are tight, aching, and you haven’t recently put them under physical strain, probably excess stress is the cause. With any physical symptoms, it’s always a good idea to see a doctor and rule out an organic cause. But if your body is complaining, and you can find a physical reason why stress is the likely culprit.

Falling asleep in the daytime is a sign of fatigue.

Sleeping during the daytime suggests you’re not getting enough rest at night. Emotional stress can be just as exhausting as physical activity. If your spending enough time in bed, but still tired during the daytime, stress, and pressure are likely reasons.

Brain fog can be a sign you are overtired.

Being overtired and stressed out can result in cognitive challenges. If you find you are walking around in a fog, having difficulty making decisions, stress is a likely culprit. Like a computer that is unable to take in new input until it processes something, your brain can be so overloaded with stress that it is unable to function efficiently.

Irritability is a symptom of excessive stress.

When a baby doesn’t feel well, they become irritable. They may try to push caregivers away. If you find that you are becoming more irritable, more temperamental, or shorter with those around you, it’s essential to pay attention to how much stress you are under and what is causing it. There are lots of techniques you can use to reduce stress, but you must practice stress reduction before you break. Once your irritability has caused problems in your relationships with others, you may not be able to repair the damage your irritability has caused.

Cravings can be the result of being stressed out.

People who are under a lot of stress often find that there eating changes. Rather than craving healthy foods, you may begin to crave carbohydrates and sugar. People with a history of using drugs and alcohol discovered that constant cravings for drugs and alcohol are often the result of stress. Pay attention to your cravings; they’re trying to tell you something beyond just that you want that food or drug.

Stress causes headaches that won’t go away.

Lots of things can cause headaches, and it’s important to rule those physical causes out. But if you suffer from chronic headaches, and your doctor hasn’t found a physical reason, a likely culprit is stress, particularly stress of the emotional kind.

Digestive upset is a sign of stress.

Pressure and stress can also upset your digestive system. Episodes of both diarrhea and constipation can be the direct result of stress. Do what you need to do to take care of yourself. It’s important to re-examine your life and find out whether your life is that stressful or if some of your reaction to stress is the result of a negative stress mindset.

Being chronically thirsty may be a sign of excess stress.

If you’re experiencing chronic thirst, and it is not caused by either physical dehydration or medical problems such as diabetes, it may be the result of high levels of stress.

If you recognize several of these symptoms of excess stress and they are interfering with your quality of life, now is the time to re-examine your life and reduce your stress. You may want to learn and practice some stress reduction techniques. For the emotional varieties of stress, consider working with a counselor on shifting your stress mindset.

For more on this topic see:     Stress

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Six David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Dark Family Secrets: Some family secrets can be deadly.

What if your family secrets put you in danger?

Letters from the Dead The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead?

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive?

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking, and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders, see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter.

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Ways to manage your stress.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Stress person

Stress.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Stress can be managed.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your life is out of your control. Suffering excess stress without taking action may result in both physical and mental illnesses. Modern life has come with a lot of physical advantages, but it also comes with potentially debilitating levels of stress. Here are some ways to reduce the impact of stress on your life.

Learn to recognize the signs of stress.

Frequent or excessive headaches can be one sign of stress. Excess stress may interfere with sleep. Lying in bed, unable to fall asleep because you are thinking about all the problems in your life should tell you your stress is out of control. Changes in appetite, unexpected weight loss, or excessive cravings for carbohydrates and sugar can also be the result of stress.

Using alcohol or drugs to cope with daily life may not only tell you that you’re under excess stress, but that your coping mechanism may be about to turn into a worse problem called addiction.

Stress can also manifest as emotional issues. If you’re becoming irritable, easily angered, or chronically depressed and anxious, your stress may be taking down the road to mental illness. Lacking energy even after a night’s sleep may be the result of stress. If your day off doesn’t result in the return of energy it may be because stress is wearing you out both physically and emotionally.

Take care of your body to reduce stress.

When we say stress, we often think of emotional or mental stress, but stress can be physical also. Good physical health practices can buffer you from the effects of normal stress. Skimping on sleep will not make you more productive. Not enough sleep will impair your decision-making ability, reduce your ability to handle stress, and can eventually lead to burnout.

Use regular physical activity to manage stress.

Even a small amount of exercise can help reduce the impact of stress. Exercise doesn’t have to mean a strenuous workout in the gym. Getting up and moving around can help reduce the impact of stress. Walking each day for as little as 20 to 30 minutes has been shown to reduce the effects of stress and to improve the mood of people with depression.

Learn how to relax and destress.

Don’t confuse relaxation was switching to another type of stress. Passively consuming electronic media may sound like relaxation but every time you see an exciting scene, your brain may take out more adrenaline.

Consider taking up mindfulness or meditation practices. Do things like reading which stimulate your imagination.

Weed out your to-do list for less stress.

Having too many things on your to-do list doesn’t make you more productive, it will make you more scattered and stressed out. Having too many priorities results in you feeling bad about yourself for not getting everything accomplished. Make self-care the top priority so that you will be around to work on the other to-do items. Learn to say no to things you can’t do or don’t want to do both in your personal and your professional life.

Spend time with others to reduce stress.

Don’t try to do everything yourself. Learn to accept help. Make time for positive people in your life. Humans are inherently social animals, and we need connections with others. Becoming lonely will drain you of resources you have to cope with stress. If you don’t have friends in your life, make them. If the people in your life are adding to your stress, either get them out of your life, spend some time working on that relationship. Remember, you are not the Lone Ranger, and even he had a constant friend to help him.

Reach out for help before you reach the breaking point.

If stress is overwhelming you, reach out for help. The Counselor, Therapist, or other helping person can be just the resource you need to help you cope with your stress. Asking for help from a professional does not mean you failed, it means you’re smart enough to know when to reach out for help.

Other counselorssoapbox posts on this topic are at Stress.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Six David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Dark Family Secrets: Some family secrets can be deadly.

What if your family secrets put you in danger?

Letters from the Dead The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead?

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive?

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking, and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter.

Things You Need to Know About Stress.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Stress person

Stress.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Stress can be normal.

Everyone feels stressed from time to time, but some people experience more stress than they’re able to handle.

Stress is the bodies efforts to prepare for needed effort. Two things will determine how stress affects you. How you initially handle stress is critical. Some people may be able to handle physical stress easily, but not mental stress. You may not be able to manage financial stress equally to the way you handle emotional stress.

Not everyone recovers from stress at the same rate.

Athletes who train every day may recover from physical stress relatively quickly. If you’re one of those people who rarely exercise, doing something physically strenuous on the weekend may require several days for you to recover.

Stressful events can be temporary, or they may last a long time.

Moving from one house to another may be stressful until you have settled into the new home. Starting a new job can also be stressful. Being unemployed and homeless can remain stressful for a very long time.

Some stress is routine, and some are extraordinary.

Everyday stresses could be things such as getting ready and going to work every morning or getting the kids off to school. Most jobs involve routine stress. Extraordinary types of stress include such things as a death in the family, losing a job or working at a job that has frequent episodes of high pressure.

Sometimes stress can be traumatic.

Experiencing a traumatic stressor can result in several types of mental illness. After experiencing a sudden traumatic stressor, some people experience a short bout of Acute Stress Disorder. If the impairment from the stressor does not remit, it may become Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

Long-term constant stress can result in burnout.

Job burnout is the result of high levels of stress over a long period, which results in a person feeling both physically and emotionally exhausted and not being able to recover during their time of duty.

Stress isn’t always bad.

Physically stressing your muscles can increase your strength and abilities. Mental stress can lead to learning and creativity. Happy events can sometimes be extremely stressful. Interviewing for a job, starting a new job, getting married, or the birth of a child can all be stressful events. What’s important is to give yourself time to rest after the stressful events. Stress only becomes bad when it exceeds your abilities, continues to long, or is traumatic.

Chronic stress can overwhelm you.

Your automobile should be capable of rapid acceleration or high speeds on occasion. Run your car too many miles at high speed, and eventually something will break. While humans are not machines, the same principle applies. Living life with too much stress can eventually overwhelm you.

Self-care can help reduce stress.

Good self-care can reduce the impact of the stresses you experience. Good self-care does not necessarily mean doing nothing or vegetating on the couch all weekend. Varying your activities can reduce the impact of chronic stress.

Excess stress harms your health.

High levels of long-term stress are unhealthy. Continuing to mentally hold onto stress after the event will also damage your physical health. Excess stress can impair your sleep and appetite. Difficulty falling asleep, called sleep latency, is the result of ruminating about the thing that is stressing you. Chronic or excessive stress can also impair your immune system making you more susceptible to illness and infections.

High levels of stress cause physical and emotional symptoms.

You may experience excess stress in your body. Headaches, nausea, insomnia, and changes in appetite can all be symptoms of excess stress. Too much stress may also lead to irritability, anger, and sadness. Ultimately stress can lead to developing a mental illness such as an anxiety disorder or depression.

Can stress be managed?

Many people feel that stress is just a part of modern life, and they try to tough it out for as long as possible. Failing to manage stress can lead to physical and emotional illnesses, job burnout, and even permanent disabilities. There are things you can do to reduce the impact of stress on your life. In my next post in this series, I want to tell you about ways that you can manage stress and reduce its impact on your life.

Here are some resources for more about stress and stress management.

The National Institute of Mental Health has a handy brochure on stress and managing it.

Other counselorssoapbox posts on this topic are at Stress.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Six David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Dark Family Secrets: Some family secrets can be deadly.

What if your family secrets put you in danger?

Letters from the Dead The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead?

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive?

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking, and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter.

How to create job burnout.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Match on fire

Burnout.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Some of the things you’re doing can increase burnout risks.

Life can be stressful. Some jobs are more stressful than others. In recent years, job burnout has become extremely common. Once people reached the point of burnout they are likely to quit their job, get fired, or moved to a new equally stressful position. Some people become so burned out they must change careers or may not be able to work at all. While you can’t always control the stresses in your life some of the things you’re doing may be increasing the risk that you will burn out or have a nervous breakdown. How many of the things on this list are propelling you towards burnout?

Sleep less, and you can burn out more rapidly.

People under stress frequently try to do too much. You can’t continue burning the midnight oil for very long before the lack of sleep will wear you out. Not getting a full night’s sleep increases your risk of burnout. If you think you’re too busy to get a full night’s sleep just wait until you crack under the stress. Once you have a breakdown you will have plenty of time to stay home from work.

Increased alcohol consumption leads to burnout.

In the short term drinking alcohol or doing drugs seems like a way to cope with stress. Anesthetizing yourself with chemicals doesn’t allow you to rest, it creates one more stress for your body to recover from. Drinking alcohol does not improve sleep. When you drink alcohol, you end up unconscious rather than sleeping. Your brain does not get a chance to recover. When your liver detoxifies the alcohol, you will wake up. Frequently people who use alcohol to sleep have disrupted sleep, wake up early, and can’t get back to sleep.

Using stimulant drugs to increase your work abilities does not give you an unlimited supply of energy. When the drugs wear off, you crash, and your need for rest becomes even more acute. Abusing tranquilizers and pain medications will catch up with you eventually. You can only walk around with anesthetized pain, physical or emotional, for so long. Eventually, you will collapse into burnout from physical and emotional exhaustion.

Isolating leads to burnout.

Humans are inherently social. People who have a good support system, feel like a part of the team, can cope with stress. As people become physically and emotionally worn out, the early signs of burnout, they often isolate. The more you cut yourself off from other humans, the more rapid the journey toward burnout. If you find yourself too busy to spend time with your family and friends, you are traveling the dangerous road to an emotional breakdown.

Being a perfectionist will burn you out.

B students are happier than straight A students. When a straight “A” student gets even one “B,” they feel like a failure. The “B” student is delighted with the occasional “A.” If your way of coping with stress is to try to do everything perfectly, you are turning up the intensity of your stress and cooking yourself into a burnout. There is such a thing as “good enough parenting” if you do more things right than wrong your children will think you’re a wonderful parent. Try to get everything right, and insisting they be perfect is a recipe for conflicted relationships at home.

Many people who develop job burnout come to work in the morning already emotionally exhausted from relationship problems at home. If your relationships are not supportive, work on improving your home life. Consider counseling, for you, for your relationship, or for your family, before your stress at home destroys your work life and your emotional health.

Having few job prospects leads to burn.

People who feel trapped in a high-stress job convinced themselves they have no other options. If you’re unhappy while at your job, spend some time deciding what is causing this unhappiness. Is it the job you’re unhappy with? Would moving to a different company actually relieve your stress? Or have you trapped yourself working in a job you don’t enjoy, with few prospects of finding another job? The best time to look for a new job is when you have one.

If however, the problem is not the job, but that what you’re doing for an income doesn’t match with your values, life goals, and ambitions, the way to avoid job burnout is to work on yourself and become the best possible person.

Limited job skills increase the burnout risk.

Lack of variety in anything can take all the pleasure out of what you’re doing. If you have only one skill, that will be all you will ever do. The day you can’t earn a living doing that one skill is the day you become unemployed. Learning additional skills gives you the opportunity to have a more varied day and to be more useful to your employer. Look for opportunities to identify skills you have, but which have not been developed. Growing as a person opens up more opportunities and reduces your risk of burning out doing that one thing you know how to do until you can do it anymore.

The things you are doing may be making the stresses you’re under worse. Your current actions, or inaction, may be accelerating your journey towards burnout and an emotional breakdown.

Check out the other counselorssoapbox.com posts about stress and burnout.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and many other online stores.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Fast Stress reduction.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Stressed out

Stressed.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Ways to quickly defuse stress.

Life is full of stress, some good and some bad.  Even the good kind of stress can wear you down. The longer you hold on to stress the more harm it will cause you.  Work on releasing your stress as rapidly as possible. Avoid stress when you can. Eliminate unnecessary stress when possible. For the unavoidable stresses in life try practicing some of these rapid stress reduction methods.

For less stress focus on your breathing.

Breathe slowly, breathe deeply.  Rapid shallow breathing increases anxiety.  Slow, deep breathing relaxes and destresses you.  Anytime you feel overwhelmed shift your focus to the way you are breathing. In goes the oxygen, out goes the stress.

Change the music.

Music strongly influences our moods. The music you listen to can reflect your mood; it can also change your mood.  When you are feeling stressed, put on some soft, relaxing music. Instrumental music can be especially relaxing. Music connects with our inner feelings in a deeper way than words alone.

Cool down for less stress.

Chill out to reduce your stress.  Your body temperature can affect the feeling of stress.  When you are feeling under stress, pay extra attention to the way, your body experiences the temperature.  When possible turn on a fan, move to a cooler spot or drink something cold. A small desktop fan can blow away the stress along with the heat.

Give yourself a timeout to allow your stress to subside.

Allow time for you to think things over instead of reacting too quickly.  Look for ways to disengage from the stress if only for a few minutes. Counting to ten is a start. Longer timeouts are even better. Glancing away when safe, even for a moment, can help to interrupt the cycle of escalating stress. Taking short breaks will not detract from your productivity. Those rest breaks will keep you at top efficiency.

Disengage from artificial environments.

One quick way to reduce stress is to re-engage with the natural world.  Get outside for a few minutes.  Pay attention to the trees, the flowers and the world around.  Artificial environments can add to your stress. Spending some time in nature can reduce that stress. In times of stress, reconnect with nature. If you can’t get outside, try looking out a window. Having a houseplant on your desk can be relaxing.

To destress move your body.

Do a little exercise, take a walk. A little bit of physical exercise can be a great help in reducing and managing stress.  It does not need to be strenuous exercise.  Get up and walk around, take a trip to the copy machine or the water cooler.  Something as simple as shifting your body position can take the strain off your muscles and allow you to refocus on the task at hand.

Life becomes less stressful when you can picture the outcome you want.

Visualize having overcome your obstacles.  Sitting ruminating about your problems only magnifies the stress.  Think about what it will look like, what others will see, when you have overcome this obstacle.  If you can picture a positive result, you are on your way to overcoming your stress. When you shift from a problems orientation to a results outlook, the process of getting to your goal is less stressful.

Fuel and rest your body.

Drink some water. Your body and brain do not work well when you are dehydrated. Eat a snack, a good lunch to cope with stress. Low blood sugar will interfere with your body’s ability to run efficiently.  Don’t neglect nutrition, hydration or to get an adequate amount of sleep.  A worn-out body is less able to cope with stress.  Avoid high sugar snacks and heavy meals, both of which can result in a temporary boost of energy followed by a deep crash.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Six David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Dark Family Secrets: Some family secrets can be deadly.

What if your family secrets put you in danger?

Letters from the Dead The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead?

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive?

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking, and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter.

Have another helping of stress. Stress can be good for you.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Stressed out

Stressed.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

You might need more stress in your diet.

Recently one of my esteemed colleagues wrote a post on the need to avoid stress. I am not sure he is right about that. We have been told so often that we need to avoid stress, that a lot of people are avoiding anything that might be stressful and the result is that they are very low in productivity and lower yet in self-esteem.

More stress in your diet just might be what the doctor ordered.

If your doctor tells you that you are now overweight and you need to lose some weight, he does not prescribe reducing the physical stress in your life. He does not tell you to go home, put your feet up and avoid anything that might put a stress load on your system.

What the doctor does suggest is that your exercise put a manageable level of stress on your muscles. As you become stronger you increase the level of stress you place on your muscles. The key here is not reducing or avoiding stress but learning how to manage your stress so that it is a growth opportunity rather than being at a breaking point level.

Clients have told me that their work “stresses them out.” Their conclusion is that they should avoid working to reduce the stress. What they fail to recognize often, is that not working will result in a substantial reduction in income. Losing your house to foreclosure, being homeless or even the task of living the rest of your life on the small amount of income available to welfare recipients is a lot more stressful than learning to not stress yourself out over your work.

Writers typically get stressed every time they look at a blank page. We call this writer’s block. You don’t overcome that kind of stress by avoiding the stress of writing and giving up on your dream. You reduce the stress by writing, writing anything to fill up that space and then you edit and revise until hopefully a piece worth reading comes to life.

Most things in our life do not “stress us out” though we would all like to blame our level of negative emotions on some outside force that is producing “stress.” Most of the time we stress ourselves out by ruminating on the thing we would like to avoid until it grows to gigantic proportions. Casey Truffo described this in one of her webinars as “gnawing on the thing that is eating you.”

Should we by some accident find ourselves without stress one morning, why there are plenty of things we could choose to worry about. Start by worrying that you have forgotten to worry about something important. Get really into fear, fear of losing something, fear of not getting what you want. Create so much stress over what might happen that you are unable to do anything.

The stress reaction is our body and our minds way of gearing up for a challenging situation. The difficulty here is that so many people can turn up the stress, but don’t know how to turn it back down when the occasion for the stress is over.

Stress hormones are supposed to be temporary events. Some crisis occurs, we need to respond and our body helps out here by pushing out adrenaline and other hormones, we are ready to fight, flee or fight. The problem with humans is that most of us have forgotten how to turn the stress hormones off. Three months later we are still telling anyone who will listen how that incident “stressed us out’ and in the process, we are able to relieve the stress.

Have you ever met someone who was highly productive and seems to thrive on stress? Have you wondered what their secret was?

The thing they have found is how to keep the stress external and maintain their responses internally. They have learned to turn stress to their advantage by using that stress to turn their performance up another notch.

The difference between people who use stress to their advantage and those who are defeated by stress is not in the stress. It is in our attitude to the stress.

The secret is to stop running from the stress monster and to turn towards him and kick his tail.

There are dangers in life that we all should avoid. Most of the things that stress us out every day are not those overwhelming life-threatening kinds of stress. The worst kinds of stress are those times when we upset ourselves over things that are outside our control.

Learn to control your stress, learn mindfulness, breathing control or embrace radical acceptance but don’t try to avoid stress by running from it.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Six David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Dark Family Secrets: Some family secrets can be deadly.

What if your family secrets put you in danger?

Letters from the Dead The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead?

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive?

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon.

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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter.