“Give yourself a break to avoid a breakdown.” – Karen Salmansohn
When life gets tough, it can be hard to remember the things that keep us going strong.
The Mayo Clinic defines a nervous breakdown as a “stressful situation in which they’re temporarily unable to function normally in day-to-day life. The term was frequently used in the past to cover a variety of mental disorders, but it’s no longer used by mental health professionals today.”
Stress is one of the main factors that often drive us to have nervous breakdowns: social stress, money stress, work stress, family stress; all of these are factors that can contribute to someone feeling overwhelmed.
Dr. Daniel K. Hall-Flavin says a nervous breakdown “isn’t a medical term, nor does it indicate a specific mental illness. But that doesn’t mean it’s a normal or a healthy response to stress.”
Thankfully, therapists have come together to talk about the things that can help people when they feel that their life is full of too much stress and help stop them from experiencing a nervous breakdown.
Here Are 9 Things That Will Help You Avoid A Nervous Breakdown
1. Accept what you can’t change
…But change the things that you can. We won’t always be able to change the things in life that cause us stress, but there is always something that we can change to help us deal with it.
“Recognize that, sometimes, all you can control is your effort and your attitude. When you put your energy into the things you can control, you’ll be much more effective,” says psychotherapist and author Amy Morin.
Therefore, if you can’t change the fact that you have to get up an hour earlier to commute to work and if that’s causing you stress, you can change how early you go to bed so you can get a good night’s sleep and stay rested. It’s the little things that you can control that will keep you in control.
2. Focus on the positive things in your life
Every day, either at the beginning of the day or at the end of the day, take some time to remind yourself of all of the positive things in your life. And this is important because “strain causes a person to be cognitively, perceptually and emotionally impaired… if you’re under pressure and stress at work, then you can’t think outside the box because you can’t see the box,” says psychology expert Richard Boyatzis.
Therapists encourage everyone to focus on the positives in times of stress. Remind yourself that you have a lovely home, or a steady income, or a partner who loves you, or good health – whatever pieces of your life are positive, take some time to focus on those and let that positive energy heal you.
3. Accept your pain
Life doesn’t come without pain. While we would all like to go through life without any hardships, pain is what allows us to change and become stronger people. When you learn to accept your pain, you’ll no longer find it an overwhelming part of your experience because it will help you “develop self-acceptance and self-compassion,” says psychologist Dr. Leslie Becker-Phelps.
“No amount of wishing for something different or rejecting the situation (or yourself) will change anything. However, by facing your problem, you can at least begin to address it,” adds Dr. Becker-Phelps. Therefore, by accepting your pain, you will be able to move forward through life without letting it weigh you down.
4. Let yourself feel emotions
Emotions are not good or bad – they are neutral occurrences that happen to everyone, even if some emotions cause negative or positive energy. The main idea is to allow yourself to feel your emotions, even if they are “negative”, because stopping yourself is only going to cause more turmoil. Feel your emotions deeply and honestly. The only thing you can do is control how you react to them. Feeling emotions is a good and natural part of life, and the joy of feeling all your emotions is part of that, too.
5. Find your support system
Therapists and experts have long proven the positive role a support system can play. Friends and family are always going to be there for you in times of stress and trouble. These are the people who are going to give you the strength to keep moving forward when life gets hard.
WikiHow states that “Talking to others about your problems can help you gain perspective and get helpful advice about how to cope.”
You will feel so much energy and joy when you allow yourself to lean on the people around you. Remember that they love you and they want the best for you, and they’ll help you get to where you’re going.
6. Do what you love
Even if your day job isn’t what you love, find the time to do what you love, anyway. If you’ve always found joy in writing or drawing, break out the paints or sit down for a quiet hour and do what you love. If you love taking a run in the early morning, make sure you let yourself do that, too. “When we do what we love we actually are more likely to be successful, happier and healthier,” says author Vishnu Verma.
7. It’s not just you
Sometimes, when things get overwhelming, it can feel like life is picking on you for no reason. But a good way to keep yourself from internalizing that is to remember: everyone feels this way sometimes. You’re not alone, and there will always be people who can empathize with how you’re feeling and help you move on.
8. Nothing lasts forever
Even though it may seem like it, everything has an ending point. You’re not going to feel this way forever. “Don’t give the tough times too much weight and angst because they’re temporary,” says author Abigail Pogrebin.
Remember, things will pass.
Whatever is stressing you out will eventually come to an end, and once you reach the other side, you’ll be surprised at your own strength. When things get to be too much, take a deep breath and remind yourself that nothing lasts forever.
The idea that “laughter is the best medicine” hasn’t persisted this long for no reason!
HelpGuide states that, “More than just a respite from sadness and pain, laughter gives you the courage and strength to find new sources of meaning and hope. Even in the most difficult of times, a laugh–or even simply a smile–can go a long way toward making you feel better.”
Find your friends, do something fun, and let yourself laugh. It will release endorphins that can naturally help lower your stress level and help you chill out and relax. When you feel close to a nervous breakdown, sometimes the best thing for you is a good dose of laughter.
Therapists and researchers have worked together to find ways to help people who are dealing with high stress and heavy emotions. These are the best ways that they have been able to come up with in order to bring us back from the edge of a nervous breakdown. Remember: things will always get better.