A nervous breakdown can happen to anyone and often comes on suddenly after intense stress periods. When life’s pressures become overwhelming, your mind and body begin to shut down to avoid further stress. Many people who have a breakdown cannot function normally and take time off work to recuperate. It may also affect other aspects of life, such as family activities, chores, or even general self-care.
When you have a nervous breakdown, it’s your brain’s warning that you need deep rest. You may have ignored some of the warning signs of an impending breakdown, just shrugging it off as everyday anxiety or depression.
However, if the stress keeps building, your mind will eventually sound the alarm bells and force you to slow down. Luckily, you can utilize a few techniques to stave off a nervous breakdown and manage symptoms before they become too severe.
Symptoms of a Nervous Breakdown
While nervous breakdowns aren’t an official medical diagnosis, they usually present with symptoms of anxiety, depression, or panic disorders. Common signs of a breakdown include:
- feeling sad or hopeless
- having low energy
- loss of interest in activities
- feeling helpless or worthless
- panic attacks
- gastrointestinal issues such as pain, diarrhea, or constipation
- stiff muscles
- intrusive thoughts
- extreme paranoia
- mood swings
Causes and Risk Factors for Nervous Breakdown
- recent injury or illness that inhibits functioning in daily life
- a recent traumatic event, such as an accident or death in the family
- taking on too much responsibility at work or school
- being a perfectionist or overachiever
- a recent breakup or divorce
- financial problems such as job loss, eviction, or home foreclosure
- exposure to violence or abuse
- moving to a new, unfamiliar city
- persistent insomnia
- chronic medical conditions or untreated mental illness
- working long hours
- poor social support
- family history of mental health conditions
- lacking healthy coping skills to manage stress
Here Are 9 Things That Will Help You Avoid A Nervous Breakdown
Here are a few tips to help you achieve a peaceful mindset.
1. Reduce Your Workload to Avoid a Total Breakdown.
A nervous breakdown triggered by stress in the workplace is also known as burnout syndrome. Symptoms may include feeling detached from work, exhaustion, and lower performance at work. Sadly, burnout affects more workers than ever before, with almost 80% of US adult workers experiencing it in 2021. People who work in healthcare professions such as nursing or family medicine have the most significant risk of burnout syndrome.
Suppose you’re feeling overstressed at work, delegate tasks, and request time off periodically. Also, don’t hesitate to ask your boss for a reduced workload if that will help prevent a breakdown in the future. Many people work more than forty hours per week nowadays, but this doesn’t leave much time for self-care and mental health days in general. If possible, perhaps you could work part-time or think about switching careers to something less stressful.
2. Get Treatment For Any Underlying Mental Health Conditions.
Having untreated mental illnesses can easily trigger a nervous breakdown, as having a mental disorder increases vulnerability to stress. Attempting to manage a mental illness combined with the normal stresses of everyday life can lead to a breakdown eventually. Unfortunately, many people with a diagnosable mental health condition never seek treatment. However, most mental disorders have a high recovery rate with a combination of therapy, psychotropic medications, and lifestyle changes.
3. Practice Stress Management Techniques.
Chronic stress dramatically increases your risk of a nervous breakdown because it keeps your body in constant fight-or-flight mode. This response primes your body to respond to an immediate threat, but this survival mechanism can malfunction in modern life. We’re dealing with more stressors in today’s world than our ancestors did, and frankly, we haven’t evolved to manage them yet.
So, we must practice stress-relieving techniques such as deep breathing or meditation to avoid having breakdowns. Set aside at least 30 minutes each morning and evening to unwind, destress and allow the worries to fade from your mind. After a few weeks, you’ll feel lighter and more peaceful.
4. Focus Only on What You Can Control.
Sometimes, the mind is our worst enemy, worrying about so many different scenarios that may not ever happen. When your brain starts to get the best of you, take a few deep breaths and bring yourself back to the present. Remind yourself that you can only control yourself and how you react to circumstances, so let go of anything else. Managing the world isn’t your responsibility, so why stress about it? Just go with the flow and leave the rest up to the universe.
5. Allow Yourself to Feel Emotions Without Judgement.
Nervous breakdowns often occur because we bottle up our emotions to deal with when it’s more convenient. However, this can lead to disastrous consequences after a while if we don’t face the feelings head-on. You’re a complex human being, so don’t be so hard on yourself when life becomes overwhelming. After all, you’re doing the best you can with what you have and deserve self-compassion.
When life’s pressures make you question your self-worth and sanity, take a step back to get a better view. Observe your feelings without judgment, simply watching them like thought bubbles entering your mind. They won’t last forever, but they deserve your attention and validation.
6. Focus on the Positive Things in Your Life
Therapists encourage everyone to focus on the positives in times of stress. Remind yourself that you have a lovely home, a steady income, 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.
7. Find Your Support System
Therapists and experts advise clients on the positive role a support system can play. Friends and family will always be there for you in times of stress and trouble. These are the people who will give you the strength to keep moving forward when life gets hard.
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 want the best for you, and they’ll help you get to where you’re going.
8. Laugh to Avoid a Nervous Breakdown
The idea that “laughter is the best medicine” hasn’t persisted this long for no reason!