Modern society is a sea of drama. From real dramas that play out, sometimes in real time, across the news/twitter/podcasts or just with family to fake dramas on the television or at the movies, we are saturated in things that push our emotional buttons. There is drama all over social media. Then, there are the close to home dramas of work stress, deadlines, children and family. We are like the frog that is slowly boiling to death in a pot whose temperature is rising so slowly the frog does not notice it until it is dead. The people around us notice when we start getting short with people, drag around work or home with little energy, and bite people’s heads off for no apparent reason.
Here are four signs you are emotionally distressed, and how to heal from them:
1. You Withdraw From The World
Most of us deal with the daily drama by trying to escape into books, video games, sports or music. When you are emotionally distressed, you spend more and more time in these fantasies as a way to escape the reality lurking just outside. We just want to relax on a beach with a cold drink in our hand. When life beats us down, we want to run for our life.
What you need to do is turn around and push through it. This seems counterintuitive, but you cannot run from your problems or the drama in your life forever. Face them down one by one. Eliminate that drama from your life through solving the underlying problem or removing the drama from your life. Change jobs to something less stressful or more enjoyable, stop hanging out with that friend who generates drama constantly, or ask for help in reducing the stress in your life. Don’t let circumstances dictate your response. Take back control of your life. You are the master of your fate; you are the captain of your soul.
2. Your Patience Wears Very Thin
Yes, we get very snippy when we are stressed. We have zero patience for people and their BS. We want to be done with work/school/commitments right freakin’ now. We are done. So done with this. Everyone can see that you are frazzled and stressed out.
So, take a deep breath, hold it for a few seconds and let everything that is bugging you the hell go. Just let it go. Let’s face it. The things that are stressing you out are not going to be fixed right away. This isn’t a marathon. It is a siege, months or years of slowly grinding through the enemy defenses until you can storm in and achieve your goal. So, settle in for the long wait while you chip away at your stress. This isn’t a struggle for miles, but for inches. Fight for every single inch. Claw and crawl towards your goal an inch at a time. Don’t give up. Don’t waste valuable energy blasting everyone around you with your frustration. Be patient and keep moving forward. One inch at a time.
3. You Feel Drained All Of The Time
Chronic stress and drama can drain your mental, physical and emotional energy. It zaps the will. You feel trapped in a tarpit surrounded by other folks who are also desperately trying to free themselves from the trap. The more furious your struggle against it, the quicker you will tire out and and the further you will sink into the pit. At this point, there are two ways this could go: You can lay down and quit or…
You can get up and fight like hell. Yeah, you are tired and stressed. So is everyone else. If you need to recharge your batteries, then go do something to relieve that stress. Turn up the Rocky training montage and hit the gym, go for a hike, or go dancing. Get the blood pumping and the endorphins flowing. Remind yourself that you are alive and vibrant and full of power. Do this even when all you want to do is collapse on the couch. A body in motion stays in motion. Staying in motion is the very definition of being alive.
4. Negative Emotions Bubble To The Surface
Anger, bitterness, jealousy and frustration will bubble to the surface much more easily and quickly when you are emotionally distressed. The barriers between your negative emotions and the rest of the world are weakened by the stress and drama. Those emotions also escalate much faster and with more power as we lack the energy to hold them in check. People that are under stress will lash out with a vehemence that most people were unaware they possess. Inside everyone lurks a primal beast. Most of us keep that beast caged and starve it into submission. It feeds on negative emotions, and the more you have, the more powerful it becomes.
So, how do we rob this beast of its power? Well, you take it for a walk. Do something constructively destructive. Go do a few rounds on the heavy bag. Chop up that tree in the backyard that needs to be turned into firewood. Sign up for Habitat for Humanity and get in on some demolition work before a remodel gets going. You have a couch that needs to go in the trash? Chop that sucker up into little pieces out in the backyard so that it will fit in the trash can. Scream your frustrations to the sky. When the beast is too tired to fight back any longer, then you stuff it back into its cage. Take control of your life again. Take control of your emotions again. Wear that beast out like a Matador wearing down a bull. When it is good and tired, you finish it off and move on with your life.
You are not a victim of life, or of circumstance, unless you let yourself be a victim. You are in control of your actions and you are in control of your emotional state. Emotional distress and stress in general is a dragon in your life. You can lay down and let yourself be eaten, you can slay that sucker or you can grab a saddle, wrestle it into submission and ride that armored fire-worm into the sunset like a total bad-ass. It is all up to you.