We all have stress. It is a natural part of life. The level of stress in your life may vary from moment to moment. Some folks are more sensitive to stress and others may shrug it off, choosing to find contentment with whatever hand they are dealt in a happy-go-lucky fashion. Whatever your stress management style, it’s important to just recognize that it’s normal to feel the pressure.
However normal it is, stress can build up to a point where it becomes too much. This overwhelming feeling can often feel like you are out of control. It can be very scary. Some people even think that they are going crazy or going to die in extreme cases of panic and anxiety.
Stress is like the pressure in a pressure cooker. When there is enough pressure that builds, the lid starts to rattle and it seems like it will pop off at any moment. Our minds, the pressure cooker, can only tolerate a certain amount of stress until we start to become overwhelmed and show signs that our “lid is going to pop off”. These signs can be depression, anxiety, or other symptoms of psychological stress.
To decrease your chances of feeling overwhelmed by stress, create vents in your life by regularly practicing effective coping strategies to release stress gradually. Good things to try first are mindfulness, diaphragmatic breathing, meaningful activity, social time, and exercise.
To get more ideas on how to create more “vents” in your pressure cooker/mind, check out this book – The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook by Martha Davis and Elizabeth Robbins Eshelman.