There are hundreds of blogs and Instagram posts that teach you how to rid your life of stress. The truth is, life is stressful, and anxiety can be a natural consequence of life stressors that we face daily. Relationships, work, and parenting can often feel chaotic…pair these already complicated and often overwhelming areas of life with living during a pandemic, it can feel downright unmanageable. Instead of attempting to “rid” our lives of stress and anxiety, we must first accept that feeling difficult emotions is a part of life. It’s important to first identify and accept these difficult emotions, in order to create healthy and lasting change in our lives.
ACCEPT: Accepting that stress can be a natural experience during difficult times is a much healthier approach than entirely “ridding” our lives of difficult emotions. That’s an impossible task that would feel us leaving forever disappointed. What we resist, persists, and this approach is much more realistic approach that incorporates self-compassion and the acceptance that we aren’t perfect, nor should be. Just because we experience difficulties does not mean we are weak or unprepared. It means we are human and we have the strength and capacity to identify when we are not feeling our best.
ACT: What’s the next step after identifying that difficult emotions are just a part of life? Sit in misery, clouded by stress and anxiety? NO! Asking for help is the biggest sign of strength and self-care. In addition to eating healthy, exercise, maintaining healthy relationships, quality sleep, therapy can be an excellent space to process difficult emotions and learn how to effectively cope with them. It can be so easy to feel “stuck” in a cycle of stress and negativity. We aren’t born instantly knowing how to cope in a modern era of traffic, feeling burnout from work, financial issues, or family drama. A therapist can help you identify coping skills and safely process life stressors in order to live more joyfully.
PRACTICE: Therapy isn’t the last stop in creating lasting change. Implementing tools on a daily basis is crucial to managing stress and anxiety. When these stressors bubble up to the surface and you feel like you don’t have a grasp, these difficult emotions are free thermometers that tell us we need to be more active in our self-care. Although there’s no “cure” for stress, and it’s impossible to rid our lives entirely of them, it’s possible to take hold of our lives through dedication and practice.
If you have any questions about the therapeutic process, please reach out! It’s never too late to ask for help.