It seems everyone is stressed or overwhelmed at the moment - and no wonder! We've had to face Covid-19, the war in Ukraine and increased living costs, as well as lots of political unrest globally, not to mention climate change worries. But, the brain is actully surprisingly good at ignoring information that isn't in our faces, like the climate change and the Ukrainian war on a daily basis. What the brain occopies itself with instead are the daily stressers of modern day life - work demands, relationship conflicts and the demands of raising children and to live in a world that's not designed for us or to help us thrive. We live in societies far more noisy, busy, taxing and detached than ever before and does not aligned with our evolutinary design. Adding to that we've become globally connected, meaning we know everything that's wrong with everywhere due to media's focus on click bait news, feeding our inbuilt negativety bias, while drowning in fake, toxic and shaming social media, distorting our sense of reality and leading to negative comparision, often finding ourselves falling short.
No wonder we're feeling stressed and overwhelmed!
The bad news - there is no quick cure or fix.
I know that's really annoying but the reasons we're looking for quick fixes is the same reason that we got into the stress and overwhelm mess to begin with.
We've become so disconnected from our bodies and from living in the moment, pausing to appreciate the here-and-now, instead worrying about the future and things we cannot control (you can read more about that in the article Anxiety & Depression).
Capitalism is designed to make you feel unhappy - because the more unhappy you are the more money you'll spend on feeling good, whether that's on doing up your home, on holidays, buying more clothes (you don't technically need) or a new car, on food, or going to the gym to get that 'perfect' body, Capitalism have sold you as the desired goal, or on alcohol or drugs, or, indeed, on therapy! Capitalism is behind the comparison and perfectionism culture and it thrives on you continuing to stay disconnected from yourself and from forming true and deep connections with others.
Just like Capitalism have you fed you a lie that life should be a productivity race and that you're running out of time on living your best life, thus seeking quick fixes, such as buying the latest self-help book or overpriced motivational workshop by some charismatic coach, and it'll make you feel motivated and inspired... for a small amount of time before things go back to the way it was before and you blame yourself for not being able to change or not deserving a better life, and so the cycle continues of feeding the Capitalist machine with your unhappiness by spending money, seeking greater fulfillment and joy in life.
The good news... This is absolutely fixable! But only by going against the brainwashing of quick fixes and learning once again to connect deeply with your body and thoughts in a healthy and helpful way. To learn to notice what you have now and lean into the gratitude of this. To slowly but surely build youself up in a realistic way. Much like you can't go from couch potato to professional bodybuilder via a quick solution. It's about long-term, sustainable changes, commitment and determination. Much like the good guys in the weight loss industry tell you it's not about following a fad diet but about creating a lifestyle that works for you - the same goes for the mind.
So, you might be disappointed to find that this article won't offer you a solution for your stress and overwhelm. Instead, my desire is to normalise feeling stressed and overwhelmed and invite you to think about how serious you are about addressing it - how committed are you at making a change?
Ideally, we'd change the environment you live in that's causing you to feel this way but it is a lot easier (that's not to say that it is easy) to work with changing what you're in control of which is your thinking, emotions, attitudes, reactions and beliefs. So, it's not about changing 'you' because you're not ok the way that you are now but rather to change how you think and feel about being stressed and/or overwhelmed. Often it's our belief system that creates the biggest problems for us moving forward. As the founder of person-centered therapy, Carl Rogers, said: "the curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change." So, it's really not about changing you but changing how accepting you are around the way that you are.
If you'd like to explore this topic further, feel free to get in touch for a free, 20-minute, Zoom chat to talk about whether I'd be a good fit for you for further sessions to work on your stress and overwhelm.
Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed this article. If you did, or didn't, or want to add something or have a question, feel free to comment below (but try and be kind about it - I'm a terribly sensitive soul).
Don't forget that this is just my opinion. You don't have to agree. These pieces of writing are just here to make you think and take from it what you like and find helpful and ignore the rest. At the end of the day, it's your life and, therefore, what you consume, what you believe, and what you think and feel is your choice.
Also, this article has been brought to you by a perfectly imperfect, flawsome dyslexic. I hope any potential spelling or grammar mistakes didn't take away from your enjoyment.
Meandering thoughts about life and the meaning of everything, from a know-it-not-all!