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The Emotional Rollercoaster: Dealing with Stressors in Life

Jan 2, 2024 | 0 comments


The information provided here is not intended to be a substitute for professional health and mental health care or consultation. Individuals who believe they may require or benefit from treatment should seek the advice of a psychologist or other licensed mental health professional.

Very Good Counseling is a private practice of licensed mental health therapists who specialize in EMDR.  We provide online mental health services to individuals throughout the State of Florida,  and in-person at our office in Fort Myers, FL. For more information, contact us.

by: <a href="" target="_blank">Elena Engle, LMHC-S, EMDRIA-approved EMDR Consultant</a>

by: Elena Engle, LMHC-S, EMDRIA-approved EMDR Consultant

Because We Believe You Matter

Elena founded Very Good Counseling in 2021. As a therapist, she finds that specializing in EMDR therapy elevates her abilities to help individuals with trauma, PTSD, anxiety, and depression. Passionate about freeing people from years of negative thoughts and destructive habits, Elena is committed to helping individuals find liberation from their past, embracing their truest selves.

Life, ah, what a ride! It’s filled with ups, downs, and unexpected turns. But let’s be real, amidst the laughter and joy, there are those pesky little things called “stressors in life” that have a knack for sneaking up on us. Whether it’s a looming deadline, a rocky relationship, or the eternal struggle of adulting, stressors have a way of making us feel like we’re stuck on a neverending rollercoaster.

It’s time to learn to differentiate between normal life stuff and stressors, and uncover practical strategies to reclaim your peace of mind. Don’t let life’s rollercoaster leave you overwhelmed – empower yourself with tools to identify and manage the stressors in life, cultivating greater resilience. After all, life is meant to be enjoyed, not just endured. 

What Are These Stressors in Life Anyway?

Before we dive into the nitty gritty, let’s get one thing straight – stressors are like those annoying rain clouds that follow us around. They’re the things that make our palms sweaty, hearts race, and foreheads furrow. Picture this: you’ve got a presentation due at work, the car won’t start, and your dog just decided to redecorate the living room with toilet paper. Classic stressors in life, right?

These stressors come in all shapes and sizes – big and small, shortterm and longterm. The biggies might be major life events like moving, changing jobs, or navigating a breakup. On the other hand, the smaller stressors are the everyday annoyances that pile up – traffic jams, misplaced keys, or your WiFi deciding to take a day off when you need it the most.

Stressors in Life: Spotting the Sneaky Culprits

Identifying stressors is like playing detective with your own life. You need to look past the surface and figure out what’s really pushing your buttons. Is it the endless todo list that keeps growing faster than a weed in spring? Or maybe it’s that persistent feeling of being overwhelmed by responsibilities.

Let’s not forget about the stressors that come disguised as routine – like that daily commute that turns into a battle against time, or the constant notifications on your phone that make you feel like you’re on call 24/7. It’s crucial to recognize these sneaky culprits to deal with them effectively.

Ah, the age old question: When is it normal life stuff, and when does it officially become a stressor? Let’s break it down like a friend sharing some solid advice over coffee.

Normal Life Stuff vs. Stressor Showdown

The Everyday Hustle:

Normal life comes with its daily dose of hustle – waking up early, commuting, handling work or school, and juggling a multitude of responsibilities. It’s like the background music of your life, always there but not necessarily stealing the spotlight.

The Stressor Intrusion:

When the everyday hustle starts feeling more like an avalanche, that’s when it’s transitioning into stressor territory. If your usual routine becomes overwhelming, if your todo list resembles a never ending scroll, and if you find yourself constantly racing against the clock, those are stressor red flags.

Challenges and Obstacles:

Normal life often throws challenges our way – a tough project at work, a disagreement with a friend, or the classic “unexpected car trouble.” These are like the bumps in the road, the little hurdles we all face.

The Stressor Ambush:

When those challenges start piling up, overlapping, and turning into a neverending obstacle course, that’s when they evolve into stressors. If it feels like you’re navigating a maze blindfolded and the exit keeps moving, it’s time to acknowledge the stressor invasion.

The Stressor Storm:

When your emotional rollercoaster turns into a never ending storm, with anxiety, irritability, or a constant feeling of being on edge, that’s when normal emotions might be taking a detour into stressor driven turbulence.

How to Spot the Difference: A Stressor Detective Guide

1. Intensity Check:

Normal Life Stuff: Life is a mix of highs and lows. Not every challenge is a crisis, and not every busy day is a disaster.

Stressor Showdown: If the intensity of your experiences feels like it’s consistently cranked up to 11, and even the minor inconveniences feel like major setbacks, stressors might be taking center stage.

2. Duration Inspection:

Normal Life Stuff: Challenges come and go, and you adapt. The workload spikes, but it eventually eases off. Arguments happen, but resolutions follow.

Stressor Showdown: If the challenges seem never ending, if the stress persists long after the situation should have resolved, it might be time to consider it a stressor rather than just a normal part of life.

3. Physical vs. Emotional Impact:

Normal Life Stuff: Everyday challenges might bring momentary stress, but your body and mind usually find a way to balance and recover.

Stressor Showdown: If you notice a consistent impact on your physical health – headaches, digestive issues, or disrupted sleep – or your emotional wellbeing is taking a prolonged hit, stressors are likely at play.

4. Control Assessment:

Normal Life Stuff: You can handle the ups and downs. You have a sense of control, even when things get a bit chaotic.

Stressor Showdown: When you feel like events are spiraling beyond your control, and you’re struggling to regain that sense of balance, stressors might be exerting their influence.

5. Support System Evaluation:

Normal Life Stuff: You might need to lean on friends, family, or colleagues from time to time, but overall, your support system is there to help, not carry the entire load.

Stressor Showdown: If you find yourself relying heavily on your support system just to stay afloat, or if your relationships are strained due to the constant stress, it’s a sign that stressors are taking a toll.

The Stressor Reality Check

Life is a dynamic journey, and a certain level of stress is absolutely normal. It keeps things interesting, challenges us to grow, and adds flavor to the adventure. However, when the challenges start feeling insurmountable, the stress becomes chronic, and the joy gets overshadowed, it’s time for a reality check.

So, trust your instincts, listen to your body and mind, and don’t hesitate to seek help if you need it. Recognizing the difference between normal life stuff and the real stressors in life is like putting on your stress detective hat – it helps you navigate the twists and turns with a clearer perspective. 

Life’s rollercoaster is meant to be thrilling, not a constant source of stress. Buckle up, enjoy the ride, and remember: you’ve got the power to spot those stressors in life and reclaim the joy in the journey.

The Domino Effect: Stressors and Your Mental Health

Now, let’s talk about the elephant in the room – the impact of stressors on our mental health. The stressors in life tend to have this domino effect, knocking down one piece at a time until we find ourselves buried under a pile of worries. It’s like trying to juggle too many balls at once – eventually, one is going to drop.

When the stressors in life become your constant companion, they can lead to a variety of mental health challenges. Anxiety, depression, and burnout often show up uninvited, wreaking havoc on our emotional wellbeing. It’s like being stuck in a loop of negativity, where every stressor in life becomes a heavy weight on your shoulders.

Stressors at Work: Tackling the 9to5 Beast

The workplace, ah, the breeding ground for a big chunk of the stressors in life. The endless emails, tight deadlines, and the never ending stream of meetings – it’s a recipe for a stress cocktail. The 9to5 beast has a way of turning even the most zen-like individuals into stress balls.

So, how do we tackle life’s stressors at work? First things first, take a deep breath. Inhale the good vibes, exhale the stressors. It’s easier said than done, but finding a moment to pause and reset can work wonders. Break down the tasks at hand, prioritize, and remember – you don’t have to do it all at once.

Setting boundaries is another gamechanger. Learn to say no when your plate is full, and don’t let the fear of disappointing others dictate your workload. Also, embrace the power of breaks. A quick walk around the block or a few minutes of deep breathing can be the secret weapons in your stressfighting arsenal.

Relationship Stressors: Navigating the Love Rollercoaster

Ah, relationships – the joy, the love, and, you guessed it, some pretty big stressors in life. Whether it’s a romantic partner, family member, or friend, relationships come with their fair share of challenges. Miscommunication, disagreements, and the ever elusive work life balance can turn the love rollercoaster into a stress inducing thrill ride.

When faced with relationship stressors, communication is your superhero cape. Express your feelings, listen actively, and work together to find solutions. It’s easy to let the stressors in life strain your relationships, but a little understanding and compromise can go a long way.

Remember, you’re a team. Instead of pointing fingers, tackle stressors together. And don’t forget the importance of self care. Taking care of yourself allows you to show up as the best version of yourself in your relationships. It’s like the airplane safety announcement – secure your oxygen mask before helping others.

The Everyday Stressors: Life’s Irritating Soundtrack

Life’s soundtrack is often accompanied by the irritating hum of everyday stressors. From the alarm clock blaring in the morning to the dishes piling up in the sink, these stressors might seem trivial, but their cumulative effect can be draining.

To tackle the everyday stressors in life, create routines that work for you. Having a morning routine or a structured todo list can provide a sense of control. Declutter your physical and mental space – a tidy environment can do wonders for reducing stress. And most importantly, embrace the power of saying no to unnecessary commitments. Your time and energy are precious – spend them on things that truly matter.

Dealing with the Stressors in Life: Finding Your Stressor Antidote

Now that we’ve explored the wild terrain of stressors, let’s talk about the antidotes. Yes, they exist, and no, they’re not hidden in a mystical cave. It’s all about finding what works for you.

Exercise is like the superhero of stressor antidotes. Whether it’s a brisk walk, a yoga session, or a dance party in your living room, physical activity releases those feel good endorphins that combat stress. And the best part? You don’t need a fancy gym membership – a walk in the park or a home workout will do the trick.

Mindfulness and meditation are like the soothing balms for a stressed out mind. Taking a few minutes each day to focus on your breath, clear your mind, and be present in the moment can significantly reduce the impact of stressors. It’s like hitting the reset button for your brain.

Don’t underestimate the power of a good laugh. Laughter truly is the best medicine. Whether it’s a funny movie, a standup comedy show, or a hilarious conversation with a friend, laughter can break the tension and lighten the load of stressors in life.

When to Seek Therapy

Deciding to consult with a therapist to help you work through the stressors in life is a significant and personal decision. It’s important to recognize that seeking therapy is not a sign of weakness but rather a proactive step towards taking care of your mental health and sense of well-being. 

Here are some indicators that it might be a good time to consider therapy for those stressors in life:

1. Persistent Feelings of Distress: If you’re experiencing persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety, or overall distress that affect your daily life and well-being, therapy can provide a supportive space to explore and address these emotions.

2. Difficulty Coping with Life Changes: Major life changes, such as a divorce, loss of a loved one, job loss, or relocation, can be challenging to navigate. If you find it difficult to cope with these changes, a therapist can offer guidance and coping strategies.

3. Relationship Struggles: Whether it’s with a partner, family member, or friend, ongoing conflicts and challenges in relationships can benefit from the neutral perspective of a therapist. They can help you navigate communication issues and provide tools for healthier relationships.

4. Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms: If you find yourself relying on unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as substance abuse, overeating, or avoidance, therapy can help you explore healthier alternatives and develop coping strategies.

5. Feeling Overwhelmed or Stuck: If you feel overwhelmed by life’s challenges or stuck in a repetitive cycle without progress, a therapist can assist you in gaining clarity, setting goals, and moving forward.

6. Loss of Interest or Motivation: A significant loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed or a lack of motivation to engage in daily life can be signs of emotional distress. Therapy can help you rediscover your passions and find motivation.

7. Sleep and Appetite Changes: Noticeable changes in sleeping patterns or appetite – whether it’s sleeping too much or too little, or significant weight loss or gain – can be indicators of emotional struggles that may benefit from therapeutic support.

8. Negative Self-Talk: If you find yourself engaging in persistent negative self-talk, experiencing low self-esteem, or struggling with self-acceptance, a therapist can assist in building a more positive self-image.

9. Trauma or Past Experiences: If you have experienced trauma, abuse, or other challenging life events, a therapist trained in trauma-focused approaches can help you process and heal.

10. Inability to Cope with Stress: If daily stressors are becoming overwhelming and you find it challenging to cope, a therapist can provide tools to manage stress more effectively.

11. Thoughts of Self-Harm or Suicide: If you’re having thoughts of self-harm or suicide, it’s crucial to seek help immediately. Reach out to a mental health professional, a helpline, or go to the nearest emergency room.

Remember that seeking therapy is a proactive step toward self-care. Therapists are trained to provide a safe and non-judgmental space for individuals to explore their thoughts and feelings. If you’re unsure whether therapy is right for you, consider reaching out for an initial consultation to discuss your concerns with a mental health professional. They can help you determine the most appropriate course of action based on your specific needs and circumstances.

In Conclusion: Riding the Stressor Rollercoaster

Life’s rollercoaster is bound to have its fair share of stressors – it’s an inevitable part of the ride. But remember, you’re not alone in this. Everyone has their own stressors in life, and it’s okay to ask for help when you need it.

So, the next time life throws a stressor your way, take a deep breath, put on your favorite song, and remember that this rollercoaster has its ups and downs for a reason. Embrace the ride, tackle those stressors in life head on, and don’t forget to enjoy the view from the top. After all, it’s the twists and turns that make the journey memorable. Happy riding!

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