How Much Stress Is Tolerable?

Have you ever felt so stressed that you just couldn’t deal with it anymore? Maybe you didn’t mean anything serious, like suicide, but you were definitely at your limit with everything going wrong in life, and you’d give anything if you could catch a break.

This happens to just about everyone at some point in their lives. You have to be on the lookout for stress levels and know what’s normal and what’s too much – to the point that you need to overhaul one or more aspects of your life.

The only stress that you need to concern yourself with is the chronic distress that you’re suffering from. Don’t worry about the eustress – the good stress that naturally comes from being a bit under pressure for a logical situation, like a move to a new home, for example.

You really want to practice stress relief techniques throughout your life so that the overwhelm never has a chance to catch up with you. But if it already has, then you can easily remedy the situation.

The best thing you can do is be aware of what’s happening to cause chaos in your life. If it’s people, then boundaries can be put in place to distance them from you and alleviate your constant exposure to them.

If it’s a job issue, then you can work within your company or go elsewhere or even learn new skills to take you to a position or place that’s more suited to your individual needs and talents.

If it’s a health issue, you can implement a strong self-care routine that helps you alleviate pain, boost your well-being, and remedy any issues that need to be cleared up – but it requires you to be proactive in nature.

First, pinpoint what it is that’s causing turmoil in your life. You can’t turn things around if you simply say you feel overwhelmed. You need to be working with specifics so that you can make a plan of attack.

Once you know where the root of the problem lies, you can begin planning to tackle it in a way that works best for you. Some might be measures that take place to change routines or exposure to the stress.

Other ways might be internal coping mechanisms that you learn to implement, such as visualization, positive affirmations, meditation or even physical measures such as better sleep and physical activity.

Not All Stress Is Bad

When it comes to the word stress, most people think of it as something we always want to avoid. But what’s really a problem is negative stress that’s chronic in nature, which is known as distress.

The positive kind of stress that can offer benefits to our lives is known as eustress. So let’s take a look at the difference between the two. Being under a certain amount of stress can propel us to succeed in certain areas.

It can help you focus and be productive and it energizes you to some degree (whereas distress drains you of energy). It’s also short-term and feels doable, not chronic and overwhelming, like the negative stress is.

Every person will have a different idea of what they call eustress versus distress. That’s because we all handle things uniquely. But there are some things you can categorize as distress due to the nature of the issue.

For example, if you or someone you love has cancer and is hospitalized long-term, that’s distress. If you lost your job and can’t find another one and money woes are piling up for months or years, that’s distress.

But some things can be stressful in a positive way. For example, instead of losing your job, what if you got called into the office for a promotion, where you had more responsibility?

It would be stressful, but exciting and promising. Or how about if you get married, move into a new home and have children? Those are all chaotic, yet wonderful moments in a person’s life – but they’re still stressful in the short-term.

Even taking a vacation can be stressful, if you think about it. Although the moment is fantastic, it also requires short term budgeting, travel issues and a glimpse into the unknown, but the overall impact is a delightful memory for you when all is said and done.

Stress isn’t just external happenings, either – they’re also internal issues such as your fears or expectations of yourself. Good stress is more exciting, even if you’re apprehensive.

Stress can sharpen your senses and help your memory, if it’s short-term. In your job, it can even lend a hand in creative endeavors. To help yourself navigate the complex world of stress, make sure you practice stress-relieving measures like meditation and mindfulness. Watch your sleep and nutritional habits and be aware of when you need to address chronic stress issues head-on.

Are You Ready to Live a Less-Stressed Life?

Stress is addictive. It doesn’t seem like that would be possible, but there are some people who live their lives addicted to their story of chaos and complication. You might be one of those people – or simply a participant in someone else’s story of endless stress and confusion.

People who are addicted to stress often thrive on complaints. They have a desire to gain attention from everyone when they’re speaking of their constant stress. They want the camaraderie and commiserating that goes with expressing a state of stress to others.

You see it on social media all the time. You can probably go through your friends’ list and pick out the names of people who post every day about traffic, their boss, financial issues, and more – complaint after complaint about how horrible life is.

These people (maybe even you, yourself) are mired in the outlook of focusing on stress and turning to others for a feeling of belonging or betterment. If that describes you, you need to make a change fast to extricate yourself from that mindset.

There is a way to break the addiction to stress. The first thing is to quit plastering it everywhere – on social media, in emails, or even speaking it to everyone when you pick up your phone to call or text someone.

You want to go through a detox of sorts where you learn to focus on what else your life is made up of – the precious moments, the beauty in the world, and the little wins that you enjoy throughout the day.

This doesn’t mean you can never comment about stress or situations that wreak havoc on your emotions again. But limit yourself or balance it out so that your voice changes from one of discontent to one of positivity.

This also means you may need to disengage from others who do this sort of thing. If you have friends on social media who are constantly stressed out and you’re commenting to help them see what’s positive, you can temporarily unfollow them without unfriending them, so that you’re not exposed to the 24/7 negativity and they’ll never know.

You may want to invest in a gratitude journal that you fill out to keep track of all of the positives in life. You can also grab some positive affirmation courses that teach you to focus on what’s right in your world.

When your outlook changes, the stress that is truly in your life will be more manageable to you and you’ll be able to handle it on your own, rather than dumping it out for the world to see and expecting others to rescue you.

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 Cheers, Helene Malmsio

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