Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness (c)2016 Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry
Jamal feels as if everything is coming at him at once. Major decisions overwhelm him at times. College, romance, difficulty in the home – all seem to have conspired to pile pressure on pressure until he cannot sleep. Jamal will benefit from learning to manage stress.
Change is hard. Even if it is for the positive, change is hard. These six steps will lead you to more peace if you follow them diligently. Allow yourself time for this to progress. You will see and feel evidence of relief as you learn.
1. Name what you want. All too often we pass through a day without real focus. We check off our to-do list and then go to bed. For some, whole lifetimes go by this way. What if you focus on your values and set goals by them?
To manage stress, it helps to have a positive view of yourself and your purpose. What kind of person do you want to be? Consider each area of life that is important to you. Name your values and write them down.
Write down goals that support your values. Both short-term and long-term goals can guide your decisions. Naming your values and goals based on those values, lowers stress as purpose daily replaces aimlessness.
2. List what is and is not within your control. External events are not under our control. Neither are other people. By carrying the impossible burden of trying to manage circumstances and persons, we add loads of unnecessary stress to our shoulders. What if you let go?
Over time, people will adjust to the new you. They will pick up their rightful responsibility to decide for themselves what they want and who they want to be. By letting go we loose our minds and bodies from the chains of control. We are healthier when we accept life on life’s terms.
Each of us controls how we react to situations and people. Allow yourself and others to be human. Jesus said, “Forgive them for they know not what they are doing.” Forgive yourself for not knowing what to do. Begin fresh today and each day.
3. Exercise boundaries. We decide what we will allow into our lives, so learn to say no to what is not producing life or strength. Boundaries are not about stopping another person. They are about drawing lines around ourself and refusing entrance to harmful negativity.
Think, what do I want in my life? If you want negative or abusive relationships, then by all means let someone mistreat you. I do not believe that is what you want.
4. Practice physical and emotional self-care. Our bodies need sleep, appropriate food, healthy fluids, movement, and hygiene. By ignoring any of these we set up defeat. Do what your doctor tells you to do. Without a functioning body you will experience more stress.
Learn to care for your emotional needs by refusing to use damaging words against yourself. Be your best cheerleader. What if instead of worrying, you turned your thoughts to solutions? If your workload is heavy and deadlines are pressing, think, I can do one task at a time, one day at a time.
5. Ask for help. Not one of us can do this alone. Guidance, encouragement, and support from people you trust will relieve stress. Accountability, mentoring, and medical or mental help are three possible ways you can grow from the help of others. Support groups offer extra strength. Friendships with emotionally and physically safe people are how we know we are not alone.
“Today can be the ‘someday’ I’ve always wanted. There isn’t enough time in these twenty-four hours to do everything I’d hoped to do, but there is time to start making my dreams come true.” -Al Anon.
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NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.
If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.
– picture from Kozzi.com