I think everyone at some point or another has found themselves in a stressful situation they don’t particularly like. It might be your job, a relationship or anything in between. When this happens it can be really easy to just ignore the situation and hope that things get better when in reality the longer they continue, the bigger the impact it has on your mental wellbeing.
For me, I recently had my last day at a stressful job. To cut a long story short there was a lot of overtime and the work itself was very demanding. I’d only been there for less than three months so I was hesitant to just leave. After all, it’s normal to feel a bit out of your depths at first.
However, I finally decided enough is enough. I handed in my notice and almost immediately started to notice myself feeling far less stressed and anxious in all other parts of life. As I write this two weeks later, I am still looking for another job, but the stress of being unemployed is far less than it was when I was working before.
The biggest indicator that you have a significant source of stress in your life is when you feel it consistently throughout the day: a bit like it’s sitting on your shoulder and leeching into everything you do. This is a clear sign you have something you need to let go of.
Unfortunately, it’s not always as simple as that. Going back to the job scenario, not everyone can just leave without another job lined up. In this case, it’s best to do whatever you can to remove the major source of stress. Until then, you will only continue to feel down and it does certainly start to affect the rest of your life too. A couple of mindful points to bear in mind:
You might feel stressed, but you are not defined by it
It’s really easy to let stress take over and to feel like it defines us, almost like it is sitting on our shoulder and following us throughout the day. However, the reality is that you aren’t your stress, it’s just an emotion you’re feeling and one that you can absolutely let go.
Going back to the stressful job example, there’s so much more to you than the work you do. It’s very common these days for people to be defined by what they do for a living. That person behind the counter? Retail worker. That person serving food? Waiter.
In fact, whenever you meet someone new the introduction you give yourself probably sounds a lot like your CV! This is an unfortunate byproduct of the fact that many people do feel that their job defines them and that there’s nothing else worth mentioning. Of course, this idea is absolute rubbish. The same goes for any other major source of stress you might have.
Keep being mindful
When we feel stressed being mindful can be the last thing on our minds. Back when I was stressed about my job, I allowed far less time for meditation. This is counter-productive because mindfulness can help us recognise and let go of difficult emotions such as stress. In fact, meditation has been shown in several studies to significantly reduce stress both at work and at home. If you haven’t tried meditation before, here’s our guide for beginners.
If nothing else, remember you can always let go of stressful thoughts and come back to the present moment. I think there’s something really comforting about that.
Remember the blue sky
Until we remove stress, it will continue to be there. To be truly calm and happy we need to actively remove the parts of our lives that make us stressed and anxious.
It helps to remember the blue sky metaphor for the mind: it’s like a clear blue sky but sometimes difficult thoughts (or clouds) obscure the mind and cast over the blue sky.
To make our minds clear and calm we first need to get rid of any physical clouds in our lives.