6 Barriers to overcoming stress

Around 80% of people report moderate to severe stress. Long term stress can impact our mental and physical health, and our performance. It can reduce our life span. This article explores the common barriers we may encounter on our path to preventing and overcoming stress. Understanding them can help us to live a life with much less stress.

#1 You may not know you are stressed

This is quite common. Stress can impact us in subtle ways and we may not realize we are stressed. We may get high blood pressure, or heart disease, or start over eating, or diabetes, or start sleeping poorly. I may also start getting a non-specific body ache or headache. Other symptoms include heartburn or Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Mental symptoms include difficulty concentrating, feeling overwhelmed, being forgetful or constant worry.

Each one of these can have other explanations but if you have several of these together then it's likely you are stressed.

Asking yourself ‘Could I be stressed?’ Is probably the first step in doing something about it.

Explore the Symptoms of stress section in the HappierMe app to find out more.

#2 You may be in denial. Or think it's normal.

You may have been conditioned to think only ‘weak’ people feel stressed so though it is impacting your life significantly you just put up with it, or refuse to accept it may be happening to you. Or you may ‘normalize’ it and think everyone suffers some stress and it's a part of life, not realizing that it is damaging your health and possibly reducing your life span.

Stress in short bursts is common and often needed to deal with our challenges. It is the long-term stress that raises our cortisol levels and causes problems.

Explore the Conditioning Module in the HappierMe app to understand how your past influences shape your thinking.

#3 You do not think anything can be done about it

Even if you get to the point where you accept you have stress and it is affecting your life you may not think anything can be done about it because you believe it's being caused by external factors - work, or lack of money, or your relationships and so on. Since you cannot change those factors you may feel nothing can be done and just put up with it.

You won’t put up with a toothache, so why put up with stress? So much can be done to help, but you have to take the first step.

Explore the Breathing Exercises and Audio Meditation modules in the app to feel better now.

#4 You look for someone to fix it for you

If you accept you need to do something about it, you may not know where to look for help. Someone suggests you see the doctor. She says you are stressed and offers you some tablets to feel more calm - they help but just mask the problem. She also offers for you to see the therapist for some talking therapy, but the waiting list is really long. The talking therapy does help you feel better but you realize that you still need to do all the work to feel better.

It is okay to look for help but even if you find someone to help you, you are going to have to do most of the work. If you can’t change the external event, you are going to have to change your reaction to it.

Watch this video on stress to understand this better.

#5 Is stress a reaction from your thinking to external events?

Someone introduces you to a new idea which feels really strange - that stress is just the difference between how things are and how you want them to be, and an automatic reaction from your own thinking. It isn’t the external event that is causing your stress, but your reaction to those events. You may feel a huge internal resistance to this idea because your mind has convinced you that your stress is being caused by your work, or your partner and so on.

Gradually the idea sinks in. It's logical. You can’t fault it, but you still don’t know what to do about it.

If you can see this clearly, you can then take the first step to taking charge of managing your own stress.

You now know that you need to work on yourself. Explore the Reactive Mind module in the app.

#6 Could understanding your own mind help you avoid and overcome stress?

Okay - You have now come to the point where you can see clearly that stress is a reaction from your thinking, so if you could change the way you react you would feel better and your health would improve. But how do you begin to change that reaction? It feels automatic and you seem to have no control over it. You don’t know how to understand your own mind and it also makes you feel a little anxious, not knowing what you will find. You have never been taught how to look at yourself and you find that idea strange.

We have developed a number of resources in the HappierMe app to help you do this in a gentle way.

Explore the PATHWAY program - a guided program for personal growth and overcoming stress.

The Awareness Exercises offer daily bite sized exercises to understand your own mind and take charge of it.

The Stress module explores the subject in detail and offers practical ways of overcoming stress.

Begin your own journey to avoid and overcome stress for the long term. Download and explore HappierMe for free today.

Understand your mind. Live a happier life.

Life can be tough. The HappierMe app is your personal guide to help you feel better now, but also to take you deeper to understand your thoughts and feelings. It supports you to become the person you want to be, to be happier, manage your emotions and  succeed in the world. There are also coaches you can speak to through the app.

Copyright © 2024 HappierMe. All rights reserved

Copyright © 2024 HappierMe. All rights reserved