How are YOU handling it???
Yeah well, last night I almost lost it. That’s right. It took everything in me not to run outside and scream at the top of my lungs for hours. The stress of the times we are living in started to get to me and I immediately began to wonder about ya’ll. How are you doing? As a Black woman, I can tell you that it is almost unbearable.
Having to deal with the reporting of shooting after shooting of Black men and women by the people who are paid to protect us is maddening.
That, on top of Covid would in itself be enough to pull me under, but add to it grief and loss, and there just does not seem to be enough room for regular old everyday problems. And yet, I am managing it, but I know it is tough and if you are having trouble with it all I understand.
When we find ourselves with the challenge of handling situations that are pretty much designed to push every button, we can easily feel like there is no way to relieve the stress. What if I told you that we can turn these situations around for our own development and growth and even take some stress off of our plates? Well, we can but we have to know how.
Many years ago, during a visit to my doctor, I found out something really interesting. According to my doctor, my blood pressure was too high for her to release me without putting me on a second blood pressure medication. It had been taken twice by her nurse and once by her and she was not happy. She told me that she was going to take it again in a half hour after I had my blood taken (which I hate, they can never find a vein) and she wanted me to find a way to bring it down after doing this thing that is very stressful for me. Great.
Fortunately, the blood test happened without any problems but when I returned to her office, I could tell that I was not in a calm space. She gave me five minutes to figure it out and then left the room. So, I set my intention on not only bringing it down but not having to get a second blood pressure medication. I closed my eyes and began to do some deep belly breathing. I did 5 seconds in, held it 3 seconds and 5 seconds out breaths for the entire five minutes that she was out of the office. When she returned, I already knew before she took it again that it was normal. I could feel it and I was right. She was impressed and so was I. That was a first for me.
It is important to know that when your body is flooded with stress hormones, your brain’s function is to protect you and go into fight or flight mode. That means there is little to no access to conscious decision-making. So having a regular method for releasing stress in your life that you can put in place when a stressful situation happens is crucial. You need some techniques that you can put into practice no matter where you are. Like belly breathing.
Without judgement of yourself, start to develop a plan for addressing all of the factors that create stress. In developing your plan, ask yourself the following questions:
Do I need more skills in managing my emotions, resolving conflict and releasing stress?
Do I need a calming phrase or a word to remind me to become more conscious of when I am being triggered?
What work do I need to do if I want to relieve stress when something triggers me?
Let me help you out with that last question.
Releasing Triggers – A Ten Step Process
- Name the feelings that came up for you.
- Question why and what made me feel this way. What are the roots?
- What does it feel like and where does it show up in my body?
- Now, sit in it and stay there.
- Imagine floating in the feeling like water while experiencing it.
- Then imagine dropping down to sit on the bottom underneath the water/feeling.
- Visualize letting the feeling go and breathe it out.
- It will take numerous times.
- Commit to not letting your thoughts take you back there.
- Releasing means that you are done with it. If you are not, then sit with it some more until you are ready to release it.
Asking yourself these questions and doing this process is where growth happens. I want us to not just get through these times, but to grow and eventually thrive. It’s tough, many of us have either already or almost given up. I’m asking you to jump back in, don’t give up, try this, reach out.
Let’s get through the stress together. We can do this!
I can’t promise you that I won’t scream every now and then, it too is a good way to relieve stress, as long as its not directed at someone else. But I can promise that I will be here week after week to give you more ways to get you through the conflict of these times.
Now let’s all BREATHE and keep going.