Why nothing is permanent in any life

I feel stressed and don't know why - what can I do?

Everyone knows the feeling of stress. In many cases we also know the reason for this: too much work, afterwards a meeting with friends, too little sleep, the mother-in-law comes to visit, the children have to be brought from A to B on time, etc. But there are also phases in our lives in which we feel stressed for no apparent reason. What's behind it and how can we change that?

What is stress

Stress is an increased level of tension. Since body and psyche are not independent of each other, physical tension affects our psychological experience and vice versa. We can notice psychological tension when our thoughts race, we feel uncomfortable and react more irritably. However, there is both positive stress (eustress), e.g. when we are excited about a great event, and negative stress that overwhelms us in hectic everyday life.

Why the stress?

Stress, i.e. increased tension, means that we have a lot of energy available. Our body registers how much we have to do and starts up all systems. In this sense, stress is there to enable us to optimally adapt to our circumstances. The catch is that with constant stress, our resources will eventually be exhausted. If we do not recover, we can become physically or mentally ill.

"It can also be that the reasons for stress are more diffuse and we may not even be aware of them."

There are phases in life when there isn't one classic reason, e.g. too much work, for stress. It may also be that the reasons for stress are more diffuse and we may not even be aware of them. Given the current situation, this is often the case and absolutely understandable.

Diffuse stress and corona

During the Corona crisis, many people experience a permanently increased level of tension, even when everything seems to be in (new) order. That's because we don't know what's coming tomorrow. Will the number of infections rise again? Will I or one of my loved ones get sick? However, this possible future has not yet occurred and the depicted events may never either. We are currently experiencing our tension as unfounded and we ask ourselves: What is actually the matter with me?

Thoughts lead to stress

"When we feel stressed for" no reason ", it is generally our thoughts that cause the stress and not a specific event."

When we feel stressed for "no reason", it is generally our thoughts that are causing the stress, rather than a specific event. On the one hand, these can be thoughts of the past, but in most cases they are concerns about the future, since stress is supposed to arm us for difficult phases. That is why we often have sleep problems when we are stressed. It is precisely when we are resting that we begin to brood. These nocturnal worries trigger a stress reaction in our body, we are “electrified” and, as a logical consequence, there is no sleep. And the carousel of thought keeps turning.

The future is only in our mind

"The future only exists in our thoughts and still triggers a stress reaction."

Imagine biting into a juicy lemon. If you really get into that thought, picture it, your mouth will tighten and you will notice more salivation. But there is no lemon at all. It is the same with the future. The future only exists in our thoughts and still triggers a stress response. In this context, there is a possibly sensible solution to the problem.

How do I control my thoughts?

When thoughts are stressful, the key to a stress-free life seems to be to control our thoughts. Positive thoughts lead to positive feelings and all in all a very pleasant life. However, you have probably already experienced it yourself: You cannot control your thoughts. In fact, psychological research has shown that we can feel worse when we try to have positive thoughts at will. So what really helps us?

Anchoring yourself in the here and now

exercise

Many ways to anchor yourself in the here and now focus on the breath. However, there is also the possibility of taking the thoughts themselves as a fixed point in the present. Make yourself comfortable for this and follow the steps below:

1. Notice that you have thoughts.

If the thoughts are very distressing, it can be difficult because you automatically think they are true and necessary. But it always applies: You have thoughts, you are not your thoughts.

2. Observe your thoughts.

Just as you can watch a train go by, you can watch a thought. In doing this, you are breaking the connection with him that usually puts you under stress. Because if you can observe something, you are not.

3. Let thoughts come and go.

Thoughts have a tremendous attraction. Make yourself aware, however, that you are by no means obliged to follow them, spin them further, or even act on them. Thoughts are just thoughts. You can't magic it away, but you can be it and not let it influence you.

4. What is behind the thought?

When you no longer identify with your thoughts, you will find that behind your thoughts lies an awareness that is stress-free anytime, anywhere. Practice the above steps regularly to gain easier access to this "inner calm" that is available to you at all times in the present.

How to calm your thoughts in everyday life

If you don't have time to concentrate on individual steps in everyday life, try the following: Just put the addition "" I just have the thought that ... "in front of a stressful thought. In doing so, you distance yourself from your thought by identifying it as a mere thought - and not immediate reality. You also anchor yourself in the present. You don't automatically fantasize about the future, you realize that you just now just thinking. As a result, you get less mentally and physically - sometimes not at all - in stress.

The corona crisis puts a strain on you in your everyday life, iu would like more support or suggestions on how you can use the coming months to strengthen your psychological well-being? Discover our Free online psychological training on coping with stress during the Corona crisis or become part of ours Facebook community, in which many helpful tips and exchanges with others are waiting for you.

Categories stressTags advice, stress, exercise, knowledge