Are you feeling stressed for seemingly no good reason? Well, there probably is a good reason, but it might surprise you. Here are three common stressors that can cause low or anxious feelings – and smart ways to reduce stress symptoms.
Being Overly Empathetic
“Since emotions such as fear, anger and frustration are energies, you can potentially ‘catch’ them from people without realizing it,” says Los Angeles psychiatrist Judith Orloff, MD. She believes that people who feel frequently blue or drained of energy are emotional sponges.
Smart Strategy: Ask yourself, “Is the feeling mine or someone else’s?” If the emotion such as fear or anger is yours, gently confront what’s causing it on your own or with professional help, Orloff says. If it’s not yours, try to pinpoint the generator. In all cases, when you are around negative individuals, be sure to decompress emotionally afterward by taking a few minutes alone to relax and focus on a positive image or thought.
Reaching a Long-Held Goal
You’ve done something you’ve always wanted to – run a race, traveled to a far-off country, landed a dream job – so why aren’t you thrilled? “Success brings its own forms of stress,” says Dorothea Hover Kramer, PhD, a psychologist in Port Angeles, Wash. Sometimes the chase is the most exciting part, making for an anticlimactic end result. And sometimes, stress comes from the uncertainty of, “Now what?”
Smart Strategy: Make the thrill of victory last. Hover-Kramer suggests you congratulate yourself for the hard work and dedication you’ve obviously put forth. Then, allow yourself to savor this time. To help you do this, consider creating a blog about what you’ve done and the lessons you learned along the way. Or share the news on a social media site to relive the thrill of reaching your goal – and possibly link up with others who have done something similar.
Ending an Unhealthy Relationship
You’ve reached the point of realizing you no longer can be friends with someone close to you. Cutting out such toxicity in your life should make you happy – yet you can’t help being aggravated or down about it. Hover-Kramer says that’s normal: Although you know the change is good for you, you’ve still grown used to having that particular person in your life.
Smart Strategy: Don’t fight the feelings you’re experiencing, Hover-Kramer says. Write a letter to your former friend sharing your thoughts. You don’t have to send it! Chances are you’ll naturally feel better when you release those thoughts from your mind. Then, take action to surround yourself with positive people and experiences. Sign up for a night class through your local community college or immerse yourself in a favorite activity – both of which will likely expose you to new, more uplifting friendships.