Need tips to control stress levels

Kurleysue

New member
Joined
Sep 1, 2021
Messages
3
I've never posted in a forum or group chat before. But I could use some help controlling my stress and anxiety levels. It is beginning to effect my job. I've been in a constant state of stress for the last couple of years lost jobs, lost friends and I've lost my family. Now I'm losing the last of my parental figures to a disease that is killing her very slowly making her lose her mind. These memories are keeping me in tears on a daily basis. I'm tired, very tired, and in pain every day. I need to reduce my stress and anxiety levels to reduce my pain before I have a heart attack. I've tried many doctors and many more pills but nothing seems to work. If anyone can share some stress reduction tips that might have worked for them I would greatly appreciate it.
 

Flexecif

Distinguished member
Joined
Sep 1, 2017
Messages
108
Reason
Diagnosis
00/0000
Country
CA
State
Canada
Try to divert your attentions by doing proactive activities like cycling, jogging or gardening. Do something that would make you happy and would help you boost your mood.
 

sunkacola

Very helpful member
Joined
Dec 2, 2016
Messages
1,466
Reason
DX FIBRO
Diagnosis
00/0000
Country
Uni
State
Somewhere
Oh Kurleysue, I am so sorry to hear of your troubles. I feel for you. Please feel welcome here, and know that we are all here to help each other.

If you check out this post of mine, it has tips for stress relief:

Beyond those tips, I want to say that experimentation is what it takes to find what works for you. Some swear by meditation, others couldn't meditate if their lives depended on it. :)

Medication is not the way to reduce stress, because it does nothing to change the source of the stress, and you have plenty of real sources in your life right now. So I advise against taking any of those meds, and instead focus on what you can do for yourself. What you can do for yourself without medication won't change the source of stress either, but at least it doesn't run the risk of making things worse, which medication can.

Activity is good if you can manage it, or to the degree that you can manage it. If there's any way you can do a little tiny bit of volunteer work of some kind just a few hours a week, that is a great way to get your mind off your life. Being out in nature, even if you can't hike, just drive, can help. And distracting yourself with whatever you can, whether that is reading a good book or talking with a friend, writing a post here so others can support you, or petting a dog. In fact, the animal shelters here have programs where you can volunteer to come in and pet animals one day a week. Good for the animals, good for you.

If you still need more tips, or if you just want to vent, feel free to do so here. I hope we can help.
 

Kurleysue

New member
Joined
Sep 1, 2021
Messages
3
Thanks for the advice I have been trying and I will continue to try. Thanks for your advice.
 

sunkacola

Very helpful member
Joined
Dec 2, 2016
Messages
1,466
Reason
DX FIBRO
Diagnosis
00/0000
Country
Uni
State
Somewhere
Let us know if there's anything we can do to help. And remember that sometimes you just need to vent, and there's a place for that here. People here understand. You are not alone.
 

Jemima

Senior member
Joined
Jul 30, 2020
Messages
456
Reason
DX FIBRO
Diagnosis
11/2019
Country
PT
I've never posted in a forum or group chat before. But I could use some help controlling my stress and anxiety levels. It is beginning to effect my job. I've been in a constant state of stress for the last couple of years lost jobs, lost friends and I've lost my family. Now I'm losing the last of my parental figures to a disease that is killing her very slowly making her lose her mind. These memories are keeping me in tears on a daily basis. I'm tired, very tired, and in pain every day. I need to reduce my stress and anxiety levels to reduce my pain before I have a heart attack. I've tried many doctors and many more pills but nothing seems to work. If anyone can share some stress reduction tips that might have worked for them I would greatly appreciate it.
Hi Kurleysue,

It's lovely to have you here - welcome. I'm so sorry to hear you're going through so much. Stress and anxiety together are something I am very familiar with, and have only recently learned how to manage well. A series of very difficult life events left me in a really bad way, and while I'd tried all sorts of things to manage my mental health (including all the drugs!) it was only when I sought psychological support for managing my fibromyalgia pain that I made a big breakthrough. Understanding what was happening inside my body was the magic pill. Let me see if I can explain what helped...

The first thing was learning how the systems in our body work that control these feelings. When something stressful happens within our lives, a system within our body called the sympathetic nervous system kicks in - this puts us in the so-called fight/fight/freeze state, and it's evolved to help us survive. Our body diverts resources away from digestion, healing, and regulation, and our brains flood with adrenaline, noradrenaline, and the stress hormone cortisol. When we experience chronic stress, we tend to get stuck here, with our hearts pounding and that horrible high-alert and run-down feeling.

The counter to the sympathetic nervous system is called the parasympathetic nervous system. This system is often referred to as the "rest and digest" system, because when the parasympathetic system is activated, a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine releases to slow our heart rate and drop our blood pressure, while feel-good endorphins inhibit the activity of the sympathetic nervous system, allowing us to relax - and our bodies to go back to the important functions that keep us healthy and well.

When we read that we should be doing things like meditation to ease anxiety, what we really need to understand is that this means learning how to signal our body to activate the parasympathetic nervous system. Before I understood the objective, nothing I tried really did any good! In fact, one of the most simple ways we can tell our body to switch systems is slow breathing - nothing spiritual or complicated to grasp - just (for example) sitting in the dark for a few minutes and breathing in for a count of four and out for a count of four while focusing on "telling" our body that it's safe and can slow down.

Ultimately, if you can find literally anything that you can use to give your body that all-important signal - so, perhaps listening to binaural beats on YouTube, doing a body-scan relaxation exercise, taking the dog for a walk, lying quietly in the dark for 10 minutes; whatever you can work with - and practice it briefly a few times a day, you will get better at giving your body the right cues, and it will get better at reading them. It's important to look at it as training a muscle, because when our body has more or less forgotten how to switch back, it's as if this function is really out of shape and needs to be trained with dedication until it becomes automatic again.

The next thing that helped me a lot was reading about the work of professor and psychologist Paul Gilbert on the three emotional regulation systems. His work centred around those of us who don't have a well evolved capacity to self-soothe and how we can cultivate that skill with self-compassion. If you Google "Paul Gilbert three emotional regulation systems" you can read about this - I really recommend it.

Fibromyalgia pain is really triggered by stress, so if you can work on all of these things, you will not only feel less anxious, but you should also see your symptoms reduce too. My therapist absolutely kicked my ass in terms of making me practice things that could help me signal my parasympathetic nervous system daily, and (kindly) drill myself into self-compassionate thoughts and behaviours. That included tuning into my body and mind's needs, and trying to accommodate them when I was able. Keeping a notation diary and observing what I was thinking and feeling helped me see my own patterns. I was trying to be a warrior, but not being kind to myself at all in the process! With dedicated practice, I began to feel more in control again, much calmer, and less burned out. A drop in my pain levels followed. I hope that helps you too ๐ŸŒท
 

Auriel

Senior member
Joined
Jun 8, 2021
Messages
269
Reason
DX FIBRO
Diagnosis
08/2006
Country
UK
State
UK
Hi kurleysue the things that worked for my stress were getting toxic/needy/ drama causing people out of my life that weโ€™re taking way too much from me and stealing my energy, I tried different therapyโ€™s for my stress/ptsd but the only one I found I liked + clicked with best was art therapy oh yeah + I didnโ€™t block anything, I acknowledged every feeling I was feeling, I also found some app games quite good,sometimes I go to the seaside when my depression gets really dark (it cleans my vibe) I also watch funny things like taskmaster and the I.T crowd, + funny stuff on you tube. In the next couple of weeks Iโ€™m hoping to build myself up bit by bit to walk as far as the forest + this forum too helps+ jemima on it does make me feel better if Iโ€™m having a bad day ( and makes me laugh too) and sunkacola gives me advice as well so thatโ€™s quite comforting, also if you have any religious beliefs or spiritual practices they might help, there you go ๐ŸŒž๐Ÿ’ฆ๐ŸŒˆ
 

Jemima

Senior member
Joined
Jul 30, 2020
Messages
456
Reason
DX FIBRO
Diagnosis
11/2019
Country
PT
โšกA๐Ÿฆ„U๐Ÿ–คR๐Ÿ‘พI๐Ÿงœโ€โ™€๏ธE๐Ÿ›ธLโœจ

My favourite emoji of all is the hole emoji ๐Ÿ•ณ๏ธ (purely because who came up with that?!) but there never seems to be a right moment to use it :unsure:
 

sunkacola

Very helpful member
Joined
Dec 2, 2016
Messages
1,466
Reason
DX FIBRO
Diagnosis
00/0000
Country
Uni
State
Somewhere
Out of Auriel's post above, filled with good ways to reduce stress, the most important thing to me is to get toxic relationships out of your life, or if you cannot get them gone then reduce contact as best you can. People who discount you, don't believe you, mock you or bully you or in any way cause drama and stress in your life need to be removed. This is sometimes challenging. But it's a big key to why so many people are stressed out in general, most especially people with FM.
 

sunkacola

Very helpful member
Joined
Dec 2, 2016
Messages
1,466
Reason
DX FIBRO
Diagnosis
00/0000
Country
Uni
State
Somewhere
โšกA๐Ÿฆ„U๐Ÿ–คR๐Ÿ‘พI๐Ÿงœโ€โ™€๏ธE๐Ÿ›ธLโœจ

My favourite emoji of all is the hole emoji ๐Ÿ•ณ๏ธ (purely because who came up with that?!) but there never seems to be a right moment to use it :unsure:
Oh, I like that hole emoji. It's a good way of representing depression, because being depressed feels like being in a hole and you cannot seem to be able to crawl or climb out.

Or it could mean "just gonna find a hole to climb into until all this is over" :cool:

Or, Watch out for the potholes!
 

Jemima

Senior member
Joined
Jul 30, 2020
Messages
456
Reason
DX FIBRO
Diagnosis
11/2019
Country
PT
Oh, I like that hole emoji. It's a good way of representing depression, because being depressed feels like being in a hole and you cannot seem to be able to crawl or climb out.

Or it could mean "just gonna find a hole to climb into until all this is over" :cool:

Or, Watch out for the potholes!
So true, and all fantastic!

Right, so, if anyone's having an awful day they can just say "I'm feeling really ๐Ÿ•ณ๏ธ today", and we'll all know exactly what it means :)
 

Badger

Active member
Joined
Apr 2, 2021
Messages
36
I'm very sorry to hear about your experience Kurleysue, I know it's stressful with a parent suffering from degenerative illness. There's some wonderful advice here and it's well worth investing in the suggestions. Please be kind to yourself, try small changes, it all pays to treating stress.
 
Top