“Experiencing stress makes you part of one of the most inclusive clubs in the world.”
These are the words I heard once before and form the way I try to talk about my own stresses and anxieties.
Stress is something that can affect anyone at any given time. It’s something that I have had to try and manage the impact of on my life day-to-day for as long as I can remember. It’s one of the things that forms the foundations to my experiences of living with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). From spending hours at a time in childhood stressing about if anything I did would make myself or those I care for ill, to thinking overly about the intrusive thoughts that came with my OCD.
The impact of stress
I haven’t always been able to understand or manage the impact of stress on my own life and often thought I was alone in dealing with it. Even now I still have days when it feels like I can’t manage things as well as I have been able to at other points in time.
Some days it can feel overwhelming. And on others it can feel easy to carry on with everyday tasks without stress and anxiety taking too much of an influence on things. When my stress levels have been at their worst, it has felt like I am drifting from one activity to the next.
Over the years I have found ways of managing things, like running. At school I was always last in races and didn’t enjoy the process of going for a run for fun. Now, it acts as probably my main coping strategy. It gives me focus and something to take my mind off the things that cause much of my anxiety and stress.
Coping by running
When I’m out running the anxious thoughts slowly drift through my mind leaving behind this feeling that is hard to explain. It’s not like my mind is empty of the thoughts I was having that make me anxious, they just become less powerful and the main thing I am focused on. I enjoy the process of running because, it’s just about putting one foot in front of the other. When I am going about with my usual day-to-day activities this is something I often don’t focus on. Often, I look to try and deal with step 8 or 9 before just looking ahead to what I need to do next. So going for a run even if it’s once every few days helps me.
Now, I know running isn’t for everyone, which is why I encourage those reading this is to find what works for you. Find what works in favour of your mental wellbeing (mental health & physical). Not everything will work for everyone and that’s okay, we are all individual, but that does not make us less deserving of support.
If you require support for stress, or any of the issues mentioned in Chandy’s blog – why not drop our Adult Services an email? We deliver Active Monitoring, Befriending, Counselling and Support Groups for adults – and some services have NO waiting times.