Wellness Wednesday: Emotional Overload

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Advisor/Councilor of the Advising Center, Lisa Hoogesteger, talks about what to do when you feel like you’re on the rollercoaster of life.

There is so much going on in the world, in the country, in the state, in towns, at the school, with families.  It is easy to become overwhelmed.  Anyone else out there back to ‘doom scrolling’ a bit as you read the news?  

I feel like a yo-yo; devastated by pictures of war, elated that my child’s report card is so much better than last year, saddened about a friend who’s diagnosed with cancer (again), smiling at daffodils and crocus blooming in the yard.  

It is just too much. 

This is part of how chronic stress impacts us. Highs, lows, fears, joys, hope.  There is always hope. Some folks diss “hope.” It isn’t an action, but it is fraught with uncertainty and emotional outreach with no direct reference.  I say “so what,” I like hope.  I prefer hope to despair.  I would rather believe in possibility than stay grounded in fact. Fact is not a probability.

Thus, stress management plans often emphasize meditation, self-care, breathing exercises and mindfulness. If we listen to the winds around us, we will be pulled in multiple directions, all the time. However, we can center ourselves, grounding our physical, emotional and spiritual selves in the moment, in ourselves, focusing on strengths and what we can control.

This does not change the wind.  This changes our perspective and our mental and emotional health. E+R=O – Event plus reaction equals outcome. If we can be still and be well, we have more resilience to cope with the swirl around us. Let yourself feel; Help yourself heal. 

Here’s a story about perspective: 

Several summers ago I was riding my bike near some farmer’s fields.  It was a bright sunny day and all I could see was blue sky, wispy clouds and I was enjoying the feel of the wind in my face. A farmer was out in the field moving irrigation equipment and I joyfully greeted him “Nice day eh?”  He turned grumpily to me and said, “the winds are variable,” and I noticed his watering equipment was dancing in the wind.  

I was temporarily crushed in not sharing the joy of a beautiful day, but it also reminded me that we all see and feel things differently and that it depends on what you’re looking at; Looking for and what you need in your life right now. I needed sun and wind. He needed his irrigation equipment to water his fields. So the winds may be variable, yet you can see and feel different things – Adjust your sails.