When feeling overwhelmed, do you find that your stressors are the basis of your conversations? If so, you could be perpetuating the issue. Although your stressors and feelings are all real, the words you speak actually trigger a biological response in your body. So talking about feeling stressed automatically causes your body to stress- cortisol levels rise and neurotransmitters go into overdrive. Your heart rate and blood pressure increase and you find yourself feeling clammy, short of breath, and paralyzed by anxiety. Although this sounds pretty terrible, the solution is actually extremely simple. Shift your words to shift your experience.
Many of us understand stress as an external factor. Try taking an internal approach. Stress is all about our perception. That's why 2 people can experience the exact same event and walk away feeling completely different. Once we decide a situation is stressful, that thought becomes our biophysical reality. This happens in the form of biochemicals called catecholamines. These are the hormones associated with fight or flight. Their secretion tells our body we're in danger and to prepare accordingly. This is great and totally necessary if you're actually in a dangerous situation....but if you're talking about daily life stressors, you're increasing your risk of all kinds of health issues.
So what do you do??? Try erasing the word stress from your vocabulary. Take a fake it till you make it approach. Yes, you know you're stressed, but speak as if you feel grounded and in control. Begin incorporating more positive language. Replace your venting with healthy habits- go for a run, meet friends for a meal, watch a funny movie. Do things that genuinely make you happy. And smile! Research shows this fake it till you make it attitude is actually more than just an old saying. A recent study showed that people who smile when stressed have lower heart rates and report more positive emotions. That's a strong case for being optimistic!