It is important to understand that mental health runs along a continuum. Everyone is on this continuum in terms of mental wellness to mental illness. What is interesting is that you can be perfectly fine while reading this very article, but you can receive news that can cause you to plummet and experience depression, anxiety or stress without warning.
What causes a lot of healthy people to experience disease is stress, defined as a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances. Stress is often inherent to being a small business owner and working in an entrepreneurial environment. Stress can come from deadlines, clients, doing more with less--the list goes on.
Webster's indicates stress as a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation. When there is prolonged stress there are psychological symptoms which include depression, anxiety, irritability, and feeling overwhelmed. Behavioral symptoms can manifest as aggression, lack of performance, mood swings, impatience and isolation, to name just a few. Stress can be immediate to a slow-building process, but regardless of what caused the stress it can cause a mental disease that requires your attention. If you realize that you are stressed, here are some actions you can take to return to a balanced mental health:
First, attempt to identify what is causing the stress. What may seem obvious may be a symptom and not the causation. For instance, you may believe that a heavy workload is causing the stress, but if you dig a little deeper you may realize that it is not the work itself, but rather how you are tasked with something at 3 pm and it is due upon your arrival to work the next day. Maybe the stress is the time pressures that are placed on you.
There are several ways to identify stressors and things that are causing you to come apart at the seams. One significant way to identify what stresses you is to keep a journal. You will journal how you are feeling and activities that led to your feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, or agitated. The journal doesn't have to be a tell-all document. You simply want to jot down how you are feeling, what activities led to feeling a certain way, and who was involved. You will start to see a pattern which you can then address.
Minimizing stress can be achieved by having a candid conversation with people about their actions. In essence, there are things that can trigger you, and you have to know what your personal triggers are and share your insight with others. You will simply share with others that you need to have enough reasonable time to complete projects based on your need to complete assignments in a timely manner.
Often, people treat others the way they personally would like to be treated. If they do well under stress then they believe everyone works under that premise. But if you are predisposed to having a mental health challenge that can be triggered, you have to share your concern with others. There can be a host of things that trigger you, but it is important that you are able to identify those triggers so that you can discuss with others how their actions or behaviors are impacting you. This means having crucial conversations about your concerns and how to create an environment that is healthy for you.
Stress is a mental occurrence that can cause physical problems if left untreated. Aside from journaling or speaking with people about your concerns, you can practice a variety of techniques to gain equilibrium, such as breathing techniques. Often when people become upset or tense, they don't breathe. When you feel that the walls are closing in, find a safe space at work or wherever you are and take deep breaths. You really need to sit down, calm yourself to slow things down, and begin breathing deeply. This can be accompanied with visualization techniques similar to meditating, but rather seeing yourself moving through what you are experiencing.
Unfortunately, people don't equate stress with mental health challenges, so they ignore it. But, you don't have to endure stress alone. You can be treated for it by visiting a therapist who can support you in identifying your stressors and triggers while working with you to manage stress more appropriately. Also, don't rule out the benefits of seeing a psychiatrist who can prescribe a medication to help alleviate your responses to stress.