Clamming Up

When we are dealing with a major life event, or with very heavy emotions, we typically respond in one of two ways. We either clam up and withdraw, or we seek comfort and support from our loved ones.


There are benefits to both, but typically letting your feelings out in some way is beneficial and can help you understand what you are going through. After processing the event and emotions, then you can try to cope and learn from it. Some of our natural response comes from past experiences and some from our personalities. There are also reasons why we respond one way or another.


For those of us that withdraw, we may be the more introverted type, we might have had experiences in the past where we didn’t feel listened to, or we were judged or bullied. Learning to withdraw and not share comes naturally to us because it’s what we have done in the past and what we find comfort in.


I tend to withdraw from others when stressed and overwhelmed. I am trying my very best to break this cycle because there are so many benefits to being able to openly share what you are going through. It’s very unnatural, but part of growing is facing your fears and trying to rid of past behaviors that no longer serve us.


One thing for sure is that everyone will respond differently. Whatever works best for you strive for that, whether it means withdrawing and preserving your resources, or leaning on others during difficult times.


I think it’s wonderful and I am truly inspired by those who speak their minds and their feelings. I think there is a lot to benefit and learn from it. When we share what is going on with us in our lives, we can release that stress and tension that we hold bottled up, which in turn greatly helps our health both mentally and physically.


While talking with other people about life, we can see that everyone has hopes and struggles, everyone is dealing with something in life, and we are all human. It helps you feel not so alone when you can open up to other individuals. You may even hear the comforting “I thought I was the only one,” “I feel the same way,” or “that has happened to me before.”


I am sure that most of you feel the positive effects of being there for someone that you care about. You are more than happy to lend a hand and ready with a listening ear. As much as you love to help and be there for your loved ones, imagine how they will feel reciprocating the help! Other people want the chance to be there for us as we are for them. Relationships are something that we should strive to balance, they are a mix of giving and taking.


In the end, whatever comforts you the most during difficult times is what you can count on. For those of you like me who wish to change how you respond to stressful life events, I encourage you to express how you are feeling to a trustworthy someone and see how much better it makes you feel! Slowly, but surely, we can release what no longer serves us and adapt to new ways of living as unnatural as they may feel. There is no greater reward than fixing what no longer serves us in life!

Dissociation

Have you ever felt like you were going through life with your head in the clouds? Maybe you were going about the daily motions of life, but you had trouble remembering what you did from one moment to the next, maybe you couldn’t recall certain details or conversations because they felt like a distant memory even though they just happened. You might have found yourself on autopilot.

Dissociation is feeling disconnected from yourself and the world around you. You may have heard this term if you have studied Psychology. Dissociation is a type of coping mechanism that our bodies turn to while trying to prevent the overload of stimulus that is present in our everyday lives.

Life is even more stressful nowadays than it ever has been. We find ourselves trying to juggle and balance all aspects of our lives from family, friends, relationships, careers, and hobbies, to just having some time for self-care and relaxation. If we keep going without recognizing that we are negatively impacting our minds and bodies, then we start to head for a burnout.

Some ways that you might find yourself slipping into dissociation is when you start to have trouble remembering even minor details, your brain feels foggy, you feel like you are living out of your body, and your head is in the clouds. You may start to feel as though you are going through the motions of life, but not able to take in what is around you appropriately. There is a great disproportion between what you are experiencing in life and what you are truly taking in.

When you start to feel this disconnect, it is important to take action right away. Your mind and body are trying to flee trauma and stress and there are ways to help yourself connect again. Mindfulness is extremely important in helping you get out of a state of dissociation. Practice living in the moment and truly focusing on everything in front of you including your thoughts, feelings, and your surroundings.

Other ways to help this feeling include being in nature and noting everything that elicits your senses. Note the smell of the air, the cool breeze that touches your skin, focus on the birds chirping, and the water flowing down the stream.

Being aware of your mind and body is so important. Your mental and physical health is of utmost importance, and we must take every action that we can to preserve them. Listen to what your mind and body are telling you and take the necessary steps to prevent burnout!

The Use of Distraction

We have all been there, we’ve scrolled through social media, browsed through our phones for hours upon end, we’ve lost ourselves in a hobby, or binge watched shows and movies. Truth is, all of these things are fun and can be done for pure joy, but also these are ways of distracting ourselves from reality.

We are all human beings trying to live and navigate our way through life the best that we know how. Our journey isn’t an easy one as we make our way through life’s unexpected paths and roadblocks, trying to keep up with the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Now more than ever, we are living in very tough times which doesn’t help our already complicated lives.

For anyone who has studied Psychology, you may have learned that there are different coping mechanisms that individuals use for processing a stressful emotion or life event. Distraction is a type of coping mechanism, it allows you to step back from life, to zone out and “forget” reality for a bit. It’s fun to get lost in a show, or book about someone else’s life. Distraction is a great way to minimize anxiety and to take a break from life in order to come back more refreshed. On the flip side, if we spend too much time distracting ourselves from reality, this is a negative thing as we are not facing our issues in order to move forward, so a good balance is key.

The next time that you are feeling a strong emotion, or going through a tough spot in life, try a little distraction to distance yourself from what you are feeling and dealing with and see where that takes you.