Do you ever feel like you ride the emotional highs of life only to come crashing down to the emotional lows of the mundane and trivial? We have good news: you don’t have to live a life of super highs followed by unhealthy lows.
Jamie came to the realization that she might actually be addicted to the stress hormones released in times of stress and busyness, but she’s ready to focus on finding balance.
Emotional imbalance happens when emotions are either all-consuming or avoided altogether. This could look like avoiding negative emotions or thoughts during busy and chaotic seasons only to be brought to emotional lows once life slows down.
This cycle of avoidance and submersion, of highs and lows, is unsustainable and just plain exhausting.
The first part to finding balance is identifying the areas in your life causing imbalance. Let’s look at some common culprits.
Stress is a part of life. It can be the driving force that motivates and propels you but also the source of mental and physical issues.
It can even be addictive: “Stress addiction is a real phenomenon. Just like any other addiction, it can be challenging to overcome on your own. When you’re addicted to stress, your body becomes used to the cortisol and adrenaline released in response to stressful situations” (northpointwashington.com).
When a dependence on these hormones is developed, it may cause you to rely on or even manufacture stressful situations in your life.
Overextending is taking on more than you can and should handle.
When you ask someone how they’re doing, the response you’ll often get is “busy.” Our culture has just accepted busyness as an unavoidable, sometimes even desirable, facet of modern life.
But crammed schedules and unattainable expectations could be causing imbalance. What pressures are you putting on yourself that are causing you to overextend and actually be a worse parent/spouse/friend/worker?
When you’re emotionally balanced, you’re able to embrace your emotions (sadness, anxiety, joy, fear, etc.) without judgement. You can handle and acknowledge difficult emotions without becoming overwhelmed or engaging in avoidant behavior.
It can be really difficult to set boundaries and say no. But saying no often leads to new opportunities that wouldn’t have been achievable by saying yes.
Don’t pack your schedule without reflecting on your limitations. Before saying yes to something, reflect on if you have the for capacity it.
Here’s a quick list of questions to help you decide when to say no:
– Will this prevent me from focusing on something more important?
– Does this align with my values, beliefs, and goals?
– Will this cause me to be more tired or burnt out?
– Is this good for my mental health?
– Will my relationships be better because of this?
Don’t forget, sometimes you have to say no to something good in order to say yes to something better.
So often, people live life on auto-pilot without actually being actively engaged with what they’re doing.
Are you actively thinking about the way you’re living your life and what’s directing your thoughts? Maybe you haven’t given yourself the space or stillness to do this.
Being aware of what your mind is focusing on is really important to living life with intention and purpose. When you’re checked in to your thoughts, you can analyze unhealthy thought patterns and emotions and then address them.
2 Corinthians 10:15 says, “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”
Ask yourself, is what’s directing my thoughts what God says or what culture says?
You ultimately need joy to balance your emotions. Joy is supposed to be the driver of your life, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be in a heightened state of joy all the time.
Joy isn’t just for life’s mountaintop moments. It’s for the every day and the mundane. You can carry joy with sadness, anger, and fear. In fact, positive emotions help to undo the negative effects of stress, so be proactive in savoring the small moments of joy in your days.
Life will inevitably be difficult, but even in the midst of difficulty you can experience joy, because ultimately your hope is in the One who never fails: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Romans 15:13).
Can we challenge you? Submit your ways of doing life to the Lord and let Him guide you in what’s best for you and your family. It could change your life.
Check out another blog on emotional health: