Are you worrying so much and finding it difficult to concentrate? You could be emotionally distressed. I have put together all you need to know about emotional distress and what you can do about it.
Emotional distress is caused by different incidences in life. But there is no need to worry; many management techniques can help relieve emotional stress.
Before we get down to what emotional distress means and know if that is what you feel, let’s look at what it means.
What is the meaning of emotional distress?
Emotional distress is a state of mental disturbance or anguish that can occur in different forms. It usually occurs after specific circumstances like the death of a loved one, a mental issue, financial strain, or difficulties in relationships.
Emotional distress is common in men and women and children, and sometimes, they are usually not serious. Many cases fade off within a few days.
Symptoms of emotional distress
Emotional distress is temporary, and it presents itself with different forms of emotional sufferings. It has many symptoms, but only a few cases result in depression and anxiety.
Do you think you are emotionally distressed? Here are some symptoms that common to the condition:
- Agitation and irritability
- Being more emotionally sensitive
- Changes in appetite
- Difficulties keeping up with the day’s routine
- Difficulty thinking and remembering
- Heightened dependence on alcohol and other mood heightening substances
- Loss of interest in activities
- Overthinking and worrying
- Sleep disorders
- Unexplained body pains
Causes of emotional distress
Sometimes, emotional distress could be a sign of an underlying problem, but more often than not, it is the body’s reaction to unpleasant events like relationship issues, financial strain, etc.
Here are some common reasons people deal with emotional distress:
Home-related emotional distress
You can be emotionally distressed because of the following occurrences at home:
- Having a significant life change like having a baby or moving to a new home
- Dealing with problems with your partner or other family members
- Low income and not being able to pay the bills
- Discrimination from family, neighbours or close circle
- Lack of basic provision
Work-related emotional distress
- Being at a toxic workplace
- Being bullied at work
- Worries about job security
- Worries about job performance
- Low financial compensations
- Being bullied at work
- Doing a job that you are not passionate about
- Extended work hours
- Increase work responsibility
- Strained relationship with managers, bosses or colleagues
The list of the causes of emotional distress can be almost endless. Sometimes, they are self-induced.
Many young people have emotional distress when they realize that they are not meeting up with their peers or having significant achievements. Pondering on them brings about fear, anxiety, and depression.
How long will emotional distress last?
The duration of emotional distress depends on the cause and will disappear when the cause is removed.
Like when dealing with a lack of finances, the emotional distress will go away when there is a supply for that need.
However, distress caused by more internal factors like mental health illness can linger longer, depending on whether the condition is curable.
Staying in a toxic environment makes a person more prone to developing anxiety and depression from mere emotional distress.
Like me, I was highly bullied in secondary school, and this took a toll on my mental health. At first, it was just the fear to go to class, but after a few weeks, I was anxious and very depressed.
How to cope with emotional distress
Give yourself a break
You can feel better by taking out some time to relax. It may feel as though you do not have the time to relax, I am a culprit, but that is not true.
There may be no enough time to relax, but that five minutes we spend allowing our minds to race to the most uncertain places is enough for significant rest
Here is how to find relief during emotional distress:
- Sit down with closed eyes and a blank mind. Deliberately choose not to think for a minute or two, when you open your eyes, you will feel more peaceful.
- Listen to music. Since fast music like pop makes me feel like going gaga especially with a troubled mind, go for slow songs, they could be spiritual if you choose. This may not be the same for you; choose any of your favorites and let it blow your mind away.
- Talk to a loved one, if they are close, get a hug
- Take a walk
- If you are home, take a relaxing bath
- Light a scented candle
- Read a book
- Listen to the sound of nature
Practicing mindfulness is making a conscious effort to be aware of yourself and focusing your mind on the task at hand. It can be a difficult task when your mind is almost out of control.
But more often, mindfulness allows you to track when your mind is running out of control and helps you bring it to subjection.
At first, you may find yourself doing this every few minutes, but soon, you will realise your triggers and find a better way to handle them.
Meditation is choosing what to focus your mind on. If your mind is so eager to think about, create positive thoughts and replace them with random thoughts. This can be some warm thoughts and loving memories.
Here is a video on how to practice meditation.
Have a loved one’s picture handy
Thinking of the people we love brings calm to us; that is why you need to keep a picture of your partner or favourite parent at hand. When your mind needs a break, look at their image and have a warm comfort.
Talk to someone you love
This works almost like the picture. Whose voice makes you feel more relaxed? Call them and let oxytocin (the love hormone) do its work.
Watching movies work perfectly for me. You can avoid movies with love scenes and a few tears if you suffer from an emotional strain. Comedies and cartoons work best.
Consider talking to a therapist or counsellor if you think you are losing it. There are medications to help soothe the problem, and you could greatly benefit from them.
Joining a community of like-minded people also helps a lot with emotional distress. You can find most of these communities online.