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  • Writer's pictureDoug Tesnow, LCPC

How to feel better when you're stressed and don't know why



A woman thinking at a computer

Sometimes, our problems are extremely obvious. We know what’s bothering us, we know why it’s bothering us, and we know what we’d wish would happen about it.


What if we don’t exactly know what’s bothering us? What if we don’t exactly know what we need? This can happen to even the most emotionally in-touch among us, and when it does, it’s not uncommon to feel at a loss for what to do next.


Here are some helpful tips to get in touch with what you’re feeling and what you need when confusing emotions arise.


1. Slow down. Whether intentional or not, our fast-paced lives can be a huge impediment to us being aware of our feelings, especially if we don’t set aside specific time to process them. Even 5 or 10 minutes of just breathing and taking stock can have a profound cumulative effect, and often helps build resilience against future stressors. Time spent outside, journaling, or focusing on bodily sensations can also be of huge benefit here.


2. Allow yourself to feel discomfort, knowing that feelings are nearly always shifting. With difficult emotions it is most often the case that the best way past them is directly through them. We’d almost all prefer to avoid discomfort where possible, but allowing honest moments to admit what MIGHT be bothering us, even if it’s not yet clear why, can be a helpful step towards relief. Remember that feelings like to move, and that daunting emotions sometimes just want room to breathe.


3. Make space for the unclear and don’t feel pressured to solve everything today. When discomfort strikes, we naturally want to fix it, and fast! Sometimes this desire gets in the way of our progress, however, and actually slows us down. Have confidence that an open and inquisitive approach can and will lead to deeper insight, and, in time, clearer solutions.



If you need more help sorting through difficult or confusing feelings, Contact Us to make an appointment with one of our therapists.


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