The Yellow Brick Road to Emotional Awareness



In order to become more emotionally aware we have to be able to effectively and rapidly reduce stress in the moment. Let me explain. Whether we like it or not, stress is here to stay. Not only is it here to stay, but it is absolutely necessary for things like creativity, learning and even survival.

It isn’t until stress becomes overwhelming that it becomes the harmful, negative force most of us believe it to be in our lives.

Stress Effects

Stress Effects

Another misconception about stress is that most of us believe the worst kind of stress comes from traumatic events outside ourselves, such as car accidents, or when someone we care about gets sick. The fact is that everyday stress, known as chronic stress, is just as harmful. This is the type of stress that wears us down, most of the time when we are not even aware that it is happening and that there is a problem; making it infinitely more dangerous and damaging as far as I’m concerned.

So, many times, we create our own stress. It happens when we dwell and fret about things that we have little or no control over. It happens when we put ourselves down, or imagine the worst case. We give birth to stress when we take on too many responsibilities and don’t say “no” to things that push us too far and when we set unrealistic expectations and standards for ourselves and for others.

Reduce Stress

Reduce Stress


If we are aiming for balance, and we are doing just that, we need to be able to first identify stress in the moment and be able to relieve it quickly, clearing us to focus on whatever life throws at us and to remain in control of ourselves through it.

We need to be able to quickly and effectively relieve stress in the moment in order to:
Think clearly and creatively
Communicate clearly
Accurately “read” other people
Here what someone is really saying
Trust others
Attend to your own needs

Managing stress appropriately helps us avoid becoming overwhelmed by strong emotions and life’s challenges.

• If you find yourself having a hard time calming yourself down when agitated
• If you find it difficult to let go of anger
• If you have a hard time turning to other people close to you to help you regain composure and feel better
• If you feel exhausted and drained when you return home
• If you are easily distracted or moody
• If you cannot identify or recognize what upsets other people you know
• If you don’t know how to pick yourself up when you feel like you’re running on empty

These are all signs that you are not managing your stress in healthy and effective ways.

If you are with me this far, stay tuned. The next post will be about recognizing stress so that we can lessen its impact on our lives and free us up to experience life more fully.

Judy is a licensed clinical social worker and has worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. Judy’s professional experience in the mental health field along with her love of writing, provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. Her fresh voice and down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life are easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!

4 responses »

  1. Pingback: The Yellow Brick Road to Emotional Awareness | Movers, Shakers, Leadership Makers

  2. As a creative individual, as well as someone diagnosed with SchizoAffective Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, stress is a strange reaction, for the stress that can also drive me into a schizo-typical episode can also drive me to create poetry, paintings/drawings, essays, songs, music, etc. It is only after the stress has become too overwhelming that creativity is also affected. A certain amount of agitation works when creating a piece of artwork, and can also work to create a psychotic breakdown. There is a fine line and it is important to recognize the one from the other.

    Great post (as many of yours are). 🙂

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