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  • Writer's pictureCarol Korenowski

Drowning in Stress

Updated: May 16, 2023

Experiencing stress is a part of living

The brain and body’s response to life’s demands

The pressures you feel on different parts of your world and yourself

You stress about money













the future

the past

the present

Sometimes stress feels like a light poke

pins and needles

a long consistent press that never seems to dull

firm pressure stabbing in multiple places at once

a shove pushing you hard and it feels like you’re falling

being trapped in a room and the walls are closing in

a straitjacket getting tighter and tighter with no escape


You stress shop watch eat drive scroll drink binge sleep smoke speed

You want to give up

give in

run away

pull your hair out


Yet you just keep pushing through

Because you have to

it’s all you know

you have no other choice

people are depending on you

you’re scared

there’s no reverse

you’ve tried everything

And so, you keep going

Pushing forward

You shift things

you juggle

you buckle down

you procrastinate

you obsess

you ignore

you work harder

you retreat

you do it all yourself

And you get by

Expecting change

Waiting for relief

On repeat

Over and over

Again and again

Until you’re free

Or you break

You don’t realize the impact stress has on the body

Hurting your heart




immune system

Unexplainable pains

Preventable accidents

Injuries that won’t heal

Unceasing tension

Problems that don’t make sense given your age and health

Stress changes your brain too

Decreases your capacity to think




The mind and body are connected, interwoven

Stress builds up trauma in the mind

Just like scar tissue that forms when the body responds to an injury

The accumulation impacts your thoughts



It seeps out in hurtful words

overwhelming emotions


self doubt

unhealthy behaviors

harmful acts

Maybe keeping busy

Never stopping

Always moving

Is easier than sitting still

slowing down

taking a break



Sometimes you’re carrying around baggage

you picked up decades ago

You don’t recognize the ways you learned to cope

as a child

Shaped by your experience

often full of way more pain


and abuse than you admit or remember

Maybe stress is your body asking for healing, for change

Hear me

Help me

I need something

STOP the stress screams

Let's pause


Close your eyes and sigh

I can help you calm

Understand the intention of protection

the patterns of behaviors to avoid the pain beneath

Tolerate the uncomfortable feelings

Reassess the beliefs that shaped your stress reaction

Regulate and stay online

Meet unmet needs

Express yourself in ways that relieve the responsibility

of the part using stress to protect you

Be free to say Yes on purpose

No whenever you need

I want that

I changed my mind


Don’t talk to me like that

That's not okay

I'm angry

I don't like that

That that hurts me

That's not about me

That one is about me

There's something about me I'm not happy with

And I still love myself

I am worthy

I deserve love


It's okay to take care of me

I can make a choice

I can choose me

I can rest

Ask for help

Walk away


Be silly



I can be here

In this moment

I can trust myself

I can protect myself

Thank you to the part of me that poked and pressed relentlessly

Thank you stress for teaching me

My priorities are off key

I'll pay attention

To what's important

And align with my new understandings

To decrease stress

Fuel the belief

I am okay in a world that is okay

Not perfect, but okay

Act in ways according to your own self discovered and chosen preferences

instead of fear or habit

Nurture, teach, and protect yourself so your body and mind can feel more at ease

The stressors of life will always be there in some way, shape, or form

You can reduce external pressures and ease your strain

You can choose which stressors to embrace

and for all the remaining forces, you can change the way you respond and feel

You can rewrite the story you live by and form new ways of being exactly what you need

Carol is a psychologist and the founder of Therapy Alberta, a private group practice with local psychologists, social workers, and counsellors offering individual, couples, and family counselling and therapy in Calgary and across Alberta.


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