How to safeguard yourself from your breaking point

We all have a breaking point. Even the strongest of people, going through their highest of peaks; no one is immune to breaking down

By Delna Mistry Anand

Published: Thu 7 Apr 2022, 7:21 PM

British author David Gemmell rightly said, “Each man has a breaking point, no matter how strong his spirit. Somewhere, deep inside him, there is a flaw that only the fickle cruelty of fate can find.”

We all have a breaking point. Even the strongest of people, going through their highest of peaks; no one is immune to breaking down. We carry invisible baggage; childhood trauma, current day stress, or anxiety about the future. It all sits within our memory bank, and suddenly in a moment of weakness, something snaps and all that stress shows its ugly head. Chronic stress builds up over time. Often silently. And can lead to a breaking point.

Breaking points mean different things to different people. Usually there are three stages. Stage 1: You have an awareness about the stress or trauma, but you feel it’s manageable. Stage 2: Stress is getting to you. You are now making a conscious effort not to respond with anger, anxiety, impatience or blame. Stage 3: You can’t cope any longer, and have an outburst, which releases your tension momentarily but instantly leaves you with feelings of regret or embarrassment.

Have you heard of the term ‘fight or flight’? This is the response we activate within when faced with high stress. The body stays in high gear, with stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol coursing through the body. The frantic reaction wears down the mind, and eventually the body, creating a multitude of health problems, such as chronic pain, anxiety, mood swings, gut inflammation and so many more.

So how do we safeguard ourselves from doom?

Your secret weapon to handle stress is your vagus nerve. The vagus nerve, which is one of the cranial nerves that connects the brain to the body, acts to counterbalance the fight or flight system and can trigger a relaxation response. And one of the main ways to stimulate its healthy functioning is by deep belly breathing. Sounds way too simple, doesn’t it? But it usually is.

Save yourself from reaching a breaking point:

1. Start each day breathing mindfully; breathe in for 4 counts, hold for 4, exhale for 4 and hold again for 4 on exhale. Repeat.

2. Journal for a few minutes every morning. The deeper quality time you spend with yourself, the richer your self-awareness becomes.

3. Grounding or earthing — walk barefoot on grass or the beach, connect with mother nature.

4. Laughter is the sweetest therapy, so is hugging — make enough time for loved ones.

5. Eat whole foods, eat clean and fresh.

6. Have cold water showers.

7. Foot massages.

8. Bedtime rituals with light music, fragrant candles, self massage, soft bed sheets.

These activities stimulate the immune system and the vagus nerve, which sends a message to your body that it’s all okay and can be managed. We can’t avoid or control stress and stressful situations, but what we can control is how we show up for them.

And if the recent Will Smith/ Chris Rock altercation showed us anything, it is this: “It’s not what happens to us but what we do with it that matters.” Think.

Connect with Delna Mistry Anand across social media @DelnaAnand

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