How Trying to Be “Super” Can Destroy You

Stress Management Advice for "Superheros"

/, Anxiety, Depression, Stress/How Trying to Be “Super” Can Destroy You

Stress Management for “Superheroes”
And how not to burn out!

Ron is navigating work and his private life well… for the most part. He is fairly successful, but has been recently feeling weighed down. His moods are coming out with a certain edginess that he’s having trouble controlling, but still he presses on. After all, he must live up to his nickname “Super Ron”.

Over the years, no matter how he feels, Ron tells himself to keep pushing through the fatigue. He drinks more coffee and works out harder to keep the adrenaline going. Suddenly, and seemingly out of nowhere, Ron crashes. He breaks down. His energy is gone. He’s depressed and can’t think straight anymore. He can barely get out of bed. I’ve had clients like Ron. They scrape the bottom of the barrel just one too many times and crash hard, very hard.

What happened? Ron met his breaking point. We all have one. Some people never recover.

Keys to managing the “Superhero Within”

When things get overwhelming don’t keep pushing on through your day. Instead, pay attention to how overwhelmed you actually are and slow down. If you don’t, you will one day end up paying the price.

Try this:
  1. Stop and sit down in a quiet place.
  2. Take in three good long breathes.
  3. Now, take out a pen and paper and write down all that you have on your plate. Let it flow randomly on paper.

Some suggestions are:

  • All your work tasks
  • Every unresolved issue or concern
  • All relationship problems and unmet desires
  • Any financial pressures
  • Every stress & hassle in your life, including the leaky faucet and the grocery shopping list
  • Your dreams & goals that you are aiming to accomplish

Let everything flow from the mind to the pen, from the pen to the paper. Don’t censor anything until you’ve got nothing more left to write; and don’t be surprised if you fill up a page or more.

Then, breathe and take a look at your list.

Surprised by how much you have going for you?

We often are surprised. Look at the list again and breathe three long breaths. Have some compassion for yourself. Accept there’s a lot happening for you.

I find this exercise helps me personally, to not feel so bad about feeling overwhelmed at times and it serves to give “the hero” in me a break from needing to always be so darn strong.

Reality check

It’s okay to be stressed or overwhelmed. We all get that way at times. It doesn’t mean we are weak. It just means we lack clarity in how to sort through everything we have on the go and what to do with it.

Now though, with your list in hand, prioritize what is most important to you.

If you feel overwhelmed then it probably means you actually can’t do it all. Cross off what is not a priority for you right now.

Let some things go – Stress management method

So what if you don’t get to repainting the basement or cleaning out your car? If you have more important things to tackle, then let go of the things that can wait. Now, when you go back to taking on your day begin with what is most important.

When your mind strays to make you think you “should” be doing more – including what is not important at that moment – practice letting those “shoulds” go as you focus on what is most important to you in the moment.

Tell yourself, “What I’m doing right now is more important. The rest can wait.” Then, put on a smile and take one long deep breath as you carry on doing life according to your top priorities. You don’t need to live life stressed, we just think we do. Life is meant to be lived with intention and mastery.


– Article by Michael Haggstrom – phone 403-220-1101, Calgary Stress Management Counselling Services


Leave A Comment