At my breaking point

5 Telltale Signs You're Reaching An Emotional Breaking Point

Noticed yourself feeling stressed out, overwhelmed or completely exhausted lately?

You’re not alone. Right now, we’re facing some of the MOST challenging times of our lives.

Yet with so many people depending on us, we know we can’t afford to continue in this state.

Recognising the warning signs that your mental health is impacting your life is the first step to taking back control.

So here’s what to look out for and how to ask for help if you need it.

5 signs that your mental health is impacting your life

1. You’re experiencing mood changes

The emotional effects of stress can have a serious impact on your day-to-day mood and mental health. Firstly, you may find that you’re feeling more irritated or pessimistic than usual. This mood change can then begin to affect your motivation to work, socialise with your loved ones or complete the things on your to-do list. If left unchecked, these feelings can threaten to completely overwhelm you, leaving you feeling apathetic, depressed, frustrated, panicky or trapped.

2. You’re having trouble sleeping

If you’re going through a stressful period in your life, you may have noticed just how difficult it can be to maintain a regular sleeping pattern. For instance, you may be finding it hard to fall or stay asleep at night. You may also have trouble getting up in the morning. A lack of proper sleep can leave you exhausted during the day which often leads to increased caffeine consumption which further exacerbates the issue. If left unmanaged, you may start feeling like you never have the energy for anything and soon reach an emotional breaking point.

3. You can’t seem to focus or concentrate properly

If you’re battling to concentrate, keep focused or remember certain things, this is a good indication that you’re feeling the effects of anxiety. These changes in thinking and memory (also known as “brain fog”) can occur when you’re trying to manage several stressful situations at once, which can make you confused and forgetful. These situations may include demanding jobs or emotionally-taxing tasks. Unregulated emotional exhaustion can really impact your attention, executive functioning (organising and planning), and memory.

4. Difficulty with personal relationships

You’ll often notice emotional exhaustion from prolonged stress manifesting in your relationship and your capacity to connect with your family on a meaningful emotional level. You may find yourself picking fights over small things, feeling angry at or unsatisfied with your partner or being overly judgemental. Tension in your close relationships can cause you to feel anxious, detached, and withdrawn which can make it difficult to ask for emotional support when you need it or be there for those you love.

5. Low self-esteem

If lately you’ve found your mind overwhelmed with negative thoughts, you’ve probably also noticed their impact on how you view yourself. Perhaps you’re feeling more cynical and hopeless than usual? Or maybe you’ve lacked confidence in situations where you would normally speak up. At times, you may even have found yourself wondering if what you’re doing even matters anymore. It is important to recognise these changes. If left unchecked, these feelings may progress into symptoms of depression.

How do you know when it’s time to talk to someone?

If one or several of these signs sound familiar to you, booking an appointment with one of our Sage & Sound therapists is an excellent way to begin taking back control of your life (and your emotions).

We use evidence-based treatment designed to equip you with practical strategies for processing your emotions and responding to challenging situations in a healthy way.

After a few sessions, most clients start to feel like themselves again and are equipped with a personalised emotional toolkit to suit their needs.

As qualified psychologists, we take a collaborative and empowering approach to sessions, tailoring them directly to what you’re facing in the ‘here and now’.

Each clinician can create a safe, comfortable, and confidential environment where you can speak freely without judgement or pressure. My counselling sessions are grounded in psychological interventions, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), that have been shown to improve mood, sometimes in as little as a couple of sessions.

CBT focuses on the idea that thoughts can influence feelings and behaviours. It helps you challenge and change unhelpful patterns and teaches you the skills to manage and overcome them. These can include improving emotional regulation, building resilience and developing coping strategies that aim to solve current problems.

If you think you are close to an emotional breaking point, take the first step towards feeling better by booking an appointment at Sage & Sound Psychology in Woolloongabba.

What to Do When You Reach a Breaking Point

How many times have you thought — or said to yourself — “I can’t take this any longer?”

We all face a breaking point from time to time. Successful people do, too. No one is immune to continuous stress or anxiety. However, learning how to overcome a breaking point is crucial to your success.

Breaking points test us. And with courage and resilience, we can turn them into defining moments for the better.

Breaking Points Don’t Happen Overnight

“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.”

— David Gemmell

Everyone has a breaking point. Denying it can be dangerous. The earlier you recognize the signs, the earlier you can do something about it.

Most people crack up when their stress levels become unbearable. A breaking point is not an isolated incident but the culmination of an internal process; tension and stress often build over time until we have enough. Even though fatigue builds up, we continue pushing and want to stay the course. We fail to pay attention to the mind that’s telling us to stop. Until it’s too late.

Everyone experiences breaking points in distinct ways.

Some people resist being under pressure, and they immediately turn off. Others ignore the symptoms, letting stress build up until, all of a sudden, they explode. Many individuals overreact to situations that might feel normal to anyone else.

Chronic stress is like hearing a dripping faucet, according to Deepak Chopra: “First, you notice it, then you get irritated, and finally, you can’t stand it anymore. By the time you get to Stage 3, it’s time to fix the drip.”

Stress affects us one drop at a time until we can’t tolerate it any longer. Your brain is triggered to respond — it releases stress hormones that throw you out of balance.

Deepak Chopra identifies three stages that turn the dripping faucet into a make-or-break situation.

Stage 1: You are aware of being under pressure, but still feel centered.

Stage 2: Stress clouds your judgment, and you start to lose control. You have to make a conscious effort not to respond with anger, anxiety, or impatience.

Stage 3: You can’t cope any longer, and you explode — you release your tension momentarily but feel embarrassed and regretful.

Stress is cumulative; don’t miss the signs.

How to Deal With Breaking Points

A breaking point is a moment of greatest strain. Interestingly enough, the breaking points are the moments in which we need to stay calmer. Research shows that trying to control every event increases our stress.

Columbia University’s George Bonanno coined the term “PTE” (Potentially Traumatic Event) — an event is not traumatic unless we experience it as such. You can turn an adverse moment into a breaking point or not.

Always adapt, never react

Fighting what we don’t know or can’t control it’s inherently human. Our brain loves being in charge. That’s why we feel anxious when facing breaking points  —  we want to be in control of every situation.

Take time to acknowledge your emotions. Are you angry? Sad? Disappointed?

Self-awareness is critical to pause and reflect  —  connect with your emotions but don’t react. Learn to acknowledge and observe your thoughts rather than through them. Don’t let your emotions cloud your vision.

Resilience requires practice

Recovering from a breaking point takes time and practice. Resilience is a skill that you develop through time  —  be patient and willing to put the effort.

Remind yourself of similar past situations that you were able to overcome: “I’ve been there, done that. I can do it again.”

Send a message to the world

When you are against the ropes, saving a break point boosts more than your self-confidence  —  you are saying that you are alive and kicking.

Treat your breaking points as a match. Don’t let your "opponent" win  —  stay focused and balanced. What’s your message to the world?

Turn your mind into an ally

Routine, distractions, and busyness debilitate our mind  —  we feel like living on autopilot. Meditation and other mindful practices can turn your mind into your best ally.

Practice strengthening your mind  —  become familiar with yourself so that you can deal better with unexpected events. Embracing your own vulnerability will make you stronger.

Utilize social support

You don’t need to fight your breaking point alone. We are as strong as the strength of our relationships. Who do you trust? Who can provide a calm space to help you clear your mind?

Having a success partner makes it easier to deal with life’s challenges. Check out this simple exercise to start building yours.

Ultimate: My Hell Week

Alena Lepilina

One day after another, and I did not know that this is life.

Days go by. Weeks pass. Years fly by. If we are lucky, we live an incredible number of weeks. Which of the past weeks do you remember? What have you been able to achieve? Tell me honestly: do you remember them?..

Last week was Hell week for me. I'll tell you what it's like to test yourself (spoiler: super-duper-mega-cool!). Exactly 7 days I lived according to the civilian version of the special forces training program. What for? Now you will learn everything about life "On the Limit". nine0004

How to make life better

In the hustle and bustle, we forget what we are really capable of. In his first book, No Self-Pity, Larssen tells a chilling story. Its meaning is that we do not even think about what opportunities we actually have. We often think that, on a scale of 10, our capabilities are at the level of a four - no higher. But the reality is that we can reach ten - we are just afraid to even imagine it.

Each of us is capable of winning. You are capable of becoming better. Stronger. More productive. More optimistic. Kinder. nine0004

"Hell Week" is a special course used by the Norwegian army to train special forces. Eric Bertrand Larssen, who has undergone such training, offers a "civilian version" - a 7-day thoughtful intensive that anyone can do. Why is this crazy? To feel the taste of life, the meaning of simple things and find out what you are really capable of, and most importantly, to get the impetus for change for the better.

Hell Week helps you find if not a top ten, then your own 8 or even 9-ku on the scale of possibilities.

Watch a short video (with subtitles) and see what Larssen means.

Loop on a straight line of life

Imagine your life as a long straight line. You were born, you live, and after many years you die. You live in a prosperous country. The primitive struggle for survival, which is so relevant for many people on Earth, does not interest you much.

However, as you get older, you realize that every day of your life is similar to the previous one. Weeks and even years fly by according to one scenario. You may already find it difficult to distinguish them. You have everything you need. In general, life suits you. Most likely, you experienced ups and downs, but for the most part, events flowed smoothly from one to another. And yet something is missing. Probably. nine0004

It is very easy to get bogged down in a routine, get used to the beaten track and come to a dead end along it. But there is such a sky above your head, and there are so many opportunities on earth!

Now imagine again that life is a long straight line. Imagine that you intend to break this line by making a huge loop in the chain of events in the form of one week, during which you step back from the daily routine, habits and attitudes that guide you live.

Maybe this is just what you need - something new, a series of tests that can make you go beyond the ordinary. nine0004

Camp in Trendum, Norway, summer 1992

Perhaps I am the only one in this country who experienced a hellish week in the armed forces. I got this experience in a military college. Of course, thousands of guys were better than me. But I feel incredibly proud of my achievements, because I remember where I started. I was a rather frail, insecure boy who hardly saw himself as a good soldier or officer. It was this discrepancy and the ability to overcome it that made me study with a vengeance: I became stronger, more self-confident and mature. And hell week is one of the reasons for these changes. nine0004

But in the summer of 1992, standing with other recruits on the parade ground in the Trendum camp, I felt completely different. Is this really my place? Do I want to live a hell of a week?

I don't know. Not sure. I was excited, but at the same time I was ready to take risks, - the source.

One hundred and twenty recruits stand at attention in front of the barracks. I can still hear my heart beating. The officers stand opposite and look at us. Study. They look serious. They frown. We are tense. We try to appear collected. Only I'm not sure if I have the necessary qualities to withstand the upcoming tests. nine0004

Hell Week - the name speaks for itself. The week at the limit has just begun. I guess that in the coming days I will need willpower, courage, perseverance and endurance. These days will show whether I am able to lead people in combat conditions and whether I can take care of myself in a difficult situation. Based on these results, a decision will be made whether my candidacy is suitable for training as an officer.

Next stop hell

I foresee mud, endless drills, loud commanding officers, future stress, pain, discouragement. I can imagine how hard it will be. One of the officers steps forward and stands in front of us. He barks a few brief directions and we load into the cars. nine0004

Next stop hell.

The following days are fixed in my memory as the true embodiment of hell on Earth. It seems we walked for three days and three nights, but I'm not sure, because my sense of time has changed. All I remember is pain in my hips and shoulders. This pain was completely new to me - stronger, more intense than ever before. I began to understand what a week at the limit is.

Somewhere in the back of his mind, there was a thought that a person is able to endure much more than he thinks. This thought helped me stay afloat. In pain like hell, I wondered how long I could bear it. I thought, “This is hell, but I'm not dying. As long as I can move my legs, I need to move forward.” nine0004

What will happen at five in the morning on Monday

Larssen called all these tests the mental training of the military. After all, this is not only a test of physical endurance, but also a useful lesson, deeply meaningful from beginning to end. Much later, after becoming a personal growth coach, he developed a civilian version of Hell Week.

Eat healthy food. Do sports every day. Rest effectively. Work concentrated. Get up early. Go to bed early. Finish what you started. Cut out the unnecessary. Set high goals. Be optimistic and cheerful. It's simple and incredibly difficult at the same time. nine0004

Life will become better and easier, even if you are slowly moving towards your goal. You still go to her! - A source.

For one week, you will become the best version of yourself. Is it a lot or a little? Either way, this experience will stay with you for the rest of your life.

My Hell Week

To say I was impressed with the book is an understatement. Copywriters at MIF read all the books that come out of the publishing house. But this one is special. Never before have my colleagues and I seen this. I immediately got the idea to try this test of willpower and character for myself. nine0004

The important thing is that you develop the Hell Week plan yourself. This is not “to do as it is written in the book”, but to work out what you want to change in yourself. How intense the test will be, you also choose for yourself.

Before I go into detail, there are two conclusions at once:

  1. This is a lot more complicated than I thought. Ten times. No, a thousand.
  2. I will do it again.

By Sunday evening, everything was ready: I ​​set goals in life (imagine, everything is so serious!), described my strengths and weaknesses, thought about what I want to change and how I will do it. But everything was still hazy. I postponed clear plans for the morning, as Larssen advises. nine0004

This is how I felt about myself. In full combat readiness! 😉

Enthusiasm, anticipation, fear and excitement — I was overwhelmed with emotions. I was hoping that this week would change my life

“This is going to be amazing!” I thought and fell asleep. Haha. Did you believe? Not true. Although I was impatient to wait for the morning and I knew very well that there was less and less sleep left, I tossed and turned in bed, as if in a frying pan. I woke up 5 times a night: I jumped up in horror, thinking that I overslept. In the same way, I am waiting for the morning when it is time to go south, and the sea, the gentle sun and new impressions are waiting ahead. Here, a cold January morning was waiting for me, when it was dark outside and there was not even a hint of dawn, the chill at home (there were frosts, and at such a time it was cold to get out of bed) and the prospect of working and doing things in turbo mode. And it turned out to be no less exciting than a vacation 😉

Chronicle of my Hell Week

Larssen says that these seven days have a wow effect: they teach you to appreciate the little things in life that we don’t notice in everyday life (for example, delicious food and sleeping in a fresh bed), give time to redo a lot of accumulated cases, gain motivation and courage to change your life, and even start making dreams come true. Well, I can say from my own experience: he is right, 100% right. During this week, I really began to change - to fight my long-standing habits and be glad that I'm getting serious. It's an amazing feeling to know that you can do more than you thought. nine0004

Tasks are prepared for each day of Hell Week: for example, do what you are afraid of, stay up all night or live in the present moment - "here and now". Get up at 5 am every day and exercise. Do not be distracted by sms and social networks during work. Rest wisely. In general, it will not be boring.

Reach the goal at any cost! - A source.


With the first ring of the alarm, I opened my eyes and ran to plan my day — Hell Week had begun. Wow! Exciting! At first, I was very cheerful. Only at 10 in the morning I was already dreaming about how I would lie down on a pillow in the evening. Not surprising. By that time I had been awake for 5 hours and had done a lot of work, not counting walking the dogs in 20-degree frost and, of course, morning coffee. I had no problems with healthy food: I have been trying to stick to proper nutrition for a long time, so oatmeal and scrambled eggs for breakfast do not scare me. nine0004

The idea of ​​having a Hell Week is exciting. My husband, who usually wakes up 10 minutes before going to work, got up at 6:30 in the morning and announced that he would also get up early. And he was satisfied. Getting up early seems to be a simple thing, but due to some strange circumstances you feel vivacity, energy and, most importantly, you know that there is a long day ahead, so there is enough time for everything.

My first morning of Hell Week.


It's hard. Mega difficult. When you really want to sleep, the reality becomes different. You don't see things that way. What is happening seems strange. But you do it 100 times more. Seriously! There is enough time for long walks with dogs, and for conscientious training, and for work, and for a thoughtful lunch, during which you train to focus attention and concentrate on the moment. nine0004

Although it must be said that it is psychologically difficult. This is truly a test of willpower and character. I want to quit everything, I get angry: for example, on Tuesday, when one of the tasks was to monitor my emotions, I did not ask at all. It started with taking too long showers by Hell Week standards (before 5:30 am - what a nightmare!), which was not in my schedule, so I got a feeling code-named “Aaaah, I I can't do anything!" It took a lot of effort (and more than once during the day) to cope with it. nine0004

About getting up in the morning. On Tuesday, I got up not at 5 am exactly, but at 5:07. Out of habit, she slammed “Snooze” on the alarm clock and rolled over to her other side to fill up. But it didn't. In my head, someone sarcastically asked: “Well, has the fuse run out? Blown away? Enough for a day?

But no! Don't wait.


By the middle of the week I was in a normal hellish working rhythm, everything was fine. Surprisingly, at exactly 22:00 I went to bed only on Tuesday - on other days it turned out much later. But it seemed to me that I would be exhausted and exhausted. Indeed, the possibilities of our body are enormous. During the day, a second wind opened three times: at 10-11 in the morning, after 16 hours and after 20:30 in the evening, when it was already necessary to get ready for bed. But then dormant until that time resources woke up. To be honest, I'm amazed. nine0004


It was a turning point, a critical moment, a force majeure, whatever you want to call it. I had an almost full-fledged bout of gouging in everything except work: I woke up (oh, horror!) at 6:15 - I simply could not get up at five in the morning, did not go in for sports - there was no home workout, no hike to a fitness club, at the same time she ate two whole sweet curds, although sweets are prohibited. But sweets are a separate topic altogether: it was only on Wednesday that I realized that I was drinking coffee with a sweetener, and it was also ... sweet. I used to think that sakhzam means "no sugar". Anyway. Next time will be better. The body screamed: "I'm tired, I can't take it anymore, I need a break." I simply could not spend the night without sleep, but at 22:00, of course, I did not go to bed. nine0004


On Friday, everything got better: the body and mind, apparently, realized that there would be no descent, and meekly continued to work hard. I celebrated a small victory over myself. What happened on Friday? In general, everything went according to plan: productivity, efficiency, regimen, training with pleasure, food . .. I decided that I would get up at 5 in the morning two or three times a week - it turned out that there was nothing particularly difficult in this. So why not take advantage of the opening? All my life I dreamed of waking up at sunrise, doing some business, and devoting the afternoon to hobbies, family, friends. But I never, never did it! And now I shrug: there is nothing supernatural in the early rises. nine0004


I liked this day more than others. Perhaps because of the main task of the day (I won’t reveal the secret - let there be intrigue). The smile never left my face all day. Live well, friends!


The last day was not as eventful as all the others. Sunday is reserved for reflecting on everything that has happened this week. And there really is something to think about, sort out impressions and figure out how to live on. Because you want change. Highly. A thirst for change for the better awakens. Hell week seems to light a fire inside, which no longer allows you to simply live on the machine. This is the whole point. nine0004

A pleasant end to the week was a report from Rescuetime - a program that monitors what you do on your computer. My productivity jumped to 92% (that is, this is not the limit!), every day I was busy with necessary and useful things for 9-10 hours a day, and all sorts of distracting things took no more than 16 minutes daily. Wow!

Tips for those who dare

The experiment was a success, but there is still work to be done. From my experience, I have learned a few thoughts that I would like to share with you. nine0004

1. Don't neglect your preparation

In order to start Hell Week, you need to work on yourself and reflect. The more thoughtful and responsible you approach the matter, the more benefit you will get.

2. Set realistic goals

You will need to set goals for the next seven days. Don't be like me - don't be greedy 🙂 My wishlist was such that it would take Hell Month, not Hell Week. Be realistic. nine0004

3. Live a light version of Hell Week

I didn't manage to realize everything I had planned. One of the reasons is that I didn't know what to expect. I imagined that I would be some kind of "energy productivity machine" on batteries that never run out. But in reality this was not always the case. Therefore, for the first time, I propose to conduct a Hell week of the lite version, for beginners. How to do it? Plan everything as it should, and as the play progresses, you will see what you lack the strength for and understand your mistakes. So then you will be fully equipped. I did so. Another hellish, relentless and glorious week awaits me soon. nine0004

Despite all the difficulties, I believe that the experiment was a success. Now, when I am writing this text, it is early Monday morning outside the window. Not Hell Week anymore. And yet I woke up earlier than usual, ready for a new day.

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