How To Know When You Are At Your Breaking Point

How To Know When You Are At Your Breaking Point

How To Know When You Are At Your Breaking Point


by Jamie Cheng 

Anxious and lost are understatements of what you might associate with your lowest valleys. This article might seem to be a full-fledged negative one in the beginning but there’s light (and advice) at the end of the tunnel.

I know that the very fact you’re reading this means that some part of you may have had too much to bear. You’ve wrecked your brain, smashed your heart, and dirtied your hands. Still, you find yourself suffocating in your very own thoughts and emotions; you’re drowning and there’s no lifeguard on duty.

I do not know you nor your situation. But what I do know for certain is that you’re not alone in this (even if you feel so) and that you can make it through.


Definition of Breaking Point

Cambridge Dictionary defines this as: “The stage at which your control over yourself or a situation is lost.”

Your breaking point is where you have lost control of yourself or a situation. A breaking point is like doing that last rep in the gym. And it seems like the weight isn’t even moving an inch anymore.

A breaking point is like staying in that abusive (not necessarily has to just be physical) relationship and you’ve had enough of trying to fake a smile while you step out of closed doors.

A breaking point is like having to feed your family of six with a measly salary. You live from hand to mouth and inside it breaks you when you can’t give your dearly loved family what they deserve. You feel like you don’t know what else to do anymore.

A breaking point is like getting mocked and bullied online and in school. You wonder if anyone even cares or loves you, whether there’s an escape from this plight that you so don’t deserve. You wonder if your life even matters, and can’t figure out what’s the point of living anyway.


Tell-Tale Signs of Reaching Your Breaking Point

Signs of breaking point

Each of us has our own set of problems and we all come with battle scars. But the general tell-tale signs of you reaching your breaking point would be a place where you constantly face these tangible issues:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Always out of focus
  • You feel more irritable and emotional (more tears)
  • You are more withdrawn and prefer isolation
  • Changes in appetite
  • Feelings of worthlessness and suicide

Carl Naumberg, PhD., wrote for Psychology Today on how this easy acronym can help you to check in with your body.

CALM which stands for:

  • C – Chest
  • A – Arms
  • L – Legs
  • M – Mind

Looking for signs of tension such as physical tightness in your chest, arms, and legs can help to raise a caveat so that you can do something about it as soon as possible. In addition, you can try introspecting, where you purposefully become conscious about the thoughts running through your mind. More specifically, to be aware of anxiety-causing thoughts.

It may seem to you right now that this doesn’t solve your problem. Heck, why would you even want to ‘dwell’ on how miserable you feel!

But being aware and conscious of the problem is the first (and most crucial) step in either preventing you from reaching your breaking point or getting you out from that deep, dark well.

“I would spend 55 minutes defining the problem and then five minutes solving it.”
Albert Einstein


Push Forward or Pull Back?

lady deciding which route to take

You are a fighter. You’re strong and you never back down. Inside this body of yours is a resilient and persistent soul. All your life, you’ve always found the strength to try one more time and stay in the grind.

But could this be an unwise move for this situation you’re in?

Sometimes the clear choice that will benefit you could just be pulling back. But because you’re stuck in a debate between your moral, beliefs, and concrete facts you let things remain just as they are. The lack of decisiveness has decided for you that you stay put at where you are.


Here are some helpful questions to make this decision a little easier:

  1. Is this going to lead me to my big goals?
  2. Am I still committing to this just because I’m too deep into it?
  3. If my friend is in the exact situation as I am, what would I advise?
  4. What is the real fundamental problem in my situation?
  5. Are the voices of others determining my decisions?

Yup, this is the part where you get a pen and paper out to write them down.

Making decisions can be scary, no doubt about that. Simply because it’s stepping into something that cannot be undone. However, indecision is something you should never let yourself do.


Expert’s Advice

oprah winfrey picture

Who better to seek advice on this from than Oprah? Here’s how Oprah copes with stress and thereby steering clear from reaching her breaking point.

1. Sleep Deserves a Schedule

Oprah clearly knows herself very well and what makes her perform better. She shares with Fast Company that she naturally wakes up every morning at around 7:16 a.m. to 7:23 a.m. Yep, all without an alarm clock.

She states that when she arises from her slumber, she takes conscious note about her environment; the sunrise, the morning mist, and the different chirps from the birds around.

2. Motivation from Yourself, to Yourself

I was hearing a podcast sometime this week from Optimal Business Daily and they talked about how to flip a sad situation into an award-winning success. One tip that was shared is to read a thousand biographies, one at a time.

Why? Because you allow yourself to be exposed and aware about those who’s been-there-done-that. You give their real-life stories a chance to empathize with your current situation. As a result, you’ll be fuelled with hope and even some nuggets of advice. Oprah does the same. She has a box of quotes with the label ‘365 Truths’ on it. She picks three pieces and takes about a minute to read each of them while she brews her morning tea.

3. Coping Tactic

“I close the door, wherever I am—at my old office in Chicago, I’d literally go in the closet—and just sit and breathe,” Oprah shares with Fast Company.

All in all, prevention is better than cure. And it really all starts with being self-aware and conscious of your being. Sadly, I can’t tell you exactly how to decide which is best for you – even I am discovering it for myself. I hope that this article has been helpful and you’ve found the strength to make a decision.


Personal note:

I know how it feels when pressure and stress are teeming at my breaking point. My bread and butter is my social media agency, and it is a leap I’m willing to make. Paying myself is inconsistent and every day as an entrepreneur is nothing like how influencers paint it to be. Everyone has their own set of problems and the ones that come out successful are the ones that know how to cope well and are self-aware enough to take breaks or even kick themselves in the butt to get productive.




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