How to Identify Your Stressors and Cut Back on Stress

Life Coach, weight loss, motivation, reducing anxiety, lifestyle changes

Stress is present in every one of our lives.  It comes in many forms and can cause emotional, physical or psychological strain.  Stress is your body’s response to something that might require your attention or some sort of action.  Stress can cause a mental, emotional or physical reaction.  It’s not always a bad thing as it can help us be more aware of things around us, and keep us focused.  Sometimes it can help us be stronger and get something done which needs doing as it releases powerful hormones and neurochemicals that prepare us to take action – that is to flee or fight.  As an experienced life coach I know that long term and ongoing stress is not good for us, hence why we often try to keep stress levels down and not live in that flight or fight mode 24/7.

Stress is very common these days and there are four types of stress:

  • Acute stress – which is short term and can help us get through something or face a situation
  • Chronic stress – that appears to be inescapable and feels like it goes on forever.  A bad marriage, long term abuse or a very demanding job are some examples.
  • Eustress – which is often seen as fun or exciting.  A first date or roller coaster ride are some good examples; you feel good, but it’s still stressful.
  • Episodic acute stress – is more severe and could be the result of say a death of a loved one or being raped.  Whilst the ‘event’ may have passed, the stress of it may not have.

There are many things which cause stress.  Some are quite common to many people, such as health issues, relationships, money, having an unhappy job, struggling against time, divorce, depression, grief, anxiety, traumatic events, fear and uncertainty.  With COVID-19 we’ve seen a tonne of stressful situations where we’ve been stressed for a long period of time, worrying about the world, the economy, our jobs, our health and that of our loved ones and worrying about what will become of our lives.

As every one of us is different, so is what causes us stress.  For some, being caught in traffic can be stressful.  For others, it’s meeting a deadline at work, or perhaps making ends meet in order to pay the bills and keep our homes operating.  I’ll cover off on a few different stress factors and how you might deal with those:

Time stressors – allow extra time for the journey or the deadline and give yourself a buffer.  That way, even if you get caught up in traffic, you won’t be late and can just turn on some relaxing music and enjoy the ride.

Emotional problems – sometimes the best way to deal with emotional problems is to talk about them.  Sometimes just by talking and ‘getting it off our chest’ we feel better and sometimes even see the solution.

Health problems – getting exercise, eating well and lots of sleep will go a long way to improving your health and any health problems.  If you have concerns, address them with your GP or doctor and get a plan of attack.

Financial stress – seeking guidance (perhaps your accountant), seeing a budget into place, cutting back on unnecessary expenses and putting a plan into place to get back on track will both give you a solution and reduce your stress.  Worrying, burying your head in the sand and hiding things will likely only escalate the problem.

There are many things which cause stress; it can be something as simple as a long line in the supermarket, or the loss of a loved one.  Sometimes it’s just our constant, busy and hectic lives that we live these days.  Some strategies for general wellness and general stress reduction, try:

  • Exercise – to your level.  It might be walking your dog, or running a marathon – whatever suits you.
  • Relaxing your muscles – getting a massage can both be excellent means to reduce stress.
  • Love a pet – pets are great de-stressors.  Just patting an animal and taking time out to be with a pet can help a lot.
  • Eat well – good nutrition and a well-balanced diet go a long way.  So will cutting back on the things which are not good for your body, such as caffeine, drugs, smoking or unhealthy foods.
  • Sleep – endeavor to get 7-8 hours consistently each night.  If that means the up-take of some good pre-sleep habits, then do so.
  • Relax – things like meditation, or reading a book, gardening, art, pottery or whatever pleasant and relaxing task that helps you to slow down – then do it.
  • Forgiveness – to others, but mostly forgive yourself.  We are often our toughest task masters and hardest most on ourselves.
  • Take a break – whether it’s a break during the day to get some fresh air, or taking a long weekend or a holiday – do what you can.  Often keeping it simple is ideal, so perhaps camping is more relaxing than stressing about paying for a 5-star resort style trip.
  • Gratitude – being grateful for what we do have helps also.  Rather than focusing on the negative, focus on the positive and remember all the things in your life which are good.

The important thing is to identify what causes you stress.  Once you know that, then you can work on reducing (if not eliminating) that stress factor.  As we are all unique and different and what can stress one person, may not stress the next, there is no hard and fast rule.  Simply know what causes you stress and try to work out how you can cut back on that stressor so you reduce your stress situation.  Often talking to someone will help.  That might be a good friend, a family member, counsellor or someone like me who is a life coach.

Often just by talking, we feel better, plus another person with a clear perspective and experience of what you’re going through will be able to give you practical and useful strategies to deal with your situation.

If I can help in any way, please reach out to me at 0428 124 922