“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop” Confucius
According to the Oxford English dictionary stress is “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.”
But what each of us finds stressful can be quite different. While some seem impervious to difficult situations others are brought down by seemingly small stresses. Part of managing stress is figuring out what kinds of situations are particularly stress inducing for you and then applying some skills to address those.
We can further break stress into the various types.
- Distress: “Extreme anxiety, sorrow, or pain.”
- Eustress: “moderation or normal psychological stress interpreted and being beneficial for the experiencer.”
The purpose of stress management is to find out what is “distressing” for you and what types of activities create “eustress.” We want to find the perfect balance of the two. Yes it is possible to have levels of distress that are not particularly harmful and we are all going to experience it, but by finding a way to move the needle to a more positive form of stress you will help to neutralize the negative impacts of stress on your life.
Where does stress come from?
Stress can come from any area of our life. Of course we can experience both the positive and the negative types of stress in each domain. Working to decrease the negative stresses and increase the positive ones is our goal.
How do we do that?
I like to do something I call the 5 minute dive. In it we will take 5 minutes (you can take longer) and go through the following 5 steps.
- Consider what kinds of life situations add to your “distress”? If you sit down and suddenly draw a blank think of the last time (or last few times) when you noticed a shift in your mood. Are there situations in your life that create feelings of anger or defeat or just make you want to cry? These are areas that are likely causing you some type of “distress.”
- Write them all down. Don’t get caught up in how many things you are writing down or judge yourself for them. Later you will take them one by one and apply some skills to help alleviate some of the distress you feel around these areas. Keep in mind that there are some things that we can’t feel good about. That’s true for all of us, but many times we get stuck in cycles of distress and if we take the time to figure out, what we can change and what we can’t we will go a long way to alleviating at least a portion of our distress.
- Determine how much control you have over each situation you identified. Keeping in mind we can only control our own actions and not that of others.
- Prepare for change. Managing stress requires effort, but don’t despair often small changes can yield big dividends.
- Apply some of the stress management strategies discussed in the next section.
Thank you for dropping by The Stress Nest. Please leave suggestions in the comment section.
Note: This site is not intended as a replacement for formal mental health treatment. If you believe you have issues more than what this site can address please contact a local mental health professional.