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Anxiety, Stress & Coping
September 20, 2022
Where Is Your Stress Coming From?

Shift Team

A woman knitting by the window with a cup of coffee to assist in reducing her stress.

Help, I’m Stressed! What Can I Do About It?

Stress is inevitable in life. It’s important to accept this reality, but it’s not healthy to live with large amounts of constant stress. Sometimes we face enormous stressors that are out of our control — such as illness, tragedy, or a relationship breakdown. If you are experiencing these types of stress, please reach out for help. Our therapists are here to support you.

But for those of you who face the smaller, daily stresses that compound over time, you can do something about it! Self-awareness is key. Join me in a simple exercise that can help you work through stress. 

Write down everything that stresses you

Grab a journal, a piece of paper, or the notes section on your phone and find a comfortable place.

Write down all the stressors you can think of. Is your stress coming from work? From people’s expectations of you? From your own worry or fear about situations? Is the weight of the world on your shoulders — stress about climate change, the next pandemic, politics, etc.? Maybe you’re experiencing relationship stress or financial pressures. Whatever it is, jot down every source of stress that comes to mind. 

What stressors do I have control over? 

Now, identify the stressors that you have some control over. When we combine all our stressors into one big ball of stress, it can be difficult to see the areas where we do have control. Some stressors fit nicely into the category of “in my control”, whereas others are more complicated. For some people, work may be within their control, while others have very little control over it. The same goes for finances, relationships, or any area of your life. Your situation is unique, but try to identify at least one stressor that’s within your control.

Make a list

Once you’ve identified the stressors that you have some control over, create a short list of actions that could help you reduce stress in these areas. For example, if work is a stressor, you may want to set a goal to stop checking emails after 7pm. Or, if finances are an issue, you might look at your monthly expenses and choose one or two items to reduce or eliminate. Think of strategies that work for your unique situation. The possibilities are endless! 

Here are some of my favourite ways to reduce stress:

  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Read
  • Write
  • Focus on my spirituality
  • Walk
  • Knit (don’t laugh!)
  • Express my feelings
  • Ask for help
  • Avoid people, places, and things that negatively affect my well-being
  • 12-Step meetings / Call my sponsor

Take action to reduce your stress

With this exercise, you’ve identified stressors in your life, highlighted the ones you have some control over, and created a list of actions to help you reduce this stress. Why not try one or two of these ideas this week? When you’re aware of your stressors and take action in areas within your control, you can learn to manage stress in meaningful and lasting ways. 

If you’re looking for more ways to manage stress or tackle another area of life, check out one of our free webinars!

This article was written by Rajani Naik during their time at Shift Collab.

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