How To Identify Sources Of Stress In Your Life

Let’s face it; we live in a very stressful time. But, we can take control of stress levels by learning how to identify the sources of stress in our lives.

How To Identify Sources Of Stress

One of the keys to managing stress is to realize where it is coming from. This may sound simple. Stress comes from stressful situations in your life, right? Actually, only sometimes. It is really how you look at those situations that make the difference.

Once you start identifying the sources of stress in your life, then you can start working on your perception and attitude to help relieve stress.

How To Identify Sources of Stress

1. Circumstances Won’t Change

If you are like me and keep waiting for things to get easier, you have already realized that it is not going to happen. I used to say this often in reference to the kids. For example, I used to say when the kids get older things will get easier because they are more independent. I have come to realize this is not true. With each age come new challenges. Some things may get easier, but then other things get more difficult. I do not think there is any point at which we can count on life to be easy-going.

Accepting life the way it is, the good, the bad and the ugly can actually be rather liberating. This allows you to be more proactive with your life. Learning to let go of what you cannot control is, in it self, calming. It also gives you the energy to take hold of what you can control, such as your attitude, schedule, outlook, feelings, etc.

2. Take a Look at Yourself

Are you creating the stress and not even realize it? Do you procrastinate too much so then you are scrambling to meet deadlines? Are you taking on more than you should?

how to identify sources of stress

3. You Can Change Things – Starting with You

Write down all of the things that trigger stress for you. Are they deadlines? How about personal responsibilities? Are there some internal fears that trigger stress for you? Write down all of your stresses, including deadlines and responsibilities. These can be related to work or personal life. Putting everything in writing will help you get a visual picture of everything you have going on, and will help you start the process of managing these items.

4. Look at Your List – is it You?

This may be a laundry list since it can include external circumstances, such as: children leaving home, a death in the family, a new baby, loss of a job, divorce, insufficient income, etc. Other items on this list may be more internal, such as personal fears, not feeling in control, maybe even beliefs and opinions that put a lot of pressure on you.

5. Managing External and Internal Stress Triggers

Although many of these triggers may be external, it does not mean you cannot take control of them and your response to them. Internal triggers can be managed as well. Sometimes without outside help, other times you may need to talk to someone to figure it all out properly.

Here are some suggestions for managing external triggers include:

  • Learn to say “no” when you know you cannot possibly take on anything else.
  • Ask for help, even when you feel you cannot reciprocate in the near future.
  • Learn how to effectively manage your time. **There are some suggestions down below.**

Managing internal triggers could involve the following:

  • Start training your thoughts to be more positive. One way to do that is by writing 3-4 positive things down about your day at the end of each day.
  • Identify negative thought patterns and start challenging them with positives.
  • Do something that is relaxing to you, such as yoga, stretching, meditation, journaling, or Bible study.

On a personal note:

I have Generalized Anxiety, which I am now seeing a specialist for proper management. I have been taking medication for years but have never felt it was being taken care of the way it should. I am also seeing a counselor. One of the things we are working on is organization. Life is very busy with the three kids, owning a business, managing a house, and a husband who works a lot.

One of the things I am working on with my counselor is my organization, or lack there of. Life is very busy with the three kids, owning a business, managing a house, and a husband who works a lot. So, we are trying see if we can tweak my schedule to see how my days can be organized more efficiently.

My counselor suggested getting an appointment calendar that has a breakdown by time throughout the day. She then suggested using different color pens for different subjects that matter the most to me and need to be done daily. For example, all work is in blue, anything involving the kids is in pink, household “have to’s” are in black (getting the kids off to school, preparing meals, etc.), exercise is in purple, Bible study is in Orange, and so on and so forth. However, when I tried to do this, I found that it was way too difficult to fit everything in specific time spots.

What I have done instead is write on my calendar throughout the day how I am actually spending my time. This way I can see patterns start to develop, see where I may be wasting too much time, and where I can start doing some tweaking.

I hope this is helpful to you. It has been a long road for me, but I am really learning a lot about myself throughout this process. I am also grateful for having someone to help me put the proper tools in place to make life a bit more sane.


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About the Author

I am a work from home mom who dearly loves her 15-year-old daughter, 11-year-old boy/girl twins, and husband. I love my life and feel very blessed by what God has provided for me.

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