Stress in life is a given. I don’t know of anyone who hasn’t experienced stress at least once in their life. Most people I know have some type of stress daily.
How much stress do you experience?
You may have read that stress costs the U.S. economy $300 billion. Unfortunately, that amount is not accurate – it’s a guestimate.
What is known is that chronic stress can lead to health issues. Conditions such as gastrointestinal problems, depression, heart disease, and obesity.
Are you experiencing health issues from stress?
To prevent or minimize health issues from stress, it’s important to recognize what is causing stress in your life.
Here are four stress triggers you may be experiencing.
1- Daily schedule:
Take a look at your daily schedule. Do you book every minute or do you leave room for the unexpected?
Schedules that are too tight create stress because your time is limited. Any type of obstacle (such as traffic or an unexpected home repair) can turn your day into chaos.
2- Negative Self-Talk:
Do you criticize yourself throughout the day? If your inner critic is excessive with negative comments it’s referred to as negative self-talk.
This excessive negativity slows down your performance and focus, which in turn creates stress in your life.
Expectations can come from yourself or others. Words such as always, never, and should create these expectations.
You could be creating these high expectations for yourself, especially if you have a tendency to strive for perfection. Or others could be creating these expectations in your personal life or at work.
Uncertainty is not knowing what the future holds. It’s usually brought on by a change of circumstances in life.
It could be losing something or someone that created security for you. It could be losing money in a bad investment. It could be losing a spouse to a chronic illness.
It could be gaining new responsibilities in your personal life (e.g., new baby) or in your professional life (e.g., new role).
The change of status quo brings many questions on how you will continue moving forward in life. This questioning or worrying creates stress.
As you list what causes you stress, drill down on each item to better define your stress.
For example, most people will say work creates their stress. Ask yourself why is work stressful.
Is it because there is too much to accomplish in a limited timeframe?
Is it because you doubt your experience and flood yourself with negative self-talk?
Is it because you have high expectations or your boss has high expectations?
Is it because your role at work may change?
Some people attribute their stress to a family member. Use the same questions above to determine what specifically about the person creates stress.
As you drill down in defining what is triggering your stress, you’ll have a better understanding of what you need to address.
Once you know what triggers your stress, then you can use stress management techniques to control your response. It’s a way for you to take control of the situation.
Here are stress management techniques to try on the four stress triggers.
1- Daily schedule:
Refrain from booking every minute of the day. Add gaps between appointments for flexibility.
Review your obligations and decide which ones you can delegate, postpone, or remove. You’ll need to make tough decisions.
For more ideas read How to Handle The 3 O’s
2- Negative Self-Talk:
Counter your negative self-talk by listing your accomplishments. Keep a list handy at all times.
Practice deep breathing exercises. It’ll shift your focus to breathing instead of berating yourself.
For more ideas read How To Delete Negative Self-Talk
Reframe your ideas about failure. As J.K. Rowling stated in her commencement speech at Harvard University, “Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way.”
For those imposing high expectations on you, set boundaries with your interactions. If it’s work-related, maybe it’s time to explore new job postings with your current employer or with a new employer.
For more ideas read Challenging the “F” Word
Determine what you can control and develop an action plan. Focus on one thing you can do to make your situation better, even if it’s a marginal change.
Find a volunteer opportunity. Shifting your focus to helping someone in greater need is a good way to reframe your situation.
Use the 5 P’s of Life to create an action plan
Life is filled with stress. The best way to manage it is to know what you can control. It’s a shift in your perception.
If you have difficulty managing your stress, seek professional help either through a therapist or attending a stress management class. Managing your stress triggers is necessary to stay mentally and physically healthy.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Niv Persaud, CFP®, CDFA™, RICP®, CRPC®, is the Founder of Transition Planning & Guidance, LLC. Life is more than money. It’s about living the lifestyle you want and can afford. For that reason, Niv consults with clients on money, life, and work. Her approach capitalizes on techniques she learned throughout her career, including as a management consultant, executive recruiter, and financial advisor. Her services include developing spending plans, comprehensive financial plans, divorce financial reviews, retirement plans. Niv actively gives back to her community through her volunteer efforts. She believes in living life to the fullest by cherishing friendships, enjoying the beauty of nature and laughing often — even at herself. Her favorite quote is by Erma Bombeck, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say ‘I used everything you gave me.’”