Organizing Our Stress

I believe stress management is the key to short and long-term health. Not what we look like, but feeling good – mentally, emotionally, and physically. What matters is how we feel; how we experience life, for ourselves and with those around us. And as I’ve said, stress can contribute to and cause health problems making it a vicious cycle, but we can also turn it around and use it to help solve our problems.

Since we all stress out, what if we were to look at things normally deemed “healthy behaviors” like exercise, nutrition, and sleep as coping skills rather self-care? What if we looked at them as… stress-care? And what if we included aspects like self-awareness and emotional resilience since our behaviors are ultimately driven by our emotions and who we are at the core?

What if we were to stop looking for THE solution from the outside and start looking for them from the inside?

Last week I went through the nuances of stress including the five primary types of stressors. Everything in our life fits into one of them, but sometimes we must work a bit harder to get to the root of where they originate. The reason I also spent a lot of time discussing our triggers and resentments so that we can uncover our unmet needs is to progress to this next step. To categorize where our stressors originate and which areas of our lives are affected, we must possess the self-awareness to identify the roots of our triggers – and the ability to continue doing the work and applying the tools.

I’m going to begin combining a lot of these pieces and parts that I’ve been floating around, so stay with me. I’ve also previously written about the wellness wheel, and how it can be so easy to neglect parts of our wellness that aren’t as “popular,” but are just as important. This has been my inspiration to digging deeper into the connection between our emotional intelligence, stress, and health/health behaviors.

The purpose of this worksheet is to take a look – literally – at the things in our life that are stressing us out, and start to break it down. The only way to end a cycle is to break it, right? I love watching that show The Home Edit, and it occurred to me while compiling all of this that I’m really just doing a form of what Clea and Joanna do – but with far less visually appealing bins!

The idea here is to go through each dimension of wellness and think about our primary stressors in that area – essentially, what are the things that come to mind within those areas that we wish would could or need to change? You may not have anything in some areas and that’s okay. On the flip side, often in our lives there is overlap, so it’s okay to list the same stressor in multiple dimensions. For example, worrying about finances due to job instability may overlap into the physical dimension by causing sleep issues. It’s also okay if you don’t necessarily know the root of the stressor within a dimension – for example, in the physical area, you may list inability to sleep well as the stressor itself if there is no clear primary known cause.

So where is this all going?! Well, it is imperative to recognize where we do and do not have control so we can begin to tackle things accordingly. By going through this worksheet and gaining a visual perspective on current stressors, we can begin to break them down even further to formulate an actionable plan to eliminate stress where controllable, and cope with it’s uncontrollable. Next week’s worksheet will do just that – control, and cope versus eliminate. We’ll also look at how to maximize thoughts and behaviors to positively benefit multiple areas of our lives whenever possible, rooted in prioritizing short and long-term health, energy maximization, and emotional resilience over traditional methods rooted in unhelpful “just do it” motivation and waiting on physically visible changes/progressions.

About shauna@reyoutotalhealth.com

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