Once you can more fully understand the sources of stress, you can feel just a little more able to be in charge of reducing it.  Remember it does not totally go away.  We are not able to be stress free, but we are quite able to manage, to reduce, to become mindful enough that most of the time stress is simply energizing rather than debilitating.

    In YOUR PERSONAL STRESS ANALYSIS I ask a series of 16 questions that are intended to take you through a process of self analysis that explains the sources of stress for YOU. And it’s important to remember that your stress is just that — it’s YOURS.  Each of us is unique. Oh yes, we share many stressors, like CHRISTMAS, for example.  And it truly is always included in any stress inventory as a stressor.  But certain things will stress you that absolutely do NOT bother your partner, family member, colleague, friend in the way it does you. So it’s important to not compare yourself.

    So the first of the questions.

    -How often does stress interfere with the way you want to conduct your life? Monthly? Weekly? Daily? This just means how often is stress so great that you have to stop what you’re doing and talk to someone, take a pill, or rest? Do you worry that you should see a doctor because you often feel ill or have difficulty calming your emotions?  It’s important for your health and well being that stress not interfere with life on any regular basis.  When it does, it’s time to ask for some help.

    -What are your most common stress symptoms?

    Here are some fairly comprehensive lists:    -muscle tension, aches, spasms  -headaches -skin rashes  -excess fatigue, exhaustion, insomnia  -shortness of breath, difficulty breathing  -ringing or buzzing in your ears  -dizziness or blurred vision  – heart palpations

    -worry or apprehension and worry about being worried  -general emotional tension or anxiety and agitation  -sadness, depression, crying easily and frequently  -excessive self-criticism or discounting of self  -irritability, anger and rage  -helplessness, hopelessness, low self esteem or self worth

    -difficulty acting on decisions  -pre-occupation or poor concentration and time management  -a frantic pace  – loss of productivity  -superficial involvement or giving up  -absenteeism, being unavailable, avoiding answering the phone or email  -difficulty getting along with others, excessive criticism of others   -changes in eating or drinking habits  -general negativity

    -a void, an emptiness  -a dark hole inside  -panic  -feeling of being ungrounded, rootless, disconnected  -compulsions and addictions.

    If you’re a little over whelmed just reading the symptoms, take a breath and make your own list.  If your list is long, it’s truly time to talk to someone because you deserve to feel far, far better. Just know that once you get your arms around the extent of the symptoms and the frequency, you are on your way to figuring out some effective coping mechanisms.

    There are more questions to come in a few more blogs. But any time you have questions or concerns, just give me a call or send an email.  ALWAYS ask for help when you need it.  Asking is a sign of health. So take good care of yourself as you read these.  It’s sometimes stressful to start the process of recognizing and acknowledging stress!  Eventually it helps!

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