If you’ve identified your symptoms from the last blog, you’re ready to do a little more  self analysis.  Although there are more detailed explanations of the questions in YOUR PERSONAL STRESS ANALYSIS, you can get a truly good start with the more abbreviated approach here.  You’ll know, as you work your way through the questions whether you’d benefit from the book.

    So grab your journal or a notebook, and get started.

    -WHERE are you when you feel the greatest amount of stress? At home? At work? In a social setting? Commuting to work? Traveling? Maybe trying to relax on a vacation? And further, are there specific situations you can identify that you know are stressful for you?

    This question helps isolate your stressors.  If it’s just ONE situation you find stressful, you’ll be able to focus your coping strategy; however, if you are like most of us, you’ll find you are stressed in more than one setting.  So make a list. Capture as much detail as you can about where you are, what’s going on that is challenging enough to create stress.

    Each question is intended to help you get more specific.  And the more detail you generate the more information you’ll have to tackle what’s difficult.

    -Now let’s look at PEOPLE.  Make a list of the people who “get on your nerves.”  Who are the individuals you are talking to, or perhaps just thinking about, when you feel stressed? Include people from your past as well as present. Don’t leave out anyone who is no longer in your life as a result of death, divorce, or simple avoidance. Don’t worry if the list seems too long, you’re generating helpful information!

    -Next study the list and think about what the individuals have in common. What behaviors, values, attitudes, mannerisms,,, even body language and facial expressions and voice tone do the people on your list share? Is there a way your current partner or boss or good friend remind you of a previous partner, boss, family member?

    As you write you are gradually creating the most helpful information possible!

    -Now think about the members of the family you grew up in.  Which family members were stress producers for you? Who in your current circle of relationships remind you of family members? The stress you feel in relationships today typically has a root connection to unresolved stress with members of your family of origin.  Annoying, I know.  But again, your answers give you more and more information for whatever work you decide to do on yourself.

    Now you have situations and people to examine. Study your lists and make notes on situations that feel similar, people who feel similar. We have a “psychological pull” to people who feel familiar to us, even if the individual in your past was not a good person for you to be around. It’s the familiar that pulls us.  And right now all you’re doing is looking for patterns.

    In the next blog we’ll examine your self care or your challenges to self care in the situations and the relationships you’ve identified.

    For now, keep notes, reflect. Even do a quiet meditation. You will find when you allow your mind to search and look for patterns, they start to pop into your awareness.  And always remember to ask for help if you surface feelings that are difficult to handle.  Hang in there!

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