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Cause of Stress

Have you ever sat down to wonder what the major cause of stress in your life is? The question may be right, but you may also want to ask who and what location creates stress in your life.

If you have a few minutes, it may be worth your while to analyze your typical day and see if stress triggers can be spotted.

You can use a day timer or create your own spreadsheet using a loose leaf of paper. Start by listing the time of day on the left. Your list needs to start from the moment you get up and extend to the time when you go to sleep. You can choose 15 or 30 minute increments. Here is an example:

07:00 am
07:30 am
08:00 am
08:30 am
09:00 am
09:30 am
10:00 am
10:30 am

11:00 am
11:30 am
12:00 pm
12:30 pm
01:00 pm
01:30 pm
02:00 pm
02:30 pm
03:00 pm
03:30 pm
04:00 pm
04:30 pm
05:00 pm
05:30 pm
06:00 pm
06:30 pm
07:00 pm
07:30 pm
08:00 pm
08:30 pm
09:00 pm
09:30 pm
10:00 pm
10:30 pm

Then, fill the schedule with your daily activities. As you write down each activity, try to spot a stress trigger. If you do, list it in the last column.

    Time             Activity                  Stress Trigger
07:00 am Shower, get dressed.
07:30 am Eat breakfast, pack lunch
08:00 am Drive to work                        Traffic
08:30 am Start work                         Deadlines
09:00 am Work                                Deadlines
09:30 am Work                                 Meetings
10:00 am Work                           Talking to Clients
10:30 am Work                                  Clients
11:00 am Work                                 Meetings
11:30 am Work                               Presentation
12:00 pm Lunch
12:30 pm Lunch
01:00 pm etc.

For each of the stress triggers that you have identified, you can develop a reminder system that will help you fight off the stress by concentrating on your breathing.

For example, if your major cause of stress occurs when driving the car, place a little sticker on the steering wheel. You'll see it everytime you get ready to drive and you can use it as a reminder to focus on your breathing instead of swearing at other drivers.

If another cause of stress occurs in other environments where you can't really leave a reminder, try wearing a special ring or even putting a small rock in your pant pocket. Everytime you see it or feel it, it will remind you to focus on your breathing.

You can also write little Post-it notes with some relaxing thoughts or place pictures that bring forth relaxing memories.

Discovering a major cause of stress is a step towards stress management

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