The Stress Container

Have you noticed that when you’re overly stressed, you have trouble coping with day to day tasks?

It can be helpful to think about your capacity to handle stress as the size of a container. The size of our stress container, and therefore how vulnerable we are to stress, is unique to us! It can depend on our genetics, early upbringing, and life experiences. In small amounts, stress is manageable. However, when our stress container continues to fill and starts to overflow, we see problems in coping with our usual day-to-day commitments. Thus, it is important to take regular steps to manage stress effectively.

Our stress container starts to build up everytime we experience a stressor. This could be from big stressors -  relationship conflicts, loss or injury, or the build up of micro stressors throughout the day - waking up to our alarm in the morning, running late, or being stuck in traffic

Remember good stressors such as working productively, working towards your goals, and social events can still deplete your resources over the course of the day. So taking time to rest and recharge even when you’re having fun is still important.  

Here are some activities that can empty your stress container:

  • Going for a walk
  • Spend time in nature
  • Exercise
  • Prioritising sleep
  • Connecting with others
  • Journaling
  • Mindfulness exercises (e.g. meditation)
  • Creative expression - paint, dance and write
  • Cooking your favourite meal
  • Listening to music
  • Taking a bath

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