sources of stress

How to Challenge Your Sources of Stress for Good

What are your sources of stress? Check out these ways to identify and confront your sources of stress and gain control of your life.

If you’re a human being, your greatest sources of stress are probably other human beings. I want to be careful writing this so I don’t encourage you to clobber someone, particularly your kids.

Kids as sources of stress?

Like many of you, I worked outside the home when my kids were young. I’d start my work day at 6 a.m. and pick the kids up after school. Of course, they were excited to be free and wanted to tell me about their day. I just wanted to hide and have a few moments of peace and quiet.

So we negotiated. . .

We agreed that when we got home, I could have 15 min. alone in my bedroom, with the door shut. This was my recuperation time. They usually spent the time decompressing on their own. Then we’d get together after the 15 min. and catch up on our day. Ahhhhhh.

Kids on planes?

I love this true story about kids on planes as sources of stress.

Friends of ours were taking their two children to visit the grandparents. Mom and the 15-month-old boy sat in one row. Dad and the daughter, 3, sat a few rows behind them. A woman in her 50s sat in the other seat in the row.

The toddler started screaming the moment he got on the plane. Apparently, he really doesn’t like planes. The woman sitting next to the dad said, “I certainly hope he’s not going to carry on like that for the next two hours!” Probably with a stern look on her face and a harrumph.

The dad, who did not reveal he was Dad, said, “He (the toddler) just may.” Then Dad paused and said, “I’ve heard him do it before.”

If you don’t want to hear crying babies while on a plane, take ear plugs or headphones. Don’t like listening to someone else’s conversation or movies on a plane? Take ear plugs or headphones. If you take control over your sources of stress, you’ll have a much better flight.

sources of stress

The sounds that annoy you

As I’m writing this, my neighbor’s yard crew is hard at work, with their dang leaf blowers raging. I wish we had noise regulations against leaf blowers, but we don’t. It’s my choice: get stressed by the noise or ignore it. I choose to ignore it.

My husband can’t stand the noise from Wheel of Fortune, which is on TV when we’re eating dinner. We like the puzzles, but all the chatter is too much for him. Our choices are to turn down the sound, change channels, or turn off the TV. We can control that noise that stresses him.

What sounds or noises are sources of stress for you? What can you do to control them? If you can’t control them, how do you insulate yourself from them? Think about it and make a plan.

Your words are sources of stress

Do you realize the language—actual words–you use are sources of stress for you? “I have to do that,” you say. Says who? “I must blah blah blah.” I say. What happens if I don’t blah blah blah?

If you hear yourself saying “must, should, have to, ought to” often, stop yourself and ask who is saying you must, should, etc. What would happen if you didn’t do those things?

The question we ask in our house is: “Is anybody dying or bleeding heavily?” If the answer is “no”, then move on.

A psychologist shared with me years ago that the words I used were sources of stress to me. When I changed those words, my stress level went down. Instead of “I must” say “It would be nice if I did.”

How about “I shouldn’t have said that” or “I really blew that?” Such judgmental expressions are examples of your language as your source of stress.

Change your language and change your stress.

If you don’t believe me, check out this article on how our words can change our brains. Here is a quote from the author: “In their book, Words Can Change Your Brain, they write: ‘a single word has the power to influence the expression of genes that regulate physical and emotional stress.’ ”

Read more on this topic check out The Scary Power of Negative Stress and The Most Dangerous Word in the World.

Check out our post on how to say no and one on how to deal with overwhelm.

sources of stress

Complainers are sources of stress

I know you can control your ability to use stressful words, but what about those complainers you know? The guy at work who is never happy with anything? Your sister-in-law who complains about everything when you go out to dinner together?

Email them this story about the effects of complaining: “A half hour of complaining every day physically damages a person’s brain, according to research from Stanford University.”

If you’re going to complain, at least do it the most beneficial way (as opposed to “the right way.”)

© Pamela A. Scott,, 2017

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1 thought on “How to Challenge Your Sources of Stress for Good

  1. This is a brillant post and it came at the right time for ! I spent some time on the phone yesterday with someone I haven’t spoken to for a while and I swear we did nothing but complain for 40 minutes, it’s crazy! It’s really making me think about the words I use. Thank you!

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