Part of a good Stress Management plan simply involves identifying the areas of stress in an individual’s life. Taking an objective look at circumstances and situations that may seem unmanageable, can be a helpful first step in dealing with stress.

Once the areas that are causing the most stress have been identified, a plan to reduce the level of stress produced by each situation can begin to be formulated.

Often situations which create a large amount of stress can be eliminated completely. For those stressors which cannot be entirely eliminated, a plan to better manage the situation, so that the amount of stress produced is decreased significantly, is often helpful in relieving the overall amount of stress the person is feeling.

One of the most common sources of stress, for many people, is the habit that they have of not setting healthy limits on the amount of commitments they enter into.

Overextending oneself creates undue stress, and generally leads to exhaustion, burn out, and inevitably, “failure” to fulfill many of ones obligations. This “failure” is often perceived by the individual as a personal “failure”, creating feelings of guilt, shame and poor self-esteem; feelings which inevitably contribute to the amount of stress the person experiences.

An individual who has a tendency to over-commit may also be driven by a desire to “prove” themselves, or to “live up to” a certain standard which they have imposed upon themselves.

Having rigid ideas about “success” and “failure” and demanding too much of oneself, contributes to the overall stress in the person’s life. Many times an individual has such a deep fear of failure, or a desperate need to “live up” that they refuse to set limits on their time, until health problems or other life events force them to do so.

If an individual has a difficult time making necessary changes in their routine, or setting healthy limits for themselves, underlying causes of the behavior should be addressed. Consider what constitutes “success” and “failure.” How can ones point of view be altered, to allow some relief from the “rigid taskmaster” of self?

What limits can be set comfortably? What obligations and commitments can be let go of? Simple questions such as these can go a long way toward helping identify the sources of stress, and creating a plan to reduce the affects of stress that stress a person’s life.

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