Identifying And Managing Stressors- Setting Limits

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.