Stress is something that happens to you. Have you ever considered that it is also something that you could be creating for yourself?

Yes, life hands us some difficult challenges for sure. But it’s not just what happens. The choices we make, how we interpret, behave or respond to what’s going on for us can also play a part in our level of distress. That’s the good news. If we created it we can take it apart. The bad news? If unaware, we undermine our health and happiness without even knowing what happened.

Read on for a list of some pretty typical ways of being that can cause greater problems and feelings of distress. Learn the potential unmet need at the source of the behavior, the resulting feelings, and a mantra to support being without this added stress.

  1. The People Pleaser needs acknowledgement, to be accepted and/or to have harmony. The People Pleaser will jump through hoops to get positive reinforcement. Constantly looking after everyone else’s needs might leave you feeling depleted and resentful. It is entirely possible you can never do enough. Your mantra could be, “What do I want?”
  2. The Control Junkie needs order and predictability, or to be top dog. Having to manage yourself, as well as everyone and everything around you is exhausting and probably causes you to feel a little tense. You’re in control of giving up control. Try making more things less important. Your mantra could be, “Let it go.”
  3. The Super Sensitive needs to feel accepted and loved. Look around and notice that it’s not about you. We all have our own stuff. When you take everything personally you’re always feeling hurt. When you care less about what people think of you, you will be free. Your mantra could be, “What could be going on with him/her?”
  4. The Worrier needs to feel safe, to know the future. The Worrier thinks, “I feel like I’m doing something if I’m worrying,” or “It shows how much I care if I’m really worried.” In truth it shows how much you worry, which helps you to feel anxious and be potentially ineffective. Try trusting. Your mantra could be, “I’m present to the moment I’m in – right here and now.”
  5. The Perfectionist needs to be accepted by performing better than others. Closely related to the control junkie, the perfectionist sets unattainable standards for self and others. The job is never done or good enough. Shift to self-acceptance – no matter what! Your mantra could be, “I’m okay as I am.”
  6. The Victim needs to be recognized or understood, often thinking ‘poor me.’ As the Victim you have a passive approach to life because you don’t believe you can impact change. You see all the bad things that happen to you because that’s the score you keep. Start to notice the good things. They’re there too. Your mantra could be, “I am the captain of my ship.
  7. The Procrastinator needs to stay in the comfort zone. It’s about avoiding some sort of pain, so the procrastinator puts off until tomorrow what could be done today. Repeated procrastination can add up to feeling overwhelmed or stuck. Your mantra could be, “It doesn’t matter where or how I start. I’m starting right now.”
  8. The Door Mat needs to avoid conflict, to be accepted. Going along with everyone and everything, whether you really want to or not, leaves you open to being stepped on and feeling cheated or angry. The Door Mat has weak or nonexistent boundaries. Your mantra could be, “I tell the truth about what I want or don’t want.”

Do you see yourself in any of these descriptions? Are you contributing to your undoing? No worries. We all are. That’s what it’s like to be human.

To mitigate the effects of your stress start by noticing what you’re feeling at any given moment, then you can begin to make it different. Is this something you can do something about? Is there something you need to say, or take back? What action will bring you back, or closer to peace?

Maybe it’s something outside of you that you have no control whatsoever, like organizational change, or the weather. Accepting what you cannot change is liberating, but it’s not always easy. A shift in perspective or attitude might be all you can do. And that can be a lot.

Whether your stress is in your control or not, identifying something of greater importance to you, i.e. personal core values, can lead you out of it. You can also look to your personal strengths, resources and support to guide you. In other words, what have you got working for you? There’s always something. Dig deep if you need to.


By : Claudette Pelletier-Hannah