Eliminating a stressor often involves major life changes such as moving, leaving a relationship, going back to school, changing jobs, or taking a demotion. Many people do decide to take such action, because eliminating the stressor is the most direct way of dealing with the pressure of stress overload. Let’s evaluate whether or not there are stressors in your life that you could actually eliminate. You can try listing your stressors from three areas of your life (personal, environmental, and job/career). Using the data from the exercise and any additional ideas that occur to you, create a list of your top ten sources of negative stress.
If you are not able to fill in all ten lines, it’s not a problem. You probably have either less overall stress or you may have isolated the few critical sources that truly cause unpleasant situations in your life. Whatever number you have, if it feels complete to you, it’s right.
Further analyze your list by asking yourself which of these situations you are able and willing to completely eliminate from your life. Circle those items. You may have several items, you may have one item, you may have zero items that you are willing to eliminate.
As we begin to formulate a plan for making a major change, however, it’s important to step back and once more consider the big picture. Unless you have just recovered from a life-threatening health crisis and your doctor has told you to make drastic changes to your lifestyle immediately, don’t rush into it.
One more consideration of note: We are all different. The number of assignments or tasks or obligations with which you are comfortable may vary considerably from that of your colleagues or your boss or your friends. This isn’t about their comfort level, it’s about yours. Don’t judge yourself by anyone else’s standards or capabilities. It’s also unfair to judge them by yours.