Coping with stress - stress container insight cover image
The below insight has been written by Ross Miller, Workplace Wellbeing Lead at Cantium Business Solutions: 

Modern life provides us all with some amazing benefits, greater connectivity, technology, medical advancements and an increasing importance and awareness placed on our mental health and wellbeing. This can only be a good thing, yes?

Well, it has also created some of the biggest causes of stress ever, like social media pressure, increased terrorist activity, political and financial uncertainty and the global Covid-19 pandemic. Stress can have a huge impact on our mental and physical wellbeing, it is understood that 16% of stress suffers self-harm and nearly a third experience suicidal thoughts and feelings. So now more than ever, it is vital that we understand and develop ways of coping with stress in a positive way.

But how do I know what’s causing my stress?

What if we can’t control the causes?

Where do I start?

Understanding and dealing with the causes of stress can seem overwhelming and even be a contributor to the stress itself! By using a ‘stress container’ technique, we can start to sort through our thoughts, concerns and worries and begin taking positive steps to deal with them.

Coping with stress Stress container image

 

The ‘stress container’ exercise helps us to order our thoughts by firstly understanding the causes of our stress. These go into the container for us to decide which ones we can do something about and which ones are outside of our control.

The feeling of being in control naturally gives us an increased sense of wellbeing, and understanding what we are unable to control helps us not to expend wasted energy on something uncontrollable.

Everyone’s thresholds for dealing with stress are different, meaning everyone’s ‘stress containers’ are different sizes and can change size dependant on a range of factors from throughout their life. So, understanding how quickly we fill our containers gives us a great indicator of how vulnerable we are to stress.

The tap on our ‘stress container’ is opened through our helpful coping mechanisms. These can be what helps us relax, unwind and feel positive and often includes exercise, talking to someone or spending some time doing a hobby or interest. These are ideal ways of reducing stress, opening the tap on our ‘Stress Container’ and releasing some of the pressure.

 

Lastly, its vital we recognise the unhelpful coping mechanisms we can sometime build up to help us deal with stress and understand that these can often be their own contributors to stress, both now and in the future. So, avoid creating unhelpful methods like bottling up your feelings, overworking and creating a reliance on alcohol, drugs or caffeine, as you will only end up masking one problem with another.

It’s vital to make the time for the things we enjoy, especially at a time like this when it feels like our stress is being caused by so many factors out of our control. Help release the ‘stress container’ tap with positive, proactive coping methods and don’t block it with a reliance on unhelpful habits so your container overflows!

The ‘stress container’ can be created yourself and is a great way to channel your thoughts to help understand what is causing stress and how to positively deal with it.

Interested in learning more about stress awareness? Take a look at another insight by our Workplace Wellbeing Lead on spotting the red flags and the tell-tell signs of stress, for both yourself and those around you. Read more here.