Three Questions to Ask Yourself When You’re Stressed Out

Stress is everywhere. What do I eat for dinner? Did I finish everything at work? Will I make my best friend’s birthday party? Did I make a good first impression? Have I allotted enough money for my rainy-day fund? The list goes on forever.

But how much of this stress do we put on ourselves? And how much of it is imposed upon us?

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I’m honestly one of those people that gets the lines blurred here…heck, I probably don’t always get it right. But what I can say from my experience, is that you need to slow down. I know, shocking. Slow down and ask yourself these three questions:

1) Where is the source of the stress? 

Is it from a person (and their circumstances)? If so, then figure out what you can do to reduce the amount of pressure. Maybe it’s from your best friend, and they’re worried about a job interview. Maybe it’s from a family member who received difficult news about their health. Maybe it’s from your team member at work, and it’s a project they're working on. Whatever it is, know the value of holding onto those emotions and evaluate its impact on your life. If you can shake it off, then find a way to do it. If you can’t, then find a way through it. Either way, you’re working it out, and you should feel good about doing something to change your circumstances. 

2) Is it a natural series of events?

Not to play the blame game, but ask yourself, what role did you play to get here? Did you forget to pay a bill on time? Did you assume your rash decision was OK? Did you lose focus? First, remember that you’re human, and we all make mistakes. Second, learn from your mistakes and don’t wallow in self-pity. The only mistakes you make are the ones you don’t learn from (still don’t know who said this, but they were right!). Every day is an opportunity, and there are countless decisions for you to make – wake up tomorrow with a little more knowledge to lean on.

3) When was the last time you had a break?

Self-care. There, I said it. For some reason, it’s a taboo thing to talk about but I’m here to tell you it may be the most important thing you do. When was the last time you had a break from work, your job, family or friends? It’s all overwhelming, and sometimes coming at you faster than you can keep up. But a break might be the one thing you need, whether it’s five minutes to gather your thoughts or a personal day. Take the break and don’t feel guilty. 

After you’ve gone through these questions, you’ll realize either how important the situation was to you or how absurd it was that it took over your thoughts. Taking a step back has helped me in more ways than one. Is something actually urgent? Or are you dying to get it off your mind? Start asking more of the right questions, and you’ll be more in control of your thoughts and feelings.