3 Steps To Identify the Cause of Your Stress

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It can be frustrating to Google ways to manage stress as you’re usually met with regurgitated, obvious and unrealistic hits. Ironically, playing the culprit in bringing on even more stress!

Meditating, deep breathing, painting, oh my!

Identify Cause Stress Step for more Peaceful Life

But look, if you’re reading this, chances are you’re feeling overwhelmed and like you’re barely keeping your head above water. Trust me, I get it. We all do.

Stress is, at the end of the day, a normal part of life.

That said, when it becomes overwhelming, it can feel like you’re stuck in quicksand and no matter how hard you try, you just can’t get free. 

The following 3 steps will help you identify and prioritize the things that are causing you the most stress — so you can eventually start finding relief.

Step 1: Write down everything that is causing you stress.

I know, I know. You’re thinking,

“Great, just what I needed, another to-do on my already mile-long list.”

But trust me, this step is worth it. When we’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s easy to let all of the things that are causing us anxiety bounce around in our head without really taking the time to identify them. 

Grab a pen and paper and do a brain dump of all the things that bring you stress. 

Identify Cause Stress Step for more Peaceful Life

And don’t skip over anything, even if you feel like you’re judging yourself. When you see it all written down, it won’t feel like everything weighs the same. Plus, seeing it all in black and white might just give you a good laugh (because seriously, some of the stuff we stress about is ridiculous).

Step 2: Rank each item on a scale of 1 to 10.

Now that you have everything written down, it’s time to rank each item on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most stressful and 1 being something that is annoying but not that bigga deal. 

Put an asterisk next to items that are a 5 or higher, and two asterisks next to items that are an 8 or higher. 

This will help you identify the things that are causing you the most stress. And let’s be real, if something is only a 3, it’s probably not worth stressing about (unless it’s that thing your partner does that just gets under your skin, in which case, go ahead and give it a 10).

Step 3: Make a separate column for items that are an 8 or higher (or a 5 or higher if you don’t have any 8s).

Now that you’ve identified the things that are causing you the most stress, it’s time to focus on them. See, by identifying and addressing the root causes of these particularly high stressors, we find healthier ways to make them more manageable. And eventually, rid of them altogether (or, at the very least, majorly lower their score).

One last thought…

Picture it: If you had a magic wand and could magically resolve the highest-ranked items on your list, how would the other items feel? Chances are, their stress level would — surprisingly — go up.

Identify Stress Level


Well, I have found (and I’m guessing you have, too) that life would almost be boring without SOME stress. So, it’s as if I have this steady stress-state-need to operate at normal. 

Like, we all do best with a certain degree of pressure, you know? 

Hence, it’s important to remember that while we do need some tension in our lives to motivate us and help us perform at our best, we don’t want it to be…

  • chronic
  • abundant
  • distracting 

… as that can certainly have negative impacts on our physical and mental health. 

For much more related to this topic, including:

  • How to change your perspective (and why it’s so important)
  • The power of letting go of the exact outcome
  • What is a stress diary

Then, you must check out this episode of The Chalene Show:

And don’t forget to subscribe to TCS for weekly shows dedicated to your happiness, productivity and getting your overall life right!


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