#7 The Stress Bucket

Many things in life add to what some call “The Stress Bucket”. This is not a new concept and people have different opinions of what the stress bucket looks like. Here is mine.

Imagine that your ability to manage and handle stress is a bucket. Buckets are used to hold things like water. Now, if you continue to add water to the bucket, it will overflow. In this metaphor, water is stress. Overflowing of water is when we become stressed out and start to breakdown. There are a couple of things that we can do to prevent the overflow of our bucket. The first, is manage how much water gets put in the bucket. The second is, put in some valves in the bucket so we can let water out. Third, increase the size of our bucket.

Option 1: Decrease the amount of water coming into the bucket. In one of the last posts, I asked you to write down all the things that can stress you out. Minimizing exposure to those things can help decrease the amount of water coming into your bucket. Maybe on your list you wrote down: “Negative people at work”. I avoid these people like the plague at work and in life. If you are around people that are constantly looking at the worst possible situations or the downside to everything, they can cause your stress levels and anxieties to rise. They can really be depressing. By avoiding them, you are less likely to get caught up in their drama and bring you down.

One thing I try to avoid because it causes me stress is the news. It seems EVERYTHING on the news is negative and usually makes me sad or angry (more water in the bucket). Simple solution, I rarely watch the news. “But what if I miss something important?” If there is something that needs my attention that is reported on the news, someone will tell me. I think this option is the easiest to implement. Find something on your list that will be easy to eliminate. Is there an intersection that always has traffic? Find an alternative route, even if it adds a few minutes to your commute. Twitter makes you angry because of all the politics? Delete it from your phone. Go for the low hanging fruit here.

The next 2 options require a little more time to implement.

Option 2: Water valves on your bucket. The upcoming posts will be heavily involved in adding water valves to the bucket to effectively “let stress out”. The 5 areas of: Mindset, Nutrition, Recovery, Movement and Environment give us many different options that we can use to help lower the water level. These things include: Mindfulness and meditation, eating better, sleep hygiene, exercising, and planning fun. I will get into more detail this week.

Garden bucket on isolated white background

Option 3: Building a bigger bucket allows us to become Anti-Fragile. If you have a bigger bucket, you can fill it with more water before it overflows (stressed out). There are probably people in your life that get stressed out over the smallest detail (small bucket). Sometimes, these people get told that they are “over-reacting”. I use to think that, but I now know better. Then there are people that don’t get phased by stress, even when it looks like they are taking on the world (large bucket). Becoming “Anti-Fragile” is building a bigger bucket. Building a bigger bucket requires a lot more work, habit forming, and training. Option 2 are things that we can do to manage our stress (water level) on a daily basis. Once those things start to become habits (for example-getting more sleep) they increase the size of our bucket. Therefore, making us more resilient to stress and becoming more “Anti-Fragile”.

If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments section. If you are enjoying what you are learning, please hit “like” at the bottom, join the email, and share it on social media.

Have a great Sunday!

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