Identifying and Overcoming the 4 Main Causes of Stress
By Katy Kvalvik – Founder and Head of Southwestern Empowerment
Stress is a big deal. It has been linked to the majority of disease states and many overall health issues. That is why getting in front of stress, working with it, and building up resilience to it is so important.
What are some root causes of stress? Let’s slow down and go over four main causes so we can overcome them!
#1. No plan and no strategy.
You need to have a plan, plain and simple. This pertains to any area of your life, whether that’s for your health and wellness, your career and business, or even your relationships. If you don’t have a plan and a step-by-step strategy in place to reach your goals, you are doomed to get caught in the stress trap.
What is the first step in creating a plan for these different areas of your life? When it comes to goal setting, getting specific is key. Often, we know what we want to accomplish, but our plan to actually reach our goal isn’t specific enough. Make sure you equip yourself with tools, like the ones we focus on at the Elevate Your Life event, that will help guide you through proper goal-setting techniques. Once you break your plans down into more manageable steps, you are more likely to get the results you’re looking for and avoid stress along the way.
#2. No routine or habits in place.
Creating a new habit or routine is no small feat, especially if you are already dealing with stress in your life. Maslow’s Four Stages of Learning is a great framework to understand and discuss habit formation. In this model, Stage Three is Conscious Competence. This is when we can complete a task or activity with relative ease but still need to follow step-by-step actions consciously and put some effort into it. For example, you may be cooking a dish you’ve made several times but still find yourself checking the recipe once or twice to make sure your measurements are correct versus knowing it by heart.
The ultimate goal with any routine or habit is to make it to Stage Four: Unconscious Competence. At this stage, we do something automatically without having to put much conscious thought or effort behind it. When something becomes a habit or part of our daily/weekly routine, it becomes easier and ultimately less stressful.
Anytime you’re implementing a strategy or new action plan, it’s always best to start small and build. Often, our ambition gets the best of us and we want to make big changes quickly, but that’s when burnout can rear up and knock us back to where we started. Take small steps towards your goals in order to gain confidence, and then keep moving forward at a steady pace. This is the best way to gain momentum and create consistency.
#3. No movement.
Movement, exercise, doing activities we enjoy, or even just walking or stretching gives us energy. Increasing your energy level will reduce your stress to help you sleep better at night.
Once again, you don’t have to step outside and run a marathon tomorrow. Simply start small and build from that. Feel yourself tensing up after a long conference call? Get up from your desk and take a walk around the office, or better yet, take a walk outside. Having a hard time focusing on the task in front of you? Stand up and do a few quick stretches.
Building some type of exercise or movement into your daily routine (refer back to #2) is also a great way to regularly relieve stress!
#4. Having an inflammatory diet.
Improving your diet can help you heal your body, improve your mental focus, have all-day energy, sleep better, and, of course, reduce stress.
If you already live a relatively healthy lifestyle, the high-level protocol is simple—hydrate with water, eat whole, organic foods whenever possible, avoid all refined foods, and try to only purchase and consume products that are made with five ingredients or less. If you are currently in a disease state or have any health issues, these protocols can and should be adjusted to fit your specific needs.
Ultimately, moderation and finding a middle path that is sustainable and works for you is the key to living a happy, stress-free, and healthy life!
Join the next Elevate Your Life event in Nashville, TN on October 17th