Stress causes can be different for you now compared to what they were before. Stop and think about it. What worries you today? Is it the same thing that kept you up at night 5 years ago? How about 10 years ago? As we move through the many phases or chapters of our lives, the complexity of the problems and the nature of our life challenges change significantly.
Each chapter of your life builds on the last. As you go experience life, you find yourself confronted with fears of the unknown and worries about the “what ifs.” During your lifetime you may experience financial pressures, death of loved ones, moving to a new city, getting married, raising children and facing health challenges. This journey is punctuated with significant changes which usually define a new chapter in your life. With each new chapter, there are new types of stress and new concerns.
No matter how dramatically life changes over your years on this earth, knowing your core beliefs and mission will help you handle the many different stressors that develop. Knowing who you are at the core means understanding your strengths, your abilities and the knowledge you possess. As you age, you accumulate more knowledge and abilities through the many experiences you have.
The path you forge in life is based not only on your geographic location, or your socio-economic station in life, but also on your success at identifying the stress causes you face and designing a strategy to manage them. Are you able to stop stressing over financial concerns and find a solution? Are you able to let the children take a few tumbles as they learn about life? Do you find yourself obsessing over other people’s opinions of you?
Ask yourself to define what is causing you to become stressed over these issues—and then ask yourself if it is worth it. Your core values are your rudder in life. Being out of alignment with them is often a major source of your stress.
Chapters of life are segments of time that have specific characteristics about the place where you live, the work that you perform and the people with whom you interact. Therefore, the setting, the plot and the characters surrounding you may change but through it all, you need to maintain your own identity. Identifying your stress causes becomes clearer if you have a focus. Know what stressors are worth your time and attention. Most are not. Most stress creates distractions in your life and act as a barrier keeping you from achieving that which you are truly capable.
The beauty of moving through chapters of your life is that you are creating a history in which you can look back and consider all you have learned over time. Learn how you have successfully identified your stress causes and handled adversity. But remember to look backwards only for a time, and then remember to turn your focus to the future. Continue to move forward so that you can use your past experiences to influence and inform your future decisions. You’ll handle life and stress better.