You’ve heard it all before: “It’s just one of those days,” “I hit traffic,” “My dog ate my homework.” We find excuses for the consequences of our actions and try to blame them on some external force out of our control. We often use stress itself as an excuse: “Sorry, I’ve been under a lot of stress lately.” I’m going to tell you something you probably don’t want to hear… it’s probably YOUR fault you’re stressed. It’s not traffic, and it’s not your poor dog. There are many cases in which stress is self-induced, and here are some examples:
Poor time estimation
One of the most frequent causes of stress is time constraint. Deadlines, appointments, and other obligations put pressure on us to be somewhere or have something accomplished by a certain time. If you don’t manage your time effectively, you create more stress for yourself than if you had planned properly.
We’re all guilty of putting things off to the last minute sometimes. If you procrastinate, however, you are just asking for stress. No one else is to blame for waiting until the last minute but yourself.
Should have said “No”
Are you a “yes” person? Do you take on too many things and wind up spread too thin? It is ok to say “no” sometimes, especially when you already have a full plate.
This one is the trickiest source of stress to identify because it usually takes someone on the outside looking in to say, “hey, it’s really not as bad as you are making it.” When you lose perspective of how things really are, you lose sight of the big picture. When you place too much importance on things that are actually insignificant in the long term, you cause yourself undue stress. Ask yourself, “Is this really something worth the energy, time, and mental capacity I’m giving it?”
The good news is, these self-induced stressors are actually the only ones you have control over. There are circumstances that cause stress which are out of your hands, but the ones you impose on yourself can be prevented if you recognize you are doing them and assume full accountability. You must admit that the stress is your fault before you can take action to fix it.