In the last email, we looked at how to set your own goals in life so you do not feel as if things are out of control and that everyone is driving your life except you. Your boss can’t have that kind of stressful power over you if you know you are doing your best and actively adding to your skills all the time.

Your mother can’t pull your strings like a puppet if you cut them and set goals and rewards that will help you grow into the person you wish to be. No one is perfect, so this is one stressor (both external and internal) that you can leave behind with the help of your journal and your goal setting.

Bad Stress Getting the Better of You

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Unfortunately, sometimes people get stuck in a stress rut. It’s easy to do. At work, you may become the "go-to person" that everyone relies on to sort out problems and even do their work for them because you place such a priority on meeting deadlines and getting the work done. (They should too, but don’t.)

In your personal life, you might be the "doormat" that everyone expects help from, but when you need assistance, they are always too busy, or nowhere to be found.

Sometimes, you put the stress on yourself. Your child wants to go on an expensive school trip but you really can’t afford it. Rather than admit this and work out a way for them to help earn the money, you pay for it, then spend weeks struggling with money-related stress.

How Can You Tell If the Stress Is Bad?

Positive stress helps you feel empowered. Negative stress usually makes you feel powerless. It is like living in a pressure cooker all the time. You might become irritable, angry and even hostile towards others. Or you might worry all the time and become anxious, depressed and withdrawn, not wanting to talk about things.

If you notice more aches, pains, stomach upset, a sore neck, back or jaw, and/or more headaches/migraines, these are also common signs of a person suffering from chronic stress.

High blood pressure, heart palpitations, erratic sleep patterns and bad eating habits and poor self-care in terms of exercise and taking time off are also common signs of chronic stress.

If you see that bad stress is getting the better of you, it’s time to journal about it, then take action. In the next article, we will discuss some of the best stress-busting exercises.

Until next time …