Modern day is pretty stressful. Lets be honest… I know the older generation like to say we are all pansies and ‘Life was much harder in their day!’ but lets face it, every generation has its stresses. They may be different in how they manifest themselves but they definitely exist in all shapes and sizes. Stress also affects different people in different ways. In fact the same stress can affect the same person on two different days in completely different ways. Stress seems to be one of the major problems of our time or at least its being recognised as one. Mobile devices have left us on constant alert where the next dopamine hit just around the corner is actually reshaping our brains. Every technological advance makes our lives easier in some way and what do we do with this extra time we are suddenly granted?! Do more stuff!
So what can be done about this? Obviously there are many approaches and its certainly not the case of one size fits all. As we are all unique, different solutions will work for different people. What I am suggesting below is a very broad approach to first understanding what are the actual stresses in your life and when they may become too many. I think the first step in addressing any problem is recognising there is a problem in the first place. After that you can start getting your head around the specifics of the actual problem.
So lets talk about buckets!
What exactly do buckets have to do with stress? A bucket in this case is simply representing a unit of measurement. Why a bucket? Well why not… Buckets are useful in many situations, especially this one!
So how does one know how many buckets the stress in their life is equal to? Well, again this is broad and highly dependent on the individual. I will give some examples as that will probably be easier to explain the general concept.
Let’s take Steve for example. A 32 year old office worker from South-East London who has a daily commute of 45 minutes from his new home he has just acquired with his fiancé who has just given birth to their new baby boy — Noah (They are pretty hipster!). So if we were to analyse Steve and his current situation we could say he has around two buckets of stress currently in his life — a hefty mortgage which he just taken on and the introduction of a new life into their household. Again everyone would deal with this situation differently but for Steve these were two major changes in his life and so for him they currently constitute 2 buckets. Now lets say Steve is gunning for a promotion at work and he has been offered it but it would mean travelling to Paris for 3 days every two weeks. It was also be a high pressure job. Should he take it? Obviously more money would come with the territory but also more pressure and stress. Definitely one more bucket at least so this would push him up to 3 buckets. This is dangerous territory for anyone so Steve should consider this when making his decision. Maybe now is not the right time as the stress that comes with the position may push him and his health too close to the edge. Maybe not, but the point is by simplifying the things in his life into chunks (buckets) he can quickly realise that this isn’t a situation he should just rush headlong into but should take time to consider it.
So what is a safe limit for number of buckets?
Generally, its 3. On average if a person were to have more than 3 bit buckets of stress in their life then they would probably be spending much of their waking life in a stressful condition. This has all kinds of negative consequences regarding health, relationships, general wellbeing, depression… the list goes on and on. So its very important for you to be aware of where the stresses are coming from in your life and then being able to manage them accordingly. This could mean either removing them from your life completely or changing how you currently deal with them.
So why don’t you quickly put your life into buckets today! You can quickly see how many buckets of stress you are dealing with at the moment. You may (and probably will be) how many buckets of stress you are actually dealing with and hopefully this will enable you to take the first step to addressing it.
Good luck. And remember, relax, breath and let go…