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Step 2 - Identifying Stress and Anxiety

Written by Dragana Ivanovska


Posted on March 20 2019

What we often forget in our busy lifestyles is that when we are old, we won’t have regrets about doing that one more task at work. We won’t care about all that causes us hardships now. We will care about the moments we missed while we worried. We will care about not using the time that was given to us more wisely.

But, most of all we will be disappointed for spending even a moment on autopilot, without truly living. The present moment is all that we have. And we should be creating our own damn magic in it, not worry about our endless lists with tasks or what might or might not happen tomorrow. Which is why this month we are helping you win the battle with stress and anxiety. Are you with us? Awesome! Let’s start:

What is stress?

In life, we are all no strangers to stress. But, not many of us understand what stress is and how it affects us. We all remember that feeling of stress when the hammer is going down on us, but in reality, stress isn’t necessarily bad. Our bodies are adapting constantly through our lives so we can grow, and adapt to any situation or occurrence.

We are constantly changing through life because even if we want to, we can’t stay the same. For example: when you have a cold, if your body doesn’t react and adapt itself to battle the cold, you won’t get better. And it’s similar in life, if you don’t adapt to the changes in life, you won’t grow and you won’t become better. So, what exactly is stress? Well, stress is the process of adapting yourself to the new situation. Whether it is emotional or physical, while you adapt to the new condition or situation, you are under stress. So, stress isn’t that bad, right?

Stress helps us get through the change. However, too much stress – that is the issue we all face. You see, stress is only beneficial when it’s temporary. Constantly stressing out about every little thing in life is a major sign that you are not growing at all but rather destroying yourself, your very essence, your magic. And that is no way to live!

What can cause stress?

Stress can be physical or emotional. And both of them can be good or bad. But, chances are if you are living the modern way of life, and constantly rushing to get the impossible done, you are under a lot of unnecessary stress that is eating away every part of yourself. Here are some common causes of stress:

  • Major life changes - Starting fresh at a new job or moving to another town is a good thing, yet it can still be a cause of stress.

  • Environment – We can’t help it, as humans we are social beings and we are greatly affected by our environment and the vibes we are around.

  • Social life – Sometimes, even meeting new people can be a little stressful, especially for introverts.

  • Workplace – We know, there is always something to stress about at work - too much work, too many tasks, too many emails, and urgent deadlines are the motherload of stress triggers.

  • Making decisions – Sometimes making the right call is a too big pressure, and it piles on the stress.

What is anxiety?

There is an old saying that goes like this – “If you are worried about the past, then you are dealing with depression, but if you are worried about the future, then you are dealing with anxiety”. Truer words have never been spoken.

If you find yourself constantly worrying about how many tasks you have tomorrow, how much work you will have to do, the people that you are going to meet, the people you might meet, the things that will never be, but somehow they stumbled into your mind as a possible version of your future – and all of these worries keep you awake at night – then anxiety is eating away at you.

What can cause anxiety?

Anxiety, unlike stress, most battles on the emotional realm rather than the physical. By constantly overthinking, you are taking away every possible moment that your mind has for rest, and by doing so, you are only giving more power to anxiety. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Here are a few common causes of anxiety:

  • Unceirtanity – Not being in control, not knowing what will happen is usually one of the identifying causes of anxiety. If you are constantly thinking and re-thinking what will happen tomorrow, and all the possible scenarios – you are dealing with anxiety.

  • Overthinking – Speaking of thinking and re-thinking, overthinking usually always leads to anxiety one way or another.

  • Fears – Constantly being afraid and stressed out about what can happen, how it will happen and imagining all the worst possible and impossible scenarios is a major sign of anxiety.

So, we know what you are thinking – “ I get it, stress and anxiety are bad for me and I have to get rid of them, but how do I do that?” Don’t worry, we didn’t drag you down the rabbit hole to leave you without a solution! We have a very interesting exercise, that can help you identify stress and anxiety triggers so you can more easily battle with them.

Exercise: Identifying Stress & Anxiety Triggers

  • Get four sheets of paper and a pen. Yes, we know it’s a bit much, but you will need the extra space. Okay, now start thinking about what you usually stress about most and write it down. Now, take another piece of paper and write down what causes you to be anxious. If it doesn’t all come to you at once, don’t worry. You can take a few days and make notes in your notebook or smartphone whenever you feel stressed out and anxious. Once you get your lists done, it is time to organize, analyze and kick the ass out of anxiety and stress.

  • First, take a blank sheet of paper, and split it into three columns named: Eliminate, Reduce and Cope.

  • Now take a good look at the list of your anxiety/stress causes. Think about which of your anxiety/stress causes can be eliminated completely, which of them can you reduce the anxiety/stress to the bare minimum and which of them will you have to adapt your mindset to learn and cope with them?

  • Start listing every cause into an appropriate column. Put possible solutions in brackets for every anxiety/stress cause. Take your time, and make sure you finish with all of your anxiety/stress causes.

  • Now, its time to color code – take three different colors of markers, crayons or anything that comes to hand. Assign the colors, for example, Major anxiety/stress cause – red; average anxiety/stress cause – yellow; minor anxiety/stress cause – green.

  • Then go through your list and start coloring every anxiety/stress cause regardless of which column it is.

  • Once you are done, you can see clearly how you can improve your life, and how to prioritize them. For example, if you have major stress causes in your eliminate column – those are the highest priority ones. Why should you be under stress/anxiety over something that you can easily eliminate from your life?

If you are wondering what some possible solutions to your stress/anxiety causes can be, here

are a few simple but effective solutions:

Making Lists

Every night, before you go to bed make a list of all the assignments and tasks that you should do the next day. That way you won’t have to stay up wide awake trying mental notes to not forget things. You can even take it one step further and keep a to do and to buy list by your side at all times (we keep them on our phones, in Keep ;)) and whenever you think of something, write it down at once. We know, you might be thinking that keeping lists is for the older folks, but I am 24 and I find lists VERY useful. Don’t underestimate the power of a simple list.


If you are a perfectionist that wants to do things their way, then we have to break it to you – in life, everything isn’t about making it perfect. Sometimes, your health is more important. Who cares if your home is a little messy from time to time if it lessens stress and anxiety? Your health above all else! So, learn to compromise and give yourself some breathing space.

Set Aside “Me Time”

If you have completely forgotten about yourself, and you are running around like crazy trying to please everyone else – it’s time to put your foot down and stop that nonsense. Whatever gave you the idea that everyone else is more important than you in YOUR life? Check out here how to make the best of your Me Time!

Accept Change Wholeheartedly

We know, we all want to stay in our little comfort zones, but if you look at it that way, progress would never happen. We’d all just stay Neanderthals and we wouldn’t be over here, at this moment in time, having struggles. So, learn to change and go with the flow, learn to reorganize your life if things aren’t going the right way for you. Learn that change is the only constant in our lives, and accept it wholeheartedly.

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