Stress; understanding yours

The first Wednesday in November is National Stress Awareness Day, a great reminder to think about what stress means to us and others.

Understanding your own stress

I wanted to share with you a short animation I found from Bill Cunningham which explains the “Stress Bucket” analogy – developed from an idea from Brabban and Turkington (2002).

It is an idea that can help you understand your own stress; what is it that is causing you stress? How many different stressers are you holding?

Often, the signs that you may be at capacity with how much stress you can hold seem like the problem. Perhaps you are feelings anxious, tearful, depressed, unmotivated? Could these symptoms be a result of too much stress? If so, they can be helpful signals from our body in reminding ourselves to make some changes in our life or take a break.

The Stress Bucket idea also gives you the opportunity to consider what helps relieve stress for you. How can your let out the stress and also grow your bucket? Do some of the things we use to relieve stress add back into the stress bucket in the long run?

The Stress Bucket Animation

I have created a tutorial and template to help you think about your own stress using the Stress Bucket idea.

How to create your own Stress Bucket

Download the Stress Bucket template to create your own.

Whose responsibility is it to respond to high levels of stress?

When I type “Stress Awareness Week” into the search engine, one of the first results leads me to themes of “Building Resilience” as a key to coping with stress. While increased resilience can help us to hold more stress (and increase the size of our bucket) and cope in stressful situations, this focus on its own leads me to raise the question – where does responsibility for our well-being fall?


How much can we do as individuals to reduce and manage our stress? How is the responsibility for our well-being shared across society? Do our workplaces also hold responsibility? Does our government and its funding of support and services? How about the media’s responsibility for the information and messages it provides?

Exploring themes of responsibility and choice is a very personal and individual journey. Attempting to pose a handful of questions that will be helpful to everyone is challenging – if you are interested in exploring this for yourself through counselling, get in touch to book a session.



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