Proactive, not Reactive: How to Reduce Stress Before it Starts

Stress takes a major toll on our health in a lot of ways. It can be a root cause to several types of mental health issues as well as physical ailments like high blood pressure. Instead of trying to repair the damage that stress can do when left unchecked, we can work on reducing stress before we even experience it! To be proactive about reducing stress, we have to address the root causes of it, first. Whether it’s our job, family, or other obligations that demand our time and energy, it’s important that we take steps that help minimize the effect that stress can have on our lives, before it becomes too overwhelming. 

Learn to Recognize Stressors

While we often live our lives under one type of stress or another, there are times when our obligations seem to feel like too much. Think back to a time when you felt this way. What was it about the situation that made it overwhelming? Were you anxious about chores that needed to be done, or the health of a family member? Was a project at work getting difficult? 

When you have a situation like this in mind, write about it in a journal. Write out the events in detail, then review it while asking yourself, “Why did this situation make me feel overwhelmed?” Exploring this question when obligations feel overwhelming will help you understand how different elements of your life affect your stress level. For example, if a project at work feels difficult, maybe it’s because you prefer more structured timelines or clearer guidelines. Or, at home, you could feel like you’re not getting enough help from the rest of the family. 

Use this method to think about stressful situations in your own life. Once you understand why certain things trigger a stress response, you can be more proactive about coping with that feeling. In the instance of the project at work that is stressing you out, you may actually be feeling insecure about your job performance. Instead of worrying about everything going wrong, you can reassure yourself that you are perfectly suited for the job and capable of executing everything you set out to do.

Be Proactive About Your Mental Health

It takes a lot of work to discover the root causes of our stress. Our inner anxieties often get buried under the day-to-day grind of work, family and just life in general, and may go unaddressed for most of our lives. When we take the time and energy to explore and dispel these anxieties, it releases us from the stress that could be caused by everyday responsibilities. 

This type of mental work is best done with the guidance of a mental health therapist. These professionals can help you find ways to cope with anxieties, insecurities, and increase your self-esteem and confidence. Not sure where to start? We have a resource for you. 

Nutrien employees and their families have access to free counseling services such as these  through the Employee Family Assistance Program, or EFAP for short. The EFAP program serves the Nutrien network as a resource for mental health concerns, financial worries, and any type of stress or hardship you or a family member might be facing. If you are feeling overwhelmed with stress in your life and would like the confidential help provided by a therapist, you can learn more here: Free Counseling, Financial Guidance, and More for Nutrien Employees