Have you ever noticed that on one day you can complete certain tasks absolutely fine. On another days, the very same tasks make you want to shout, scream and maybe even throw something?  Well, let me help you understand why and maybe stop this from happening.  

The Stress Container

At different times we experience varying levels of vulnerability or tolerance when it come to our stress levels.  

Our vulnerability is dependent on our experiences, environment and genetics.  When I run Mental Health First Aid training courses, I use the stress container model which visually describes what is going on.  

The size of your stress container or ‘bucket’ is dependent on your vulnerability, so what could fit into it one day may cause it to overflow on another day.  

The important thing to notice is how you are feeling when your stress container is starting to get full, to identify what your stress signature looks like.  

This is as unique to you as your written signature and it is the emotional or behavioural changes you display or feel.  When you can recognise these early enough you can start to put measures in place to prevent the overflow which is called ‘emotional snapping’ i.e the shouting, screaming and throwing objects referenced above. 

Be aware and understand your coping strategies.

Coping strategies are things that you are conscious of regularly doing that enables your stress container to remain low. 

For example, Imagine a tap at the bottom of the bucket that you can open.  These coping strategies could be anything from going for a run, meeting a friend for a cuppa or being by yourself meditating.  

Ensuring you are taking time for yourself to work on your own wellbeing is crucial as prolonged periods of ‘overflowing’ stress can lead to the development of mental ill health.  

Are you conscious of what is filling your stress container?  Or what your helpful coping strategies are?  Why not discuss this with your partner, friend or colleague, they may be able to help you recognise your ‘tells’.

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