Are you Stressed?

Some of the subtle behavior patterns that cause stress.


Depression stands out as the most common mental illness among women. Mental stress on the other hand is a major determinant of depressive disorders. Dealing with your stress may mean averting depression. Most women unfortunately, may be unknowingly harbouring subtle yet harmful behaviors, that cause them mental stress which can end up being depression

What is stress?



Ideally stress will vary from person to person. Simply put stress is anything that pushes us away from equilibrium, equilibrium being comfort in any area be it physical, emotional, social, spiritual, or financial. Physical symptoms of stress may include, headaches, insomnia, general tiredness, indigestion, palpitations, chest pains or persistent diarrhoea. Emotional symptoms may include, general irritability, forgetfulness, withdrawal, unreliability, highly critical, procrastination, inability to finish tasks, reduction in willpower, impulsive behaviour, etc. Stress is our general response to anxiety, that gap between our important goals and reality. Today let’s explore behaviour patterns that may be bringing stress in your life.


1. Grief avoidance. We have been taught over time to invalidate or deny our feelings. Be strong!! - we are often advised; however, we need to be real about what is happening in our lives. Let’s allow time for grief processing or any other emotion for that matter. Having a trusted someone to be brutally real with helps.

2. Problem avoidance. Denying a problematic issue in your life and hoping it will take care of itself does NOT work. Like unpaid debts the interest will only compound the problem. Make an effort to confront those problematic areas and tick them off one by one. Employ simple problem-solving techniques such as, defining the problem, evaluate realistic relevant courses of action, choose the best action, implement the action. Again, you may need the help of a trusted other to assist you in achieving this. Sometimes just knowing there is nothing you can do about the problem is in itself a relief because it frees you from the next toxic behaviour.

3. Attempting to change the unchangeable. There is no use in taking responsibility for the things you have no control over. For example, you CAN’T change another human being, no one can. Stop trying to change the unchangeable, you are only frustrating yourself.

4. Lack of planning and priorities. The old adage, “failing to plan is planning to fail” is befitting. Bad organization, untidiness, doing zillion things at one go, inability to say no or leaving unfinished jobs are all tell-tale signs of an unplanned day. Some live a life where only the urgent things are done. That is dangerous because urgent does not necessarily mean important. Have an eye for timewasters and be able to employ time protection techniques. Desist from the “Messianic complex” where you want to rescue everyone and live by “oughts”, “shoulds” and “musts”


5. Perfectionism. We live in an imperfect world and no matter how perfect you are the moment you step out you cease to be perfect, because you will never be able to please everyone. Let go of that ideal perfect scenario and relax a bit.

The list above is definitely not exhaustive. What other behaviors cause stress? Let’s critically look at those and find ways to stay healthy mentally. If you feel overwhelmed do not hesitate to get in touch with us so that we get you the help you need. Click our contact icon on top of the page.



Fatima Mapuke

Fatima is a Community Psychologist and Consultant at Psycmates

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