Every single person on the planet has felt stressed at one point in their lives. It is an incredibly common and a natural response, but it can be difficult to describe exactly what it is.

We commonly say things like “this is stressful” or “I’m stressed” but this feeling can be very different from person to person. In fact, there is no actual agreed medical definition of what stress is. This doesn’t make the condition insignificant though.

The Stress Bucket

One model of stress is the stress bucket.

Imagine there’s a bucket you carry around with you all day, every day. It slowly fills up when you experience different types of stress. These stresses could be short or long term, at home or at work.

The sources of stress will differ from person to person, as will their impact. What is stressful for one person in terms of finance may not affect another person as much, so it is important to note what is personally stressful for you.

How much people can carry is different too and it can change at different periods of your life. Sometimes, you feel strong enough to carry the bucket of stress, but at times it becomes too heavy and the more often you carry a heavy bucket the more tired you get.

The other part of the model is the outlets. Sometimes, we can’t do anything about the stressful situations coming in, but we can add things into our life to siphon off some of that stress. Again, these will be different for different people. Some may find creative activities like painting and drawing relaxing, others may prefer exercise. The key is to find what works for you and not be afraid to try out new things.

What do you think of this model of stress? Are there any outlet activities you can add to your life to help you deal with what is coming in at the top?