Conflict Resolution

5 Ways We Create Stress and Self-Sabotage

Janie Behr asked:

Overreacting to stressful situations is a form of “self-sabotage” that causes emotional stress.

Everyone experiences stress; sometimes the way we react to stress amounts to self-sabotage! We’ve all found ourselves impatient with people or taking our frustrations out on others, or causing unnecessary conflicts because stress is clouding our judgment. And while some people find themselves creating this type of drama in their lives occasionally, others make this self-sabotage a way of life, continually creating additional emotional stress for themselves without being aware of their own role in this!

The following are some of the most common ways that people create stress in their own lives. Carefully think about whether any of these self-sabotage techniques apply to you, so you can make simple changes to reduce significant stress from your life.

Being “Type A”:

People who move through the world in a “Type A” pattern of behavior rush frantically and treat others with hostility. If you react to life in a “Type A” manner, you’re probably bringing unnecessary emotional stress to relationships with aggressiveness. You may be missing simple solutions to problems because you’re rushing so much that you don’t pay attention to details; doing so, you also create bigger problems.

Negative Self Talk:

Sometimes, the enemy is inside your head in the form of negative self-talk. The way we talk to ourselves forms during childhood and can follow us through our lives. Those whose self-talk tends to be negative may attribute malevolent intent to others when none exists, interpret potentially positive events as negative and missing important benefits, or create a self-fulfilling prophecy by believing their stress level is more than they can handle. If you suspect that you habitually use negative self-talk in your daily life, it’s not too late to learn positive self-talk.

By keeping a journal, using positive affirmations and surrounding yourself with positive energy, you can turn things around for the better, and experience much less stress in your daily life.

Poor Conflict Resolution Skills:

Do you tend to act aggressively with people when simple assertiveness will work better? Or do you passively let others walk all over you because you don’t know how to say no? Conflicts with others are generally a part of life, but how we handle them can strengthen relationships, or can cause additional stress and create bigger conflicts. Many people who act aggressively aren’t fully aware that they’re doing harm in their relationships, and aren’t familiar with a better way of handling things.


If you’re a pessimist, you may see things as worse than they really are, may pass up opportunities to better your situation and overlook solutions to problems. Pessimism is more than just seeing the glass as half-empty; it’s a specific worldview that undermines your belief in yourself, brings poorer health outcomes, fewer positive life events, and other negative consequences.

Taking On Too Much:

Are you overscheduled and overstressed? You may be taking on too much, and putting yourself under undue pressure because of it. Whether it’s because you’re a “Type A” type person or because you’re not sure how to say no to others’ demands on your time, you can put yourself in a state of chronic stress if you habitually take on more than you can handle.

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