Overcoming Overwhelm: Coloring to Rethink Your Relationship with Stress

One of my favorite things to do with patients is to illustrate concepts with drawings (I actually do this across the desk and draw upside down which makes it even more fun…but I’m a dork like that!)

For allergy patients I draw a nose sniffing a flower and then how the body responds with a cellular reaction, ultimately leading to a runny nose and sinus inflammation. For diabetics I draw the path that carbohydrates take to end up being dropped off as a form of sugar in the liver.

There is one picture I draw for all of my patients. It’s a bucket. A stress bucket.

We are all born with a certain ability to handle stress. I represent this with a bucket. Some people are born with small buckets, and some people are born with big buckets. This will affect how much stress a person can handle before symptoms of distress or illness start to manifest. This is why two people can go through a similar experience and one person can recover while the other will be completely undone.

Imagine the bucket holds all of life’s stressors. The big things. The small things. The minutiae. The things you put up with on a day-to-day basis that don’t serve you physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. When the bucket overflows, you experience the symptoms you are individually predisposed to, be it a psychological symptom such as anxiety, or a physical symptom such as headaches or fatigue.

This premise changes the game. 

Here’s why…

We often feel overwhelmed by all of the things we can’t change. The things we don’t have control over. But, if we step back and look at the bigger picture we can see that we have much more control over our own stress than we’ve been led to believe.

Here’s how…

If you look at the accumulation of all of the things in your bucket (more about identifying these in another post soon,) you can identify dozens of things that you can change (take out,) and change with relative ease. Naturally, then, your overall load decreases and you have increased bandwidth to deal with the things that you can’t change, as well as those things you choose not to change.

With these small changes you can also implement practices to ‘manage’ your stress better (like coloring, get your free pages here!) But here’s the rub– you don’t want to only manage stress because at some point it becomes too much to manage.

You don’t want to add a bunch of stress-management techniques that just add more things to your already overburdened schedule and to-do list!

I talk about this a great deal in my book Overcoming Overwhelm, so go grab that if you want to learn more! It’s on sale on Amazon! 💕

And in the meantime I have a challenge for you. Think about what three things you can take out of your bucket in the next few weeks. Write them down in your planner, and then write down the specific action steps to implement it!

Yours in Health,


Rethink Your Relationship with Stress | Dr. Samantha Brody

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