Manage your stress – know your triggers

We all get stressed by different things.

For example, some people find giving presentations very stressful and will suffer sleepless nights prior to such an event. In contrast, other people enjoy giving a performance and will look forward to such an occasion. They may find other things stressful, such as spending time alone.

The key to managing stress is to know when you are becoming stressed and find ways to prevent it building up. Try the following steps to manage stress and stressful situations better. Make notes as you go through and you can then record your own summary sheet at the end and save to My Toolbox if you wish.

Know Your ‘Triggers’ (Things That Make You Feel Stressed)

Common examples of stress triggers for relatives of people with psychosis or bipolar include the following:

    • Having too many tasks to complete in a day
    • Questions from friends who don’t understand mental health problems
    • Not being able to get hold of clinical or support staff when you need to
    • Not knowing how to manage difficult behaviour
    • Arguing about taking medication
    • Thinking about all the things that all the family have lost as a result of the psychosis


My brother Neil was diagnosed with psychosis two years ago when he was in the first year of college. He dropped out and came to stay with my wife and me. He was really popular at school but now only has one close friend who visits occasionally. When he is ill, Neil believes we are against him and constantly makes accusations that we are trying to hurt him. There is only so much reassuring I can do before it really gets to me. When he is well, we get on great and I start believing that he will be able to move out, but when he is ill I just feel that there is just no chance of that happening. Sometimes the situation really gets me down.