This month marks Stress Awareness Month, when healthcare professionals and health promotion experts increase public awareness about both the causes and cures for our modern stress epidemic.

Stress can take many forms in everyday life and are caused by both external factors outside of your control and internal factors that you can control. By working out what causes you stress and thinking of ways to deal with it, you can improve your life dramatically.

So what causes stress?

Unsurprisingly, money worries and work often top the lists of common causes of stress and are obviously closely related.

A recent survey of 4,000 adults found that four out of five felt stressed during a typical week, while almost one in 10 were stressed all the time. Workplace stress was linked to the “always on” culture, with most people taking calls or checking emails in the evenings and at weekends. More than two out of three were worried about their salary prospects, while almost as many were concerned about paying household bills.

In conjunction with this, a study carried out by Cambridge University has even gone as far as saying that money really can buy people happiness. But not in the way we might think.

Researchers revealed that spending can increase happiness, as long as it is spent on goods and services that fit our personalities.

So, is finding a job or business that you love, that also gives you the income you need to be able to buy and do the things you want, the ultimate cure for stress? Quite possibly.

More importantly, it’s about taking control and making a change. If certain situations press your buttons, remove yourself from them. If your job is making you unhappy, leave. If you are constantly worried about time and money, do something about it.

“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten”

This quote from one of the world’s leading life coaches, Tony Robbins, can easily refer to the way people deal with stress.

Changing your perception of stress and using it as a positive motivation for you to change what makes you stressed can even make you healthier, according to a study in America.

It’s more than just taking a soothing bath, having a relaxing massage or exercising regularly – it’s about changing your mind-set, being more positive and taking control.

What can you do?

The simple answer is to work out what stresses you out. This is easier said than done when you don’t know where to start.

So why not use the Wheel of Life as a starting point?

The Wheel of Life is most commonly used as goal-setting tool, helping you to work out where you are now and where you want to be in the future in certain areas of your life – business, money, family and health for example.

However, it can also help you think about what causes you stress in those areas. You can then change the segments of the Wheel of Life into your main causes of stress.

Think about ways you can deal with that stress and what you need to change or do differently, and then periodically review your Wheel of Life in terms of stress levels and see if they have improved.

This should give you a great visual representation of the causes of stress in your life and whether you have successfully learnt to deal with that stress or use it in a positive way.

Get your ‘stress’ Wheel of Life here.