We have all had something that was bothering us. That made us overreact in an unrelated situation. Filled us with feelings of worry and dread. And ultimately affected our daily lives in one way or another.
All for reasons and emotions we didn’t quite understand. Which is why it is very important that you identify what is bothering you. So you can ultimately take steps to relieve it. Usually the root cause of what is bothering us is unfounded and once figured out, can be easily sorted out.
You can identify what is bothering you using these 3 simple steps:
Step 1: Create an awareness of your emotions so you can identify that something is bothering you
Most bad moods/feelings can be traced to an event or thought that you had recently. Having an awareness when entering a stressed mood, or when you’re already in a negative mood, is critical in identifying what is bothering you.
Examples of this can be such as worrying about something, putting yourself in a pessimistic frame of mind, relationship clashes, sleep deprivation, missing a meal, working too much, and many others that can cause you to become unbalanced.
The tell-tale signs that you’re stressed are:
• Seriously overreacting to a situation
• Working yourself up about something
• Strong Feelings and Emotions (Anxiety. Sadness, Dread, etc.)
• Over-thinking and dwelling on thoughts and feelings
Being aware and able identify the symptoms that you are stressed out will allow you to trace it to the root cause of what is really bothering you.
Step 2: Identify the 5 W’s of what is bothering you
The next step after you are aware you are bothered and in a mood is to ask yourself these 5 questions to narrow down exactly what is wrong.
They are simply Who, What, Where, When, and Why:
- When did you start feeling this way? Was it today, last week, or later?
- Where do you feel most bothered? Is it at home, school, or work?
- Who is bothering you? Is it your family, friends, or coworkers?
- What is bothering you? Is it not being appreciated enough at home? Not doing as well at school as you hoped? Or layoffs at work?
- Why does it bother you? Because you deserve better? Your feelings aren’t being attended to? Or are you just in a bad mood because something didn’t go right today?
Once you know the 5 W’s of what’s bothering you, you now understand how to solve or at least deal with what’s bothering you which is a relief in itself.
Step 3: Use these 3 techniques to ask yourself the 5 W’s to find the root cause of your stress
Finding what is bothering you usually does not lurk too far beneath the surface.
One of the most efficient ways to get to the bottom of it is to have someone ask you straightforward the 5 W’s or just ask them yourself.
The journal is helpful in focusing your mind on negative emotions by writing about your mood and helping track the most common causes, symptoms, and signals increasing your emotional awareness.
If you have used the other two methods and find you have anxieties or frustrations that are frequent and you can’t seem to unravel yourself, you may want to consider whether a therapist could help out with your mental health. Talking to a therapist can help with self-esteem, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and social anxiety disorder.
There you have it. The three steps to finding the root cause of what’s really bothering you.