Skip to main content


Blogs are brief, to-the-point, conversational, and packed with information, strategies, and tips to turn troubled eaters into “normal” eaters and to help you enjoy a happier, healthier life. Sign up by clicking "Subscribe" below and they’ll arrive in your inbox. 

No unsolicited guest blogs are accepted, thank you!

Are You Causing Your Own Stress?


Are you envious of others to the point that you strive and strive to have what they have or be how they are? Are you a perfectionist or overachiever? Are you always pushing yourself to do more or better? If you answer yes to any of these questions you’re probably guilty of causing your own stress.

In Do You Cause Your Own Stress? How To Stop a “Toxic Cycle” tells us that there are two kinds of stress. Fallon Goodman, assistant professor of psychology and director of the Emotion and Resilience Laboratory at George Washington University, describes how stress is generated and “posits that people can create stressful moments as a result of their behavior. These instances of stress are known in psychology research as ‘dependent stressful life events.’ Basically, these are stressful experiences driven by your choices—like instigating a blow-out argument with your partner or putting off a challenging work task until the deadline hits.”

“In contrast, the ‘independent stressful events’ rubric applies to the random, largely uncontrollable things that happen to us—like your car getting rear-ended at a stop light or a deep freeze blowing out your water pipes.”

Here’s an example of both kinds of stress. My client Terrence hates speaking in front of large groups but has chosen to be a trial lawyer. Before every trial, he gets incredibly anxious, certain that he’ll make a fool of himself and fail his clients. That’s an example of a “dependent stressful life event.” He keeps putting himself in a position of being highly stressed. As he was entering the courthouse one day, a man with a gun attacked a security guard and a stand-off between the gunman and police lasted hours—and, of course, the trial was postponed. This is an example of an “independent stressful event.” 

Think about the current stressors in your life and how much is due to outside events which are out of your control and how much you cause because of your choices and beliefs. If you’re married to an abusive person or a substance abuser, that is your choice and will cause you untold stress. Whereas, if your partner develops a brain tumor, that is an “independent stressor” which is out of your control, though how you react to it is in your control.

We can’t avoid independent stressors, but we can certainly try to avoid or reduce dependent ones. Make a list of all the choices you make that cause you great stress. Then consider which ones you could change to reduce or eliminate some or all of it.