Stress is a big deal. It has been linked to the majority of disease states and many overall health issues. That is why getting in front of stress, working with it, and building up a resilience to it is so important.

What are some root causes of stress? Let’s slow down and go over four main causes so we can overcome them!

#1. No plan and no strategy.

You need to have a plan, plain and simple. This pertains to any area of your life, whether that’s for your health and wellness, your career and business, or even your relationships. If you don’t have a plan and a step-by-step strategy in place to reach your goals, you are doomed to get caught in the stress trap.

What is the first step in creating a plan for these different areas of your life? When it comes to goal setting, getting specific is key. Often, we know what we want to accomplish, but our plan to actually reach our goal isn’t specific enough. Make sure you equip yourself with tools, like the ones we focus on at the Elevate Your Life event, that will help guide you through proper goal-setting techniques. Once you are able to break your plans down into more manageable steps, you are more likely to get the results you’re looking for and avoid stress along the way.

#2. No routine or habits in place.

Creating a new habit or routine is no small feat, especially if you are already dealing with stress in your life. When discussing habits, I always refer to Maslow’s Four Stages of Learning. In this model, Stage Three is Conscious Competence. This is when we are able to complete a task or activity with relative ease, but we still need to follow step-by-step actions consciously and to put some effort into it. The example I like to use is when you’re cooking a dish you’ve made several times, yet you still find yourself checking the recipe once or twice to make sure your measurements are correct, rather than knowing it by heart.

The ultimate goal with any routine or habit is to make it to Stage Four: Unconscious Competence, or the stage at which we do something automatically without having to put much conscious thought or effort behind it. When something becomes a habit, or part of our daily/weekly routine, it becomes easier and ultimately less stressful.

Anytime you’re implementing a strategy or new action plan, it’s always best to start small and build. Often, our ambition gets the best of us and we want to make big changes quickly, but that’s when burnout can rear up and knock us back to where we started. Take small steps towards your goals in order to gain confidence, then keep moving forward at a steady pace. This is the best way to gain momentum and create consistency.

#3. No movement.

Movement, exercise, doing activities we enjoy, or even just walking or stretching gives us energy. Increasing your energy level will reduce your stress and help you sleep better at night.

Once again, you don’t have to step outside and run a marathon tomorrow. Simply start small and build from that. Feel yourself tensing up after a long conference call? Get up from your desk and take a walk around the office or, better yet, go outside. Having a hard time focusing on the task in front of you? Stand up and do a few quick stretches.

Building some type of exercise or movement into your daily routine (refer back to #2) is also a great way to regularly relieve stress!

#4. Having an inflammatory diet.

This is something that I cover extensively in the Harmony MethodⓇ. Improving your diet can help you heal your body, improve your mental focus, have all-day energy, sleep better, and, of course, reduce stress.

If you already live a relatively healthy lifestyle, the high-level protocol is relatively simple – hydrate with water; eat whole, organic foods whenever possible; avoid all refined foods; and try to only purchase and consume products that are made with five ingredients or less. If you are currently in a disease state or have any health issues, these protocols can and should be adjusted to fit your specific needs.

Ultimately, moderation and finding a middle path that is sustainable and works for you is the key to living a happy, stress-free, and healthy life!

Author's Bio: 

Katy Kvalvik is the creator of the Harmony Method® – a blueprint for work-life harmony – and the founder of Southwestern Empowerment, a company that provides personal and professional development services to transform and inspire today’s leaders. She has been inspiring women and men all over the world to be empowered, lead their best lives, and achieve optimal, lasting results since 2009. Visit and