How do you empty your bucket?

On Wednesday I was presenting Mental Health Awareness to a Group of Childrens’ Nurses. Part of the day is taken up with raising awareness of our own mental health and how we manage the stressors in our own lives. 

Yerkes-Dodson back in 1909 suggested that stress or pressure is vital for us to perform, but if we experience too much stress our performance levels drop quite dramatically.


Recognising our stress levels and how to prevent them turning into distress is important for our work and home lives.

Now we all require different levels of stress or pressure to perform effectively, therefore we all become distressed at different levels.  This is best described by the stress bucket theory. 


We all have a bucket in which we store our stress. Now we are all born with different size buckets, and our buckets can change size throughout our lives depending on what is happening in our lives. Stress fills our bucket like water, and when it gets full it overflows which results in us becoming distressed and unable to function effectively.

Thankfully our bucket has a tap at the bottom that we can turn on.

The tap is turned on by taking part in positive activities that we enjoy and make us happy. Now we all enjoy different activities so it is important that you choose the right activity for you that gives you the most satisfaction. Be wary of activities that involve chemicals both legal and illegal (alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, etc.) as these often give short term satisfaction along with long term stress.

Now it is important to tend to your stress bucket everyday and not just empty it once it is full. Find time each day for positive activities (activities that make you feel satisfied or happy). Most days we take part in many different positive activities without noticing, therefore spending a few minutes each day toting up all the positive things that have happened in the day can be very effective.

Aim for an hour of positive activity everyday, and most importantly recognise and appreciate those activities. 

Author: Matt Smith Personal and Professional Coach

Performance and Life Coach

2 thoughts on “How do you empty your bucket?”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s