How to Identify Your Tolerations in Life

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Your tolerations—those stressors we encounter in daily life that sap us of our energy—can be difficult to identify at first because we become so accustomed to...tolerating them, that they can often blend in with our lifestyles. Fortunately, tolerations are often easy to eliminate when you know how. The first step is to become aware of the tolerations you have in your life and to create a list of tolerations as you become aware of them, so you can eliminate them systematically. Read more on identifying and eliminating tolerations to create a less stressful lifestyle.

Steps for Eliminating Your Tolerations

  1. Make a list of 50 tolerations at work in your life. Brainstorm quickly and write them down as soon as they pop into your mind. Remember, these tolerations can be things you must deal with, bad habits you have, things that cause stress, and things you need. Anything that drains energy and causes stress—anything you wouldn’t choose to include in your life, given a choice—can be considered a toleration.
  2. If you’re stuck for ideas, think about the main categories of your life. This could be work, school, family, household, wellness, or other main lifestyle areas. Take each category and list the related tolerations that come to your mind. For example, work tolerations could include a messy desk, cluttered inbox, co-worker who saps your energy, requirements that are unclear, stress from your commute, a less-than-ideal lunch situation, etc.
  3. Ask your friends what they think your main tolerations are. Sometimes it takes an outsider’s perspective to help you become more aware of what you’re tolerating because you may not realize that you don’t have to put up with some of these little stressors in your life. Add them to the list!
  4. Over the next few days, maintain an ongoing list of tolerations. Add to the list as you become aware of each new toleration. It may help to keep a small notebook with you, or record them in a list on your computer or cell phone, so it’s always handy. This list can be extremely valuable for cutting down on tolerations—it provides you with a roadmap for where to start, and how to know when you've finished making changes that can reduce your stress levels from now on.
  5. Once you have the list, the next step is to start eliminating tolerations in a systematic way. 
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