The following story, Stress and the glass of water, is often quoted in stress management therapies. The story reminds us that stress is something very subjective. Stress in itself is part of our lives and can be very helpful in order to achieve our goals. However, if we think too much and for too long about any given stressor and our reaction to it, a healthy stress response can develop into an unhealthy one, which in turn can lead to the development of mental disorders.


Stress and the glass of water

Foto: Jana Sabeth, Unsplash



Stress and the glass of water


A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the “half empty or half full” question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: “How heavy is this glass of water?”


Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.


She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.”


She continued, “The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything.”


It’s important to remember to let go of your stresses. As early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don’t carry them through the evening and into the night. Remember to put the glass down!

[source unknown]




How do you like this story about how we respond to stress? Share your thoughts in the comments! 

You’ll find more posts about dealing with stress on my blog. And if you feel like you are not able to cope with your stress on your own, contact a therapist for help!



Stress and the glass of water - responding to stress

Photo: Piyato, Canva Pro

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