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The Stress Bottle


“A diagnosis of cancer can be like a bomb dropping, with the shock waves rippling through all areas of your life.”

The Stress Bottle is a useful way to help you think about all the stressful things that have happened as well as any changes and loss in your life. It can be useful to think about past stresses and put them at the bottom of the bottle, as well as the stress you have faced in the build-up and after the diagnosis of cancer.

Sometimes, when you sit down and draw out your own stress bottle, you can begin to see that it is not at all surprising you feel stressed! It is also useful to think about what the people you are close to might have in their bottles.

Once the bottle is full, the smallest drop of “every day stress” that tries to squeeze in (e.g., dropping a plate in the kitchen) can lead to a “bottle eruption”. It is at this point that you might well be irritable and snappy, become easily tearful, or feel panicky or low. It is important to remember that the eruption is simply a sign that your bottle is understandably full.

It is unlikely that you will be able to “empty” your bottle completely but you can develop coping strategies that act as a tap to give you space at the top of your bottle so that the “everyday stress” doesn’t tip you into an eruption!

Some useful coping strategies, which can help to deal with a “full bottle” (e.g., relaxation, mindfulness) can be found by clicking on the following links:

Feeling low?

Feeling stressed?

ACT/mindfulness

Finished treatment? What next?