Stress is your body's way of responding to any kind of demand. It can be caused by both good and bad experiences.
What Causes Stress?
Many different things can cause stress -- from physical (such as fear of something dangerous) to emotional (such as worry over your family or job, relationship, bereavement etc...)
Identifying what may be causing you stress is often the first step in learning how to better deal with your stress.
Some of the most common sources of stress are:
Survival Stress - You may have heard the phrase "fight or flight" before. This is a common response to danger in all people and animals. When you are afraid that someone or something may physically hurt you, your body naturally responds with a burst of energy so that you will be better able to survive the dangerous situation (fight) or escape it all together (flight). This is survival stress.
Internal Stress - If you catch yourself worrying about things you can do nothing about or worrying for no reason - then you are dealing with internal stress and it is one of the most important kinds of stress to understand and manage.
This often happens when we worry about things we can't control or put ourselves in situations we know will cause us stress.
Environmental Stress - This is a response to things around you that cause stress, such as noise, crowding, and pressure from work or family.
Identifying these environmental stresses and learning to avoid them or deal with them will help lower your stress level.
Fatigue and Overwork - This kind of stress builds up over a long time and can take a hard toll on your body. It can be caused by working too much or too hard at your job(s), study or at home.
It can also be caused by not knowing how to manage your time well or how to take time out for rest and relaxation.
This can be one of the hardest kinds of stress to avoid because many people feel this is out of their control.
Stress can affect both your body and your mind.
So ..... what are your stress levels?
As you read these statements, think about the answer in terms of .......
Always, Sometimes or Never
- I feel as if I don't have enough time in a week to get everything done.
- Having at least one healthy meal per day at which I can sit down and relax is unusual.
- I worry about money regularly.
- I have recently begun to smoke or drink more alcohol, or I have increased my use of either.
- I have more conflicts and disagreements with friends than I used to.
- I am having difficulty staying involved with social activities.
- I seem to get colds and other minor illnesses (headaches/upset stomachs) more frequently.
- I find myself confused or listless more than usual.
- I resent the time I have to spend with routine chores.
- My usual level of physical activity or exercise has decreased.
- I am losing or gaining weight.
- I seldom get six to eight hours of sleep a night.
- I am having difficulty staying in contact with friends and family.
- I seldom find time to confide in friends.
- Small problems seem overwhelming.
- I seldom find time to do some fun things each week.
- I find myself unable to meet deadlines and am losing track of details (appointments, chores, promises to friends etc.)
- I am more short tempered or more impatient than I used to be.
Perhaps you have asked a member of your family to answer these statements, it's important to encourage them to seek out someone to talk to and not to continue to feeling this way. Making that contact with a therapist is the first step to dealing with stress.