Menstuff® has compiled the following information on
Understanding Stress. Check out WebMD's "Stress
and your Health" questionnaire. Try doing it once a month
to compare from time to time.
Understand your sources of stress
Stress management Understanding your stress triggers is
essential to stress relief.
The kids are screaming, the bills are due, and there's a pile of
work on your desk that seems to be growing at an absurdly swift pace.
It's undeniable life often seems full of stress. But
understanding the sources of stress big and small, internal
and external, short-term and long-term is an important part of
stress management. So where does your stress come from?
The big and small of it
Stress is your body's reaction to the constant demands of the
world, and stressors are events or conditions in your surroundings
which may trigger stress. Two main types of stress that people are
faced with are:
- Acute stress, also known as the fight-or-flight response, is
your body's immediate reaction to a threat, challenge or scare.
The acute stress response is immediate, it's intense, and in
certain circumstances, it can be thrilling. Examples of stressors
that may cause an acute stress response are a job interview, a
fender bender or an exhilarating ski run.
- Chronic stress results from long-term exposure to acute
stress. The chronic stress response is much more subtle than is
the acute stress response, but the effects may be longer lasting
and more problematic. The stressors which may lead to chronic
stress are the nagging, day-to-day life situations that often seem
unrelenting. Think relationship problems, work difficulties and
So with regard to effective stress management, which types of
stress should you be concerned about?
The little things add up
While mild stress can actually be beneficial it can spur
you into action, motivate and energize you it's often the
buildup of the little things that can really "stress you out."
Persistent stress can lead to many adverse health problems,
- Physical symptoms, such as headache and fatigue
- Mental symptoms, such as poor concentration
- Emotional symptoms, such as irritability and depression
- Social symptoms, such as isolation and resentment
External stressors are events and situations that happen to you.
While you may have control over some of these stressors and how much
you let them affect you, there are times when they extend beyond your
control. Some examples include:
- Major life changes. These changes can be positive a new
marriage, a planned pregnancy, a promotion or a new house. Or they
can be negative the death of a loved one or going through a
- Environment. These stressors could include a noise
disturbance, such as a barking dog, or light disturbance, as from
a billboard across the street.
- Unpredictable events. This category could include an increase
in monthly bills, an uninvited houseguest or a pay cut.
- Family. The occasional spousal spat, a teenager who refuses to
cooperate or a nagging mother-in-law can all contribute to
- Workplace. Perhaps an overwhelming workload or an impossible
- Social. For example, a blind date or making a speech to a room
full of co-workers.
Not all stress stems from things that happen to you, some of the
stress response can be self-induced. Those feelings and thoughts that
pop into your head and cause you unrest are known as internal
stressors. Examples include:
- Fears. These can be things such as the fear of flying or
heights, or more subtle apprehensions like speaking to a group of
strangers at a party.
- Uncertainty. Stemming perhaps from a looming restructuring at
the office or waiting for medical test results.
- Attitude. Having a negative view of the world in and of itself
can be stressful, since you create an unpleasant environment in
which to live.
- Unrealistic expectations. A perfectionist or controlling
personality may lead to unnecessarily high stress levels.
Overscheduling and not planning ahead can lead to a world of
Stress is here to stay
Face it, not a day in your life will go by without encountering a
situation or event that may trigger stress. But understanding the
sources of your stress is the first step in learning to manage it. So
what stresses you out?
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