What is Stress?
Stress in a natural reaction, which helps us to cope when certain events place strong demands on us in the course of our everyday lives. Accidents, financial problems, work problems, family and relationship difficulties all lead to stress.
With proper coping skills we can meet our stressful challenges head-on and aspire to achieve our full potential. Some people even thrive on stress and it motivates them to get things done.
Stress and anxiety can affect your interaction with friends and family, your working relationships, and adversely disrupt the overall quality of your life.
Studies have also revealed that stress triggers panic attacks, irritable bowel syndrome, somatic illnesses, phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder, addictions, suicidal ideation, self-harm, low self esteem, and many other debilitating conditions. Studies have even shown that stress can increase the growth rate of cancer cells in the body.
Stress can manifest itself in sweating, palpitations, rapid heart beat, faintness, dizziness, dry mouth, shaking, crying, shouting irrationally, etc.
Your body produces adrenaline and cortisol (which is a by-product of adrenaline) in order to energise and prepare itself to face stressful events. Your body needs to relax between stressful episodes; otherwise your over stressed body is producing more of these chemicals than it can healthily manage.
Unless you learn to manage your stress effectively you are at a high risk of "burning out", and this will in turn have a negative and harmful impact on your physical and mental health.
Stress affects everyone differently and therefore requires a wide range of different coping strategies to manage. You should choose the strategies which work best for you in any given situation.
It is impossible to eliminate stress from your life (in fact, a certain amount of stress is required to function normally). However, it is imperative that you learn the skills necessary to manage it. By effectively managing your stress on an ongoing basis, you improve and expand your coping skills and your life and health will improve accordingly.
Categories of Stress.
The following is a list of categories of stressors. These are not exclusive and are often interlinked. Stress / anxiety in one area can also effect or damage other areas of your life.
Family / Relationships.
Some of the stressful factors involved in family and close personal relationships include:
Stress in this core area of your life creates a major impact on family relationships and as a consequence you carry it with you into other areas of your life.
Work Related Stress.
The workplace is a stressful environment involving:
The stressors in this area are wide ranging and can include:
Financial difficulties are a major source of stress. This stress affects every other area of your life. It can prevent you from fulfilling many of your obligations and meeting your basic needs. This in turn affects your family and your physical and mental health.
Health problems area a major source of stress. Stress in this area ranges from sleeplessness to terminal illness, and everything in-between. When a family member is ill it impacts on all family members – whether the illness is short term, long term, or terminal.
The stress experienced by caregivers has enormous effects on their physical and mental well-being. Caregivers must learn to take care of themselves first and incorporate regular periods of respite into their lives.
Stress can lead to illnesses, and illnesses can cause stress.
Psychological stress can lead to somatic illnesses and a variety of mental health concerns. Examples of psychological stressors include:
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The information above is extracted from The Empower Yourself book series, written by Mariad Burke and Dr. Phil Robert. Dr. Phil Robert can be found online at: www.philrobertcounsellor.com.
Some more of Dr. Robert's work can be found at : www.youtube.com/channel/UCvf7cfpoDr1aXPJco6edbVA
Disclaimer: The material presented above is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute care, treatment or other professional advice. Should you require specific help, you should seek the assistance of an appropriately trained professional person.