women

Stress Is Determined By The Beholder

Stress is a part of life. Life today is complex, and it is impossible to avoid stress. How much stress a person encounters and how she or he deals with it frequently has a direct connection with mental health. This section will look at stress and its many interesting dimensions, and will address strategies for change.

Stress is what we experience internally in response to a situation we find hard to deal with. Most of us handle routine stress readily. In other words, we are able to “handle the situation.” We can resolve our feelings and dissipate the tension. What is stressful for one person, however, may not be for another. In this sense, it may be counterproductive to tell someone not to worry about a situation if you do not consider the same situation as stressful. We all react to situations differently; it is part of being human.

Stress is a learning laboratory that constantly teaches us about how to successfully handle the difficulties we encounter in life. In the same way that exercising keeps our bodies physically fit, dealing effectively with the demands that affect our emotions keeps us mentally fit.

Anxiety is a signal that we are under stress. If this feeling keeps recurring, stress is not being dealt with effectively. For example, if you find yourself continually upset and angry, it would be worthwhile to determine the source of your anger and then find some appropriate way to deal with it. Otherwise your feelings will build and produce negative effects.

When our feelings build beyond a certain point, we begin to experience strain. If the situation we find troublesome disappears, the feeling of stress goes away. If the pressure does not let up, we eventually will show signs of mental and physical exhaustion.

Stress is essentially within us even though we may perceive it as coming from outside. It is important to recognize that not everyone experiences the same circumstances as stressful.

Expected “life events” that we all encounter are often stressful. These events include the entire range of experiences: a new birth; entering school; marriage; divorce; the loss of a family member, etc.

Sudden, unexpected catastrophic events are well-known causes of stress. Situations that result in our chronically feeling bad, either about ourselves or others, also can result in stress.

Expressing emotions is often difficult. The ability to recognize stress, and then learn to manage it through an appropriate expression of emotions, is extremely important when personally coping with stress.

People who continually hold their emotions inside often “boil over” at inappropriate times. This may damage their relationships with others. This seems to occur most often where stress has built up over a period of time. One way to help avoid this is to talk things over before the “boiling point” is reached.

Stress Means Different Things

People think about stress in different ways. For some, stress is related to a set of feelings that gives them an awareness that “something is not right.” For others, stress is basically a series of stressful events. These are predictable events based on the fact that the human experience includes a whole variety of life events that have significant meaning. For others, stress might be more accurately identified as a lifestyle. This lifestyle involves an intensive drive that ultimately affects us and others. Additionally, some see stress as the resulting physical symptoms, including ulcers, heart attacks, hypertension, etc. Being able to recognize that all of the above items describe the same process is helpful in understanding stress.

Below are some examples of the various ways to identify stress:

FEELINGS

Restlessness

Keyed Up Feeling

Anxiety

Depression
CRISIS EVENTS

Death of Family Member

Divorce

Separation

Business Failure
LIFESTYLE

Intensive Drive

Aggressiveness

Time Urgency

Impatience

Guilty When Not Working
PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS

Ulcers

Migraines

Hypertension

Heart Attack

Headaches

Stroke
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