Is This Stress?
Stress is a natural part of our everyday life. Any change, good or bad, big or small, can cause stress. Big events in our life, like getting married or changing jobs, can cause stress. Small events, like losing your keys or hosting a party, can also cause stress.
All stress is not bad stress. Stress is a normal physical response that can protect you in times of danger. Your nervous system is primed for three survival responses, which are to attack (fight), escape (flight), or hide (freeze). The body is wired to go into fight, flight, or freeze mode when there are high levels of stress. That’s fine when stress is temporary, but can be harmful when stress goes on for too long, unchecked.
To help get a handle on stress, think about the four main types. These are general stress, life stress, internal stress, and work stress.
General stress includes fear and uncertainty, whether real or perceived.
Life stress can include death of a family member or friend, injury, illness, crime, or abuse. It can also include changes to the family unit, such as a birth, marriage, or divorce. Additional life stressors include sexual problems, interpersonal problems, financial problems, environmental changes, and changes in responsibilities.
Internal stress is stress that we create, either consciously or subconsciously. The way we perceive and view situations often can be the cause of stress. This can include negative self talk, a feeling of being out of control, and an overly dramatic response to a situation.
Work stress includes job demands, lack of support, interpersonal relationships with coworkers and supervisors, changes in organizational structure, and overall job dissatisfaction.
As you may know, stress can negatively affect our life, mental health, physical health, and relationships. It can also put our jobs at risk. To protect ourselves, a first step is to recognize a stressful situation for what it is.
Take a moment to think about the times and types of situations that cause you stress. Some signs that you feel stressed may be change in your eating, activity, and social habits. Some people may overeat when stressed, while some may become inactive and withdrawn.
Once you have identified your sources of stress, you can work to begin to manage your stress effectively. Stress, and the way to manage stress, varies with each individual. Healthy options include exercise, meditation, therapy, health coaching, and adopting an overall healthier lifestyle.
Stress management usually focuses on identifying what you can control or change, and things that you can’t. For things you can’t change, working on how you view the stress and using healthy self-care techniques can help you deal with stress without lasting harm. Self-care techniques include deep breathing, time for reflection, yoga, physical activity, and connecting with others. Don't know where to start? Contact your health coach to get on the road to less stress.