Everyone experiences some stress from time to time. It is the body’s way of responding to events and situations that upset our balance or makes us feel threatened in some way. A stressor is any event, situation, condition or demand that causes stress by disrupting life balance in some way. Life is full of challenges that may be considered stressors, such as:
- Getting married/divorced/ marriage reconciliation
- Illness or injury
- A death in the family
- Being fired from a job
- Starting a new job
- Conflict with family or friends
Less well recognized stressors include:
Personal issues questioning of such topics as:
- Core values
- Sense of purpose
- Future plans
Environmental stressors such as exposure to:
- Loud noise
- Extreme heat or cold
How stressed out a person feel depends on how much you perceive yourself to be pressured. If you view the stressor as only mildly problematic, your stress level is likely to be low to moderate. When the situation is viewed as overwhelming or you feel that you do not have the resources that will enable you to cope, then stress levels tend to go through the roof!
Awareness of the cognitions, thoughts and beliefs that you may have around a stressor will allow you to challenge those beliefs and provide relief and strategies for coping. Asking questions such as the following may be helpful.
"How will things seem a week from now? A month? A year?”
“What would be the worst thing could happen?”
Understanding your body’s stress response to stress will allow you to recognize these reactions and engage in behaviours that will lower your body’s activation level such as relaxation and breathing exercises for ‘in the moment’ support. In addition, addressing ‘big picture’ approaches such as maintaining a healthy lifestyle, time management and advance planning for challenging interactions are also beneficial. Stress is part of life and my role is to assist you in developing a game plan that will assist you in the moment and as well collaborate with you to create long term approach.