Stuck in a traffic jam and getting late for a meeting! Worrying about the sleeping and eating habits of your children! Trying to strike a balance between meeting official deadlines and spending time with your friends and family!
Do these situations make you feel STRESSED?
Stress is something that each one of us experiences in our daily lives. It can be viewed as a set of tendencies and physiological responses that take place in response to situations that we perceive to be stressful. When demands exceed our resources, we tend to feel stressed. People view different situations as stressful depending on how they perceive them. We must recognize our stressors and ways that help us deal with them to effectively manage stress.
Stressors are stimuli that cause stress. They place demands on us that threaten our well-being. Stressors require us to adapt to the situation in some way.
Daily hassles or minor annoyances in our lives like problems at work, traffic jams, or deadlines are some of the things that may cause stress or add to it.
Uncomplicating and decluttering our lives can cause a great deal of stress reduction. These include managing time, organizing, and being proactive in our daily lives.
Major negative life events, like a perceived failure or the death of someone close to us, also lead to a great deal of stress. Coping with these stressors can be difficult. Events that cause great suffering at a large scale, like natural disasters and acts of terrorism, are some of the most severe kinds of stressors.
All of these stressors may harm our well-being. Other factors like whether the event is predictable or controllable and the duration of the event also affect the degree to which stressors impact us.
Response to Stress
There are various components of the way we respond to stress. Our subjective perception and interpretation of events affect our responses to situations.
These assessments influence the way stress affects us and how we cope with it. They can be realistic or distorted. When we make distorted assessments, we tend to perceive our resources as less or more than they are in real life.
I have realized through personal experience that we believe that everything we think is true. But in some cases, thoughts are not facts. An objective assessment of our resources is necessary to obtain a realistic estimate of them. Realistic appraisals help us cope with stress, remove mental limitations, and gain confidence in our abilities.
Have you ever observed yourself or anyone else who is under stress? How does our body react to it?
As soon as we assess the situation, our body responds to it by giving a physiological reaction. Stress can cause excessive sweating, shallow breathing, headaches, stomach problems, and more.
We can manage stress by recognizing that we are stressed and controlling our response to stress through techniques that help us relax.
Stress also affects the way we behave. We tend to become restless, short-tempered, irritable, and unfocused when we are stressed. We may also lash out at other people or withdraw from interactions of any kind. Support from other people may help us deal with stress, but sometimes we do not seek help. Our habits affect our responses to events and also affect how we choose to deal with them.
Effects of Stress on Well-being
Does your mind go blank when faced with a stressful situation? Do you feel that you can tackle the situation effectively and reduce stress? Do you wonder how stress may impact your well-being?
Stress may have an impact on our physiological and physical well-being. Major life events and the daily hassles of life can harm our physical and mental health. They can lead to anxiety and depression, affect the immune system, and increase the risk of illness.
Stress can also affect our performance on tasks. It can improve or deteriorate it, depending on factors like the complexity of the work and the characteristics of the individual.
Stress can interfere with task performance as it distracts the person and takes focus away from the task at hand. It can cause an inability to work or a need for perfectionism. It may lead to guilt if you engage in some other activities to relax. Eventually, it may cause feelings of sadness and helplessness.
Individual differences affect stress resistance. Some people tend to be more influenced by stress than others. Some people can cope with a great deal of stress, while it is difficult for others to do so. Learning to cope with stress in healthy ways can help us improve our lives. We can integrate many small changes in our lives to reduce the impact of stress on our health and well-being.
I hope you found this article helpful. Share with us some of your stressors and how they affect you.
Watch this space for our next article on coping with stress!
Baron, R. A., & Misra, G. (2016). PSYCHOLOGY Indian Subcontinent Edition, 5th edition. India: Pearson India Education Services Pvt. Ltd.
Passer, M. W., & Smith, R. E. (2013). Psychology The Science of Mind and Behavior, 5th edition. Greater Noida: McGraw Hill Education (India) Private Limited.