Sources of Stress
In a physically or emotionally threatening situation, your body adapts to help you react more effectively to
meet the threat. This is achieved mainly by the release of adrenaline a 'fight or flight' hormone. Adrenaline
mobilizes sugars, giving your body access to more strength, energy and stamina. This helps you to fight harder or
run faster. It reduces blood supply to your skin to minimize bleeding if you're hurt. These sources of stress may
induce nausea or diarrhea to eliminate excess weight that might otherwise slow you down.
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When speed and physical strength for survival are critical, this primal adrenaline stress is beneficial and can
improve your performance. However where calm thought or precise motor skills are necessary, it's important to
control or eliminate these adrenaline sources of stress with some form of stress management. Prolonged exposure to
adrenaline can also damage your health. Stress management techniques can help control extreme adrenal
Internally Generated Stress - Anxiety
Stress that you cause for yourself. This can occur from anxious worrying about events beyond your control, from
a tense and hurried approach to life, from relationship problems caused by your own behavior, etc. This is where
good stress management techniques will be most useful.
Other aspects of personality can become sources of stress for yourself. For example, perfectionism where you set
extremely ambitious goals for yourself and impatience with others who don't match your own high standards. Stress
management can help alleviate the detrimental effects of such personality traits.
Sources of environmental stress can come from crowding and invasion of personal space, noise, dirty conditions,
pollution and so on. Most people who smoke feel relaxed after a cigarette. But the chemical stress from smoking
your body will suffer is severe! Most people who've stopped smoking feel much more relaxed generally, after the
initial 'giving up' period is finished. Stress management tip : Quit Smoking!
Nutritional and Chemical Stress
Your food may contribute to your sources of stress. For example, caffeine raises levels of 'stress hormones',
makes it more difficult to sleep, and can make you more irritable. Take the stress management tip of reducing
caffeine intake. Many people report a big reduction in feelings of stress after cutting out coffee, although you
may feel pretty rough when your body craves the missing caffeine. A gradual cutting down on coffee may be the most
effective approach to managing stress here.
Bursts of sugar from sweets make you feel more energetic in the short term. But your body will react to
stabilize abnormally high sugar levels by releasing too much insulin. This causes a serious energy dip shortly
after the sugar high. Too much salt raises your blood pressure and puts your body under chemical stress. The best
stress management tip here would be to simply reduce your intake of refined sugar and salt in your diet.
You will suffer from nutritional stress if you eat an unbalanced or unhealthy diet. Dietary deficiency or excess
may cause discomfort and lead to illness. The effects of malnourishment can be easily rectified by adopting a
healthy diet and taking quality vitamin and mineral supplements. Being overweight is a significant biological
source of stress on your body, and also emotional stress as your self-esteem declines. Losing weight is one of the
most effective stress management techniques you can engage in.
Lifestyle and Sources of Stress in the Workplace
These may include;
- Too much or too little work.
- Time pressures and deadlines.
- Responsibility for people, budgets or equipment.
- Frustration and boredom with current role.
- Demands from clients.
- Financial or relationship problems.
- Family changes eg. birth, death, marriage or divorce.
Just as with internally generated stress, effective stress management techniques can make a big difference to
how easily you cope with sources of stress in the workplace.
Fatigue and Overwork
Here stress builds up over a long period where you regularly try to achieve too much in too little time, or
where you're not using effective time management strategies. A practical, sensible approach to managing stress will
improve matters for you here.
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