What is stress?
Stress is basically a state of fear, an over-reaction of the mind to overcome a challenging situation. We naturally experience stress when we find it difficult to cope with life. It’s almost as if we haven’t got the right tools to deal with the presenting problem, so we try to improvise. Sometimes we can get by but then there are times when we can’t. It’s during these times that stress starts to become evident in our lives.
Why do we experience stress?
Stress is in our lives for a very good reason “Survival”. Without the stress response we would not have survived as the human race for as long as we have. What we associate as a threat triggers our natural “fight or flight” response. We are constantly reacting to external stimuli and information via the five physical senses, even something that links to a past memory like a smell, touch, sound, or even a taste can activate our stress response by triggering a subconscious memory.
When we become aware of the stress activating event, our beliefs, thoughts and past experiences about the event will determine the level of stress we will experience. Put simply, the level of stress we experience is a reflection of our inner ability to cope with the situation we are facing.
Causes of stress
The causes of stress are numerous; here are just a few examples:
- Financial worries
- moving home
- family issues
- Genetics (inherited conditions)
- work conditions
- striving for success
- Lifestyle (poor diet/lack of exercise)
- fear of the future
- Immunity abnormality (weakened stress resilience)
- childhood influences/experiences
- bereavement (including loss of pets)
- unrealistic expectations
- Personality type
- violations of the law
- Christmas & Holidays