What Causes Stress?

Dr. Purushothaman
January 17, 2014


When we find ourselves overwhelmed with a lot of things, find ourselves on the brink of panic, we call ourselves stressed out. Stress is a household term for most of us. With the high life we are all living, and most of us want to be living, we do not get away from stress.
Stress is a term used to describe the normal emotional, mental and physical response to something that gave us undue pressure or threat. During these times of pressure and maybe fear, our body's senses are heightened and our mental prowess at its peak. This is our body's way of telling us to push further and its way of protecting us by sending necessary signals to our brains that tell us we can be more and we can be better.
Stress is often viewed in a negative light, however, it is important to note that our bodies need these stressors to shift into full gear and helps us rise to many challenges. It sharpens our concentration allowing us to focus and deliver; it keeps us alert allowing us to provide relevant insights. But beyond a certain level, stress ceases to be positive and is known to be the major cause of numerous health problems.
Chronic Stress or long-term stress is caused by numerous things. "Stressors" is a term used to describe factors or situations that cause stress at an exacerbated level. A recent survey indicated that the following factors are considered to be major stressors:
* · Death of a loved one
* · Divorce or Separation
* · Financial worries
* · Relationship difficulties
* · Work related issues and workload
* · People around us like family, children, friends
* · Hectic and full schedule
The above listed are what we consider as external stressors, that is, stress, which is caused by something that affects us from our environment. Major life changes top the list, as these physically, psychologically and emotionally take a toll on most of us.
Death of a loved one, separation, change in environment and relationship shifts cause a lot of anxiety, excessive worry and undue pressure. Additionally, many people consider working late as a sign of hard work and determination, but accordingly, as it takes up a full schedule and the tendency to take work thoughts home is the constant stressor for not only the working class, but for most people working for a living.
Chronic stress stems from the presence of these external stressors augmented by internal pressure. These internal factors include a person's inability to accept change, pessimism, negativity, undue pressure from expectations and perfectionism.
What causes stress are numerous factors that give us exaggerated pressure. Oftentimes, we fail to see that stress is a product of our thinking and the way we perceive things. Some of the situations like financial difficulties, work-related issues, and even relationship woes require extreme changes and difficulties before a specific person can be affected and be stressed out. The way we view things and the way we process those around us and the situations we find ourselves in are key factors in causing stress.
Having a strong support group - consisting of family and friends, creating a 'ME TIME' for yourself every day, maintaining a positive outlook and discovering meditation, spiritual healing and relaxation help alleviate these stressors.
There are many causes of stress, and they could be as mundane as traffic or a non-working PC, to as serious as death, separation or jail term. What is common about these causes of stress is the way we take things in and process the situations. A good shift in our thinking and action will go a long way to keeping these stressors at bay.

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