What Causes All of This Stress?
Our bodies are designed for survival. If there is no perceived threat to our safety, we fell calm. If there is threat, we go into fight or flight response. Perceived threat comes to us in many ways. If we are on constant threat alert, we feel stressed.
Stress Is a Response
Most experts define stress as a response to life situations like the following:
1. Having too many responsibilities
2. Vague or confusing expectations
3. Having to do unpleasant tasks
4. Facing too many distractions
5. Having to do tasks for which one is unprepared
6. Working with difficult people
7. Being bored
8. Being sick or having a loved one who is sick
9. Experiencing too many changes
10. Being in physical danger
11. Living or working in a crowded space
12. Not getting enough exercise
13. Poor nutrition
14. Not getting enough sleep
15. Not enough time to relax
16. Being dissatisfied with your physical appearance
17. Abusing drugs or alcohol, or being close to someone who abuses them
18. Being is a bad relationship
19. Chronic pain
20. Unemployment or underemployment
Social and Cultural Causes of Stress
Stress has become a factor in our culture in the last 30 years because of things that were originally designed to make life less stressful. Conveniences such as ATM machines, microwave ovens, computers and fax machines have made life easier in many ways, but they also have woven an expectation of instant gratification into our culture. And this causes stress. As well, technology is constantly changing. This forces us to constantly feel pressured to "keep up" to survive.
Here are a few other examples of products and services that were invented to make life more efficient and productive, but which sometimes seem instead to add to stress:
• 24-hour stores and restaurants
• Web sites, with their instant access to unlimited information
• Catalog and Internet shopping
• Personal computers, Smart phones
• E-mail, facebook, twitter
• Constant World News
Stress at Work
Almost everyone complains of stress at work these days. It often results from one of the following:
1. Having too much or too little work to do
2. Having to do work that is very complicated and demanding
3. Having to do work that is boring and repetitive
4. Having unclear goals and expectations
5. Having to follow changing or confusing procedures
6. Being at a career dead end
7. Working in a company with an impersonal management philosophy
Simple Stress Relievers:
Media fasts, vacations, exercise, friends, family, yoga, tai chi, and meditation. Be with supportive others, share your feelings and breathe.
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Evelyn Schmechtig Cochran