Know your stressors

External exasperations
External stressors are events and situations that happen to you. While you may have control over some of these stressors and how much you let them affect you, there are times when they extend beyond your control. Some examples include:

            Major life changes. These changes can be positive — a new marriage, a planned pregnancy, a promotion or a new house. Or they can be negative — the death of a loved one or going through a divorce.

            Environment. These stressors could include a noise disturbance, such as a barking dog, or excessive light, as from a billboard across the street.

            Unpredictable events. This category could include an increase in monthly bills, an uninvited houseguest or a pay cut.

            Family. The occasional spousal spat, a teenager who refuses to cooperate or a nagging mother-in-law can all contribute to stress.

            Workplace. Perhaps an overwhelming workload or an impossible boss.

            Social. For example, a blind date or making a speech to a room full of co-workers.

Internal irritations

Not all stress stems from things that happen to you. Some of the stress response can be self-induced. Those feelings and thoughts that pop into your head and cause you unrest are known as internal stressors. Examples include:

            Fears. These can be things, such as a fear of flying or heights, or more-subtle apprehensions such as participating in a discussion with a group of strangers at a meeting.

           Uncertainty. Stemming perhaps from a looming restructuring at the office or waiting for medical test results.

            Attitude. Having a negative view of the world can be stressful, since you create an unpleasant environment in which to live.

            Unrealistic expectations. A perfectionist or controlling personality may lead to unnecessarily high stress levels. Overscheduling and not planning ahead can lead to worries.

Stress is here to stay

Not a day in your life goes by without encountering a situation or event that may trigger stress. And that’s OK. By identifying and understanding the sources of your stress, you learn to better manage it. So what stresses you out?