What is stress?
We all feel stressed from time to time. Stress is simply our body’s response to pressure that we believe we can’t cope with. There are many different situations and events that trigger stress. What triggers stress for one person may not be the same for another. Stress usually occurs in response to situations that are new, unexpected, difficult to control or threatening in some way. The things that trigger stress are called ‘stressors’. Stressors can be internal (e.g., physical illness) or external (e.g., time demands).
Other examples of common stressors include work and study demands, relationships, injury, important life events, and other day to day tasks that involve time pressures. Stress is not always ‘bad’. Positive events can also trigger stress. For example, planning a holiday or a wedding can be very stressful, even though it is something that you want in your life. Although it can feel uncomfortable, ‘good’ stress can also push us to achieve things and perform better. For example, when you study hard and do well on an exam.
We all deal with stress in different ways. Some people are able to manage stress effectively, whilst others are less likely to cope well. It is helpful to understand what triggers stress for you. Take a moment to think about the types of situations or events that leave you feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope. How do you tend to manage stress? Do you try to avoid the stress or approach it and solve the problem? Understanding your ‘go-to’ way of coping with stress is helpful when learning to mitigate the negative effects of stress.