Types Of Stress


Types of Stress


Life Stressors


We experience many sources of stress every day which are sometimes referred to as “the hassles of daily living.” We may be so overwhelmed that we often take stress, tension, and drama in our lives for granted, almost as if there was little or nothing we could do about it.

Since any type of change which generates fear can be seen as a potential threat thereby triggering an increase in our stress levels, becoming more aware of how our stress system works is a first step in moving towards a better quality of life.

Do any of the following stressful or anxiety provoking situations apply to you or sound familiar? Answering “YES” to any of these questions can be an early warning sign that you may be experiencing undue stress in your life as well as its negative consequences:

  • Relationship Stress: Do you find yourself continually exasperated by the actions and behaviors of those close to you such as a spouse, family member, or someone whom you are dating? Do you experience stress or anxiety due to differences in beliefs and values of those close to you? Do you ever worry because someone close to you engages in “risky” behaviors or activities? Are you constantly angry with or hurt by the behaviors or words of a loved one?  Are you sad, lonely, frustrated or on edge because of a relationship or the lack of one?
  • Family Stress: Do you regularly get into arguments with family members? Do you have a running feud with a family member or “formerly” close friend? Does sibling rivalry play a larger than life role in your family? Do you experience stress interacting with extended family members? Do you feel pressured to conform to expectations within your family context? Do you ever experience guilt, sadness or disappointment surrounding dealing with family issues? Are there important or critical family issues which need to be discussed but have been systematically avoided, for example physical, mental, or emotional abuse?
  • Caregiver Stress: Are you ever overwhelmed by your role as an eldercare guardian? Are you experiencing burnout from being emotionally and physically drained by your caregiving responsibilities? Are you sad, depressed or grieving as you helplessly watch your loved one’s health decline? Are you experiencing emotional turmoil surrounding family conflicts which may arise surrounding a Will, Health Care Proxy or other Estate planning issues? Are you stressed out knowing the consequences should the person you are caring for has no Will or Estate Plan or is currently “incompetent” and therefore may die intestate – without a Will.
  • Parenting Stress: Do you ever find yourself stressed out trying to juggle your child care responsibilities? Have you ever experienced anxiety, worry, and disappointment due to the difficulty of finding a reliable and responsible babysitter? Have you ever found your anxiety and stress levels rising while at work due to concerns about your children’s safety? Do you ever feel stressed due to the amount and type of homework your child brings home? Do you ever worry whether your child will perform well on his or her exams in school? Do you ever worry or feel exasperated by the changes you see in your teenage daughter or son? Do you ever feel afraid or worry that your son or daughter won’t perform well on standardized tests such as the P.S.A.T. or the S.A.T.?
  • Test Taking Anxiety: Do you ever get anxious thinking about an upcoming exam? Or, do you ever worry excessively about the consequences of failing an exam or test? Are you a student looking for an “edge” as you prepare for the P.S.A.T., S.A.T., L.S.A.T., G.R.E., M.C.A.T., or N.C.L.E.X. exams? Are you aware that students who are able to manage their exam anxiety by proactively handling their stress generally perform better than those who do not? Are you a law school student looking for an “edge” as you prepare for the Bar exam? Or, perhaps you’re a nursing student seeking to find an “edge” as you prepare for your R.N. exam? Alternately, if you have a job which requires you to pass an exam for promotion or in order to keep your current position, this fact may be causing you worry and undue stress unless you have tools and techniques to keep them at bay.
  • Job Stress: Does your head start to ache at the thought of showing up for work on Monday mornings or finding out that you have to work late at the last minute? Or, does the thought of having to make a workplace presentation scare you or cause you to feel anxious? Or, do you have to deal with a co-worker or boss who is a bully or jerk, or believes that being rude or crude is OK? Or, do you have a job where you cannot receive a promotion unless you pass an exam or worse still, if you fail such an exam, are you afraid of being fired, demoted or being involuntarily transferred? Are you fearful and stressed out that your ability to make a living is in jeopardy because the final deadline for passing your professional licensing exam is fast approaching? Or, are you fearful and stressed out because your professional credentials are about to expire and you have test taking anxiety?
  • Commuting Stress: Does being stuck in traffic tend to drive you “nuts” or make your blood pressure rise so that you are close to a state of “road rage”? Or, do you often decide not to go somewhere out for fear of getting frustrated in a traffic jam or stuck in gridlocked traffic? Do you continually daydream about having less than a 15 minute commute to work instead of your current lengthy commute?
  • Jetlag and Travel StressHave you ever felt totally exhausted or drained after crossing time zones? Have you ever felt stressed out after rushing to the airport and waiting on multiple lines, only to find out that your flight has been cancelled or delayed? Have you ever been stressed out due to traveling with young children or an infant child while simultaneously having to attend to their needs and either keep your eyes on the road or gather them all together for a “mad” dash to make a flight, train, or bus? Do you experience anxiety surrounding packing for a trip? Or, do you worry whether you’ll remember to pack “everything you need” for a trip? Do you have a hard time falling asleep or find it impossible to fall asleep during your first night is a “strange” city or new hotel room? Does it take you days or weeks to fully recover from a business trip or leisure travel even though you found it productive or fun? Have you ever experienced the sinking feeling of finding out that your airline has just lost your luggage? Have you ever experienced the frustration of missing a connecting flight yet your bags made the flight?
  • “Pleaser” Stress: Do you ever feel stressed or anxious due to your inability to say “No” to the requests of others? Even when honoring their requests causes you hardship? Are you overly concerned about making sure everyone always “feels good”? Do you feel responsible for others having a “good time” in social settings? Do you spend an inordinate amount of time trying to insure that everyone is “OK” or that no one close to you experiences upset? Do you ever feel guilty for not foreseeing or preventing conflict or arguments from erupting in a group or family setting? Are you super conscious of the needs of others but less conscious of your own needs? Do you regularly deny yourself pleasure while simultaneously making sure that the needs of others are taken care of despite your own needs and wants?  Are your relationships all about giving without any considerations of reciprocity?
  • Burnout Stress: Do you feel overwhelmed, irritable, or tired all the time? Have you over-scheduled work, home, school, religious, community or social activities? Have you been diagnosed with or do you suspect that you may have symptoms of PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), a massive sleep deficit, or some major underlying emotional conflict which is experienced as turmoil within the psyche?

Burnout is often just a symptom that something major needs to be corrected in your life.  For any of these situations, it’s important to first consult your health care provider and/or therapist in order to determine whether there may be any underlying disease state issues you need to deal with. Regardless of this assessment, reducing and/or dissolving your stress is a good idea since this may lessen your levels of frustration as well as your allostatic loads—your stress is reduced and your levels of resiliency and stress hardiness increase, and therefore you may be more likely to make better choices since your mind may be clearer as you examine your situation from various angles.