When we think about stress we often think about a heavy workload. But stressors in our private life can be just as compromising as our work stress. Stress may come from debt, relationship problems, disease or even from very abstract things such as feeling a lack of purpose, or feeling uncertain about whether you have taken the right decision. Today we want to pinpoint the most common sources of personal stress and see how we can deal with them.
Stress is an intrusion on your peaceful existence. All of us strive to have orderly and peaceful lives. We tend to develop well when we get into certain routines. Parents often find that their children will behave much better when they have a set routine than if everything is pandemonium in the household. Routines give a child a feeling of security, which is the one thing that a child wants most of all.
Many people will complain that their kids are unruly and do not want to go to bed on time. For many it escalates into screaming at their kids to go to bed or threatening their kids with punishment if they do not go to bed.
The entire “go to bed” issue can be avoided if the parents simply set a bedtime routine. Milk and cookies. A bedtime story, being tucked in, a kiss on the cheek and lights switched off. Every night. The children know what to expect and actually end up looking forward to bedtime. This gives children an added sense of security, something that they really need in their lives.
We all want to feel safe and secure, but as we get older, we realize that we cannot always count on things being the same. We experience different incidents in our lives that turn our world upside down and cause us to feel stress. Most of these incidents we cannot control, others we can control to a certain degree. Some of us are fortunate enough not to experience these stressors until adulthood. Others experience stress as young children.
When there is happening some change in our routine from what we consider to be normal, our minds will interpret this unknown future as a potential stressor. The amount of stress will be related to the amount of threat our mind is feeling. Some common causes of stress are the following:
Death of a loved one
This can be a spouse, parent, child or friend. Death is part of life, but the death of a loved one is something that causes significant stress. Our hearts are broken as we grieve for our loved one and our lives are seriously disrupted. This is something which we can do little about, unfortunately, and also something we all have to deal with, sooner or later. Many people recover soon from this stressor and continue with their lives, others are grieving for a long time. The death of a loved one can cause a number of serious illnesses that we take on ourselves, including depression.
The death of a child is probably the worst pain anyone can endure and some people never fully get over it. Others do manage to get over the pain for the sake of others around them. A sense of purpose and usefulness for other people around can help to overcome the loss. However, this is one stress factor that can be quite devastating to some people.
Even in the case that you are glad to get rid of your ex-spouse, divorce is a major stressor in our lives. In addition to causing you to feel stress, it can also stress out your children. Many couples are so wrapped up with their own emotions during a divorce that they fail to notice the impact of the situation on their children. Chances are that the kids are feeling quite a bit of turmoil, even if they are too young to understand what is really going on. In fact, younger children can experience even more stress than older children in the case of their parent’s divorce because they cannot put their emotions into words, nor can they understand that daddy or mommy going away has nothing to do with them. A young child tends to feel such a loss as a personal rejection.
A child who experiences the trauma of his or her parents’ divorce will feel stress. In some cases, the stress may manifest itself in a number of psychological disorders, including anxiety. The child has lost their most important point of reference and no longer feels safe, so he or she will come up with a way to alleviate the stress and retain some sort of control, trying to get attention by being silly and unruly, or even developing a disorder such as anorexia.
A divorce is always a traumatic event, because it involves feelings of rejection, and it breaks down human links that you considered to be a safe haven on earth. Somebody should consider very closely whether it is worthwhile to pass through such a traumatic event, or whether there may be some ways to restore the relationship. A counselor may be able to help you to look at things in a more objective manner, to understand the viewpoint of the other side, and to develop strategies to generate mutual respect and understanding.
In case that a divorce is really inevitable, be sure to take your due time to heal from the wounds that were caused by the separation. Allow yourself some time off to deal with the traumas that are left. If possible go for a vacation to a place where you are able to process things more calmly. Go a bit easier on your workload, and consider if you can be released for a while from some of your responsibilities in case that you are in a leadership position. Look up some good friends with whom you can talk, and if needed ask for professional help to deal with processing the traumas of your crisis.
Even if you are moving from a shack to a palace, this is still stressful. It may be a happy occasion, but it is still a disruption of your routine. And any disruption of your routine causes stress. Moving disrupts the entire family. And it is a real pain in the neck. Plus you have to deal with the packing.
Everyone hates moving. Packing up all of your belongings and then unpacking them is just a hassle. Very few of us are fortunate enough to be able to have someone do all of this labor for us so it tends to be stressful. However, even if we do not have to lift a finger, moving is still a disruption of our normal routine.
It will take a while before you can get established into your new home. You also need to get used to your new environment, figure out where to do shopping, and finding new friends in your neighborhood. Until you do, you should try to maintain as much of your usual daily routine and rituals as possible, especially if you have children.
Any type of major illness is a significant stressor for the entire family. One person being ill does not just affect that person, but everyone around him or her. A major illness is one of the worst stressors we can endure as it can go on for years, taking its emotional toll on everyone around. If you are dealing with a potentially terminal illness like cancer, you are dealing with a huge amount of stress, dealing with feelings of anxiety about possibility of imminent death.
Some people who experience a major illness enter into depression. This is usually due to the dramatic change in their life. Sometimes family members can be affected by the stress of dealing with the sick, which could lead even them to depression, or some kind of escape mechanism in form of dependencies.
Lack of finances can be stressful. If you cannot figure out how to pay the bills, if some emergency arrives and you have no means to resolve it, if the costs are rising but the salary does not correspond, this can cause quite a bit of stress.
Avoid taking loans and paying in installments whenever you possibly can. Purchasing a new car on an installment plan is easy and convenient, but making ends meet when paying back, can become very stressful. Not to speak about the financial turmoil in case you are losing your job.
Sometimes finances can get out of control because of overspending. Adjusting the budget and knowing how to economize can in many cases balance the finances. If you set a financial goal and tighten your belt now, then you’ll find that the money stress eases. This might mean that you have to give up wasting money in areas that aren’t imperative to your needs, such as paying almost $5 or more for a cup of coffee.
It might also mean that you need to stop spending money on eating out. It’s cheaper and healthier to eat at home anyway. With the money that you save by not eating out or spending on impulse buys, you can pay off debt, start a savings account and eventually have the money to do what you wanted to do for a long time.
There are situations though where there is no easy solution to the financial turmoil and professional help may be necessary to deal with the resulting stress.
In addition to being humiliating, the loss of a job can throw you into financial turmoil. Losing a job often results in depression as well as anxiety. Not only did your self-esteem take a hit, but you are also worried about money. You will probably experience stress until you get a new job or reconcile yourself to the fact that you will have to get by on less money.
Until you get your bearings, you will face a disruption in your lifestyle as well as your financial status. The uncertainty that surrounds getting another job also affects us when it comes to stress. Losing a job and having to find another job can be stressful.
Living in large cities involves several stressors, like noise, traffic, pollution, fear of assaults, hectic rhythm of life, and the simple fact of lacking the relaxing influence of nature around us. Even if you have to commute to town for work, setting up your home in the country can do a lot to relax your mind at the end of the day.
Traffic in the large cities can be stressful. Traffic jams can be especially stressful if we need to get to an appointment in time. And hectic traffic around us as well as stressed out drivers being impatient, will have its toll at anybody needing to navigate under those circumstances.
Living in high crime areas can be also stressful. Not knowing whether you will suffer an assault the next time you leave home can keep you quite apprehensive. And any kind of dubious face crossing your way will make your stress hormones rise.
Relationship Problems can be a big stressor. Abusive relationships, sometimes even involving physical abuse, can be hard to deal with. Addictions are another problem that can cause a lot of strain on a relationship. Those are situations that may need help from outside to try to resolve the situation. Divorce sometimes seems to be an easy way out, but it should be a last resort, since any separation of an intimate relationship involves lots of stress by itself.
Technology and information overload are increasingly perceived as a burden in our lives. The fact that we are reachable wherever we are makes us more stressed at the end of the day. Many expect companies to respond to their email within an hour, and we need to catch up with Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram and other messenger services. We want to keep up with the life of our friends on Facebook and Instagram and many get addicted to the diversions that are all around on social media. If we search for some topic on Google, the wealth of information available to almost any topic we want to know is just overwhelming. And that we spend several hours a day in front of the television is considered as part of our live. All of this keeps our minds busy with an unnatural amount of stimulus around us, and impedes us to simply rest and relax.
These are just a few of the major stress factors that we as a society face. There are other things that can lead to stress, but these are the most common stressors in our private life.
In some way, even happy events such as the birth of a child, marriage, or even a new job can lead to stress. Even though these are joyous occasions, they are stressful. Why? Because they disrupt our set out common routine.
Are you sensing any sort of pattern here with regard to stress? Each of the aforementioned stressors all has one thing in common – they disrupt our lives. We don’t like to have our lives disrupted and when it happens, even if it a good disruption, passing through the adaptation phase is causing us stress. We are going to experience stressful situations throughout our lives. How we handle those situations will determine how well we can manage stress. There are both good ways and bad ways to manage stress.
Identifying stressors is not always so easy. While some of us can point to different stress factors that have occurred recently in our lives, others have no idea why they are stressed. In some cases, the original stressor can be something that happened in your childhood and left you insecure. For example, an abuse can create negative thought patterns that can be a stressor remaining until the adult age. In such cases, a Psychologist may be able to help you out to identify the original cause of your stress.
Once you have identified your stressor, you can work on removing the cause. This often helps already to bring your stress under control. But not always there is an immediate solution to the problem. In this case, you need an all-inclusive approach to stress management. If you need to figure out how to manage your stress the most effective way, download now your copy of The 10 Minute Guide to Stress Management.
Do you need a guide to help you understand how to cope with Stress in an all inclusive approach? Learn how to combat stress, mentally, physically, emotionally and strategically in your life.
Martin Neumann was trained for Lifestyle Interventions in 1998 at Wildwood Lifestyle Center & Hospital. Since then he has lectured in different parts of the world about a healthy lifestyle and natural remedies. He is the founder of the Abundant Health website.