How to Assess the Stressors in Your Life


Some people hardly know they’re under stress. They bite their fingernails, crack their knuckles, chew gum as if they were in the Olympic trials, and can’t sleep more than two hours at a time. But when asked how they feel, they’ll chirp, “Fine!” and never re­alize how stressed out they are. Then there are people who have to lie down for an hour (or tell three friends about it) if the cashier was rude to them in the supermarket or if a business colleague calls to change a lunch appointment at the last minute.

Most people can generally take things in stride, but on an off day, the least little thing can cause a major freak-out. Be prepared for these times and learn to recognize when you’re feeling on edge. People have varying stress tolerance levels—from situation to situation and from time to time. This is perfectly normal. Your job is to learn to recognize the things that always get to you, as well as how you feel when even ordinary bumps in the day are hard to cope with.

Assess Stressors

Change is one of the things that most people find extremely stressful. Even a little thing like a new hairdo can affect your self-perception for a few days while you wonder if it looks good. But major changes create major stress, which can make blood glucose act like it’s doing the jitterbug. Following are some of the things that create the most stress for most people, but remember that everyone is different so don’t feel as though you “have” to get stressed out when one or more of these things happen. By the same token, you don’t have to “grin and bear it” all by yourself. If you’re having trouble coping, get some professional help. It’s the mature, sensible thing to do.

  • A major personal loss. The feeling of loss does not necessarily have to arise from death or divorce; when a close friend moves away, the pain can be as acute.
  • Being hurt in an automobile accident or other traumatic injury. The more painful and long-lasting the injury, the greater the stress.
  • Life-threatening illness such as cancer or heart attack. It is stressful when this happens to a loved one or to yourself.
  • Changing jobs. This is stressful regardless of whether the change was your choice or that of your former employer. Being fired is not always more stressful than quitting.
  • Serious financial woes. The stress is compounded when your house mortgage is foreclosed or your car is repossessed.
  • Pregnancy and birth or adoption. This is a life-altering change that creates stress.
  • Trouble with the law. Committing a felony and going to jail is more stressful than committing a misdemeanor and being fined, but both are awful.
  • A big promotion at work, or any significant personal achievement. Again, stress does not have to be negative to be problematic.
  • Moving to a new house. The act of moving in itself is stressful. However, if you move away from loved ones, especially if you’re going to a town or city where you know no one, the level of stress may be even higher.

One other thing about assessing stress: Sometimes you can feel it even when you’re not consciously aware of being stressed. If you’re getting more headaches than usual, if you have a stiff neck or sore muscles for no reason, if you find that you’re breathing rapidly and shallowly or grinding or clenching your teeth, or if you’re suddenly tired all the time, you’re probably under stress, and this would be a good time to look at what’s going on in your life—and take steps to change what you don’t like.

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Related posts:

  1. How to Banish Stress in your Life
  2. How to Cope with Stress When You Have Diabetes
  3. How to Take Charge of Your Life
  4. How to Be Stress Free at Work
  5. How to Develop a Positive Attitude with Diabetes

Filed Under: Health & Personal Care

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About the Author: Andrew Reinert is a health care professional who loves to share different tips on health and personal care. He is a regular contributor to MegaHowTo and lives in Canada.

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