April is National Stress Awareness Month. Two common definitions of stress are physical, mental, or emotional strain or tension and a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that demands exceed the personal and social resources that the individual can mobilize.
A small amount of stress can be a positive thing and provide one with a sense of energy and motivation. Understanding stress and identifying personal triggers is important to improving stress management and, in turn, improving one’s well-being.
Consider some of the following stressors and take time to identify some of your stress triggers. In each area, ask yourself, what is one thing in this area that causes me stress, and why do I feel like it is causing stress?
Common Areas of Stressors:
- Emotional stressors: Internal stressors that include fears, anxieties, and personality traits. These stressors are specific to individuals. Examples include worry over whether you’re doing a good job, making a good impression, perfectionism, sense of helplessness, or lack of control.
- Family stressors: Changes in a relationship, financial problems, parenting challenges, and taking care of a loved one
- Social stressors: Interactions within one’s community, including public speaking, social engagements, dating, parties/events. Like emotional stressors, these are individualized
- Change stressors: Important changes in one’s life, such as moving, starting a new job, expanding your family, and more
- Chemical stressors: Any drugs that a person uses, such as alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, opioids, and others and that may lead to abuse
- Work stressors: The pressure of constantly performing in healthcare, which can be influenced by expectations, management styles, hostile work environments, unpredictable situations, adverse outcomes, and more
- Physical stressors: Situations that overtax your body, such as working long hours without sleep, poor diet, standing all day with rounding, pregnancy, too much exercise, and lack of ergonomic support with procedures or surgery
Take some time to reflect on where stress is in your life because sometimes just recognizing it and calling it out can help you feel better.