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  • Stress and Stressors Defined

    Many people are able to cope with stress very well. They know when to stop and take a deep breath. They either ask for help or look at what they’re facing in a different light.

     

    Unfortunately, we can’t just eliminate stress, but we can find ways to manage stress and even prevent it. Much of the stressors in life are self-imposed. When we don’t plan ahead, don’t eat right, go without sleep, or just procrastinate getting things done, we create stress. There are two types of stressors:

     

    • Acute stressors. These are things that pop up over relatively short periods of time. They include meeting a deadline, rushing through traffic, or working too much overtime. These are common stressors but we quickly regain our emotional balance in short order once the stressor is passed.
    • Chronic stressors. This is stress that lasts for a long period of time which can include illness, unemployment, or financial problems that linger.

     

    How we react to stress is key to how we manage stress.  Many people have unhealthy responses to stress.   An unhealthy response to stress can damage our health.  Overreacting is a form of stress.

     

    • Denial: No reaction is a bad reaction. The stress is stored away.
    • Avoidance: Do you side-step issues by using that energy on another problematic issue?  Avoidance includes overworking, busyness, passive entertainment such as substance abuse (alcohol, tobacco, food, etc.).

     

    Each of these things can and will make things worse. Getting to the bottom of a problem is the best way to deal with it. Although avoidance and denial give some relief, it is temporary. Over time, avoidance leads to distortions in perception. This clouds our ability to see the problem clearly.

     

    If you find that you are “masking” problems, talk to a professional counselor.  Work towards solutions, not avoidance.