Susceptibility to Stress

How you deal with life’s stresses is dependent on a number of factors:

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  • How many problems do you have? The more you have, the more likely it is that you succumb to anxiety disorders.
  • How emotionally strong are you? Do you have self-doubt, low self-esteem and are self-critical? If so, you are less likely to cope with your emotional load.
  • How much pressure are you under to do well and be a high achiever? The more pressure you are under, the higher the risks of buckling under and not coping. Some people develop an eating disorder.
  • How physically strong are you? If you are weak, it makes you more susceptible to worries and fears and you feel unable to take control and cope.
  • How frequently do things happen to upset your plans that are outside your control? Examples include bereavement; redundancy; being flooded; having a house fire; becoming chronically sick or seriously ill; being unemployed; having a member of your family become very sick, and the company with which you booked your holiday becoming bankrupt. Smaller annoyances can include being made late for work because of a train cancellation, temporary illness and a colleague not pulling his or her weight.
  • How well equipped are you to deal with life’s unexpected events? Are you efficient or disorganised? Can you quickly change things round to minimise the effects of what has happened? Do you have a strong social network? Are you willing to accept support from others? Do you give up easily? Do you do things in a rush and make matters worse because you have not thought things through?
  • What are your expectations? Are your goals set too high? Perhaps you make life harder for yourself because of silly rules. Does everything have to be done in a certain way or can you rethink your lifestyle to suit your current needs? Do you set yourself unrealistic targets and feel a failure because you cannot keep to them?
  • Have you let go of the past? Or do you carry on regretting things you have regretted a score of times or more before? Does the past still haunt you? Do you grieve for the childhood you never had? Do you now grieve for the life you haven’t got? The above information has been extracted from Take Charge of Your Future Banish Your Past (Elliot Right Way Books).
    • Things to help reduce stress
      If you know you get stressed, listen to the warning signs your body gives you to tell you that it is getting uncomfortable (such as loss in appetite, headaches, tense muscles, sleep problems) and then take steps to reduce it before it becomes a major problem. The more stressed you are, the less able you are to cope with everyday hiccups.

      Get plenty of rest and exercise (which causes chemicals to be produced in your body that relax you) and eat regularly and well. Avoid food and drinks containing caffeine (chocolate, coffee, tea and cola). Learn relaxation techniques and practise relaxation sessions at least once a day when you know you are stressed.

      Deal directly with what is causing your stress if at all possible. Talk to someone about the problem and see if you can find an acceptable solution or compromise to keep your stress under control. If it is something that is happening at work, perhaps you can talk to your boss, another colleague or a personnel officer.

      Try not to take your problems to bed with you. If you are worried about forgetting a particular point, write it down so that it won’t be forgotten and you can pick it up again in the morning.

      Laughter is a good stress-buster, so try not to lose your sense of humour.

      If you feel your stress is getting out of hand, see your doctor.