This may occur when one’s survival or health is threatened, when one is under pressure, or when one experiences unpleasant or challenging events. Adrenaline is released under such circumstances and one experiences all the symptoms of preparing for 'fight or flight'.
Internally generated stress
This may be due to anxiety, worrying about events beyond one’s control, an approach to life which is tense and hurried, or by relationship problems caused by one’s own behaviour. It can also come from an 'addiction' to and enjoyment of stress
Such stress is caused by one’s living or working environment. These may include:
- Too much or too little work
- Having to perform beyond one’s experience or perceived abilities
- Having to overcome unnecessary obstacles
- Time pressures and deadlines
- Keeping up with new developments
- Changes in procedures and policies
- Lack of relevant information, support and advice
- Lack of clear objectives
- Unclear expectations of one’s role from one’s boss or colleagues
- Responsibility for people, budgets or equipment
- Stress from one’s organization or one’s clients:
- Pressures from one’s boss or from above in one’s organization
- Interference in one’s work
- Demands from clients
- Disruptions to work plans
- The telephone!
The food eaten may contribute to the stresses one experiences. Some examples of stressors are:
Caffeine: this raises levels of stress hormones, making it more difficult to sleep, and can make a person more irritable.
Bursts of sugar from sweets or chocolate: these can make one feel more energetic in the short term. However one’s body reacts to stabilize abnormally high sugar levels by releasing too much insulin. This causes a serious energy dip shortly after the sugar high.
Too much salt: this raises one’s blood pressure and puts the body under chemical stress.
One’s environment may be a source of unpleasant or distracting stimuli. These may come from:
- Crowding and invasion of personal space
- Insufficient working and living space
- Dirty or untidy conditions
Pollution: A badly organized or run down environment
Fatigue and overwork: Here stress builds up over a long period. This can occur when one tries to achieve too much in too little time, or when one is not using effective time management strategies.
Lack of Support systems: A lack of support systems or social interaction in general may be stressful to a susceptible person. Social situations such as family problems can be beyond the coping ability of a stressed person.
Personal and family stresses: These may include stress due to Financial problems, Relationship problems, Ill-health and Family changes such as birth, death, marriage or divorce.