A Main Cause of Stress is in the Eye of the Beholder

A main cause of stress is how you view the source of stress.

There are some people who seem immune to stress while others are sent into a tailspin of increasing stress.

This is because your thoughts, reactions, and ability to cope with these changes influence your emotional reactions that can strain your mind and body.

Your thoughts have the potential to blow an insignificant or inconsequential event out of proportion and produce a physical stress response.

This is because the mind has the potential to put its own interpretation on events.

For example, a person stuck in a traffic jam may become frustrated and angry at the long commute to work, while another may see this as an opportunity to listen to audio books or practice relaxation exercises.

This is one of the limitations of this famous stress questionnaire.

This stress test suggests that the main causes of stress are life events such as:

  • financial stress
  • poor relationships or overwhelming family responsibilities
  • health complaints
  • other major life changes.

But famous stress researcher Richard Lazaraus (1998) proposed that what causes stress usually depends less on these life events and more on the interpretation of them.

This means that the main cause of stress is "the qualities of the individual rather than aspects of the environment" (Rahe, 1979).

This means that one way to reduce the effects of stress on the mind and body is to adapt a more positive mental attitude in the face of stress.

Often, building stress resilience involves a number of strategies. These include:

  1. becoming aware of negative thinking

    Sometimes you are right in what you say and think to yourself. However sometimes you are wrong.

    This negative thinking:

    • increases stress
    • reduces self-esteem
    • destroys self-confidence.

    These cognitive therapy and positive thinking resources may be useful for you.

  2. learn relaxation skills

    Learning relaxation skills does a couple of things:

    • Relaxation techniques develop your skills in dealing with the stress response. They enable you to take control of stress.
    • A relaxed and alert mind is more aware of potential negative thinking distortions.
  3. develop a problem solving skill set

    Unresolved problems have a habit of rearing up and creating more stress.

    Rather than have the unresolved problem increase stress try this problem solving technique to explore options

  4. be proactive in combating stress

    Download a stress worksheet and identify your biggest causes of stress and develop systematic steps to reduce this stress.

  5. exercise aerobically

    Exercise reduces stress in a number of ways.

    Exercise uses up the stress by-products and the excess muscle tension that are common stress symptoms.

    Exercise also has the potential to distract you from your stress and releases endorphins (the body's natural feel-good chemicals) into your body.

  6. develop a good social support network

    A supportive social network allows you to express your feelings to others.

    Often talking out your causes of stress is a good start to clear your mind and body of potential stress build-up.

  7. have a sense of humor

    Humor can be difficult to find when stressed. But humor is probably one of the quickest ways to relieve stress.

    These pages on laughter therapy and laughter yoga provide you with resources to bring more humor into your life.

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