Types of Stressors, Stress Triggers and Relaxation Techniques


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Stress is something everyone experiences.

Since there are many different types of stressors, it’s important to pinpoint where they are coming from so you can find sources of help and relaxation.

But just as each person is unique, so is their type and level of stress.

“Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping them up.”
― Jesse Jackson

Types of Stressors

All types of stress fall into 2 categories.

Acute stress occurs when there are situations such as your car breaking down or a relationship ending, things that don’t necessarily happen every day.

Chronic stress, on the other hand, is something you experience on a regular basis such as tight finances, co-worker frustrations or other problems that seem to never end. It leaves you feeling constantly overwhelmed and not able to keep up or handle everything.

Common Stress Triggers

You can’t stop stress (some of it is actually good), but you can identify your own stress triggers that may be similar to the examples listed below.

  • Financial – This happens when you are struggling to pay your bills, facing last minute expenses with no idea how to fit them in the budget, or are trying to get out of too much debt.
  • Work – This occurs when you bring work home with you, you have a job but don’t enjoy it, you don’t get along with a co-worker, or feel you don’t have enough time for anything but work.
  • Relationship – This usually happens with your family or children. It can stem from concerns about their health and safety, a divorce, or feeling like your personal life is not what you’d like it to be.
  • Time – This occurs when you feel you don’t have enough time to get things done or have very little down time to relax.

Identify Your Stress With A Journal

A common way to identify your stress triggers is to use a journal.

Record all of your thoughts and feelings each day, then look back on it for patterns and try to pinpoint people or situations that led to your increased stress periods.

Note Physical and Behavioral Changes

Your body might be responding with signs of the stress that you may not pick up on at first. Some are bad headaches, muscle tension, stomach aches, digestion issues, and lack of sleep.

When you know the physical signs of stress, you can then try to figure out what was going on just before you got those symtoms.

It’s also helpful to be aware of how your behavior changes in stressful situations. Were you angry, resentful, irritable? Try to narrow down why you think you behaved in a different manner.

For example, if you are suddenly not sleeping very well or are sleeping too much, try to think about what was happening on those days.

Write down these physical and behavior changes in your journal.

Be sure to look back on your entries often to discover what was causing your stress. You should be able to narrow it down after a bit of tracking.

Relaxation Techniques

In order to relieve the stress, you need to find healthy relaxation techniques that will work for you.

Just the simple act of journaling and releasing your feelings can be relaxing but there are many ways to relax depending on your lifestyle and interests.

Here are a few:

  • Bubble bath or hot tub soak – Just like that first “Ahhh” you say (and feel) when you get in, the warm water is soothing and helps release the tension.
  • Coloring – Choosing a page and a palette automatically gives you something else to think about. And the act of coloring itself is a calming zone of laying on and blending colors.
  • Humor – Who doesn’t need a good laugh? My personal philosophy is to try to get at least one laugh a day. It always makes me feel better! I’ve watched this show a couple times to get a laugh, Just For Laughs: Gags on FOX but they also have videos on YouTube.
  • Prayer and meditation – Talking to God, focusing and thinking on His Word and being still for just a few minutes a day can really help you to feel less burdened.  Using a prayer journal to record this time can also help you feel more hopeful.
  • Muscle relaxation and deep breathing – Mindfully focusing on relaxing various parts of your body or breathing deeply also keeps you in a better frame of mind.
  • Music – Singing or listening to music usually lifts your spirits. Even if you don’t feel like it, try it for a few minutes and see if it makes you feel better.
  • Walking, dancing or exercising – Just about any kind of movement is good for you, gets the endorphins in production and helps get your mind off the problem.

Don’t let stress overtake you! Track it, pinpoint it, release it, and kick it to the curb!

Here’s to less stress!


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