Anxiety, nervousness, tension, trauma, disorientation, excessive energy, worry. Stress is all of those things and all of us have experienced it. But what exactly is stress?
It’s anything that poses a challenge to your well-being. Stress is the mental, emotional and physical strain that results from all of those things listed in the first sentence above. Let’s call it “bad stress,” the kind that will make you very sick if you aren’t careful.
What are the symptoms?
Anguish, irritability, shortness of breath, hyperventilation, high blood pressure, insomnia, depression — none of which we need to live healthy and happy lives.
What causes stress?
One way to explain stress is to first identify the “stressors” — those irritating things that we can’t seem to brush off with a shrug. Noise, traffic, adverse weather, difficult working conditions, unpleasant people, taxes, arthritis and many, many other irritants.
How do you deal with stress?
Once you identify the stressors, dealing with them becomes manageable. Write them down. Get them in order starting with the biggest stressors and ending with the smallest ones. List possible solutions to each one. Too much noise? Close the window, turn off the television, use earplugs. Too much traffic? Take another route, ride the bus, leave earlier. A hurricane? Check your emergency list, board up the windows, leave town.
The point is, you can’t solve a problem unless you first understand what it is. If you can’t figure out what it is, then ask somebody who does understand it for help. You hold the keys. Use them.