Stress is a response of our body to the threats we perceive in our environment and the threats that arise in our minds (concerns and anticipations). The stress response is designed to last a short period of time since it is responsible for revolutionizing our entire body, mobilizing a lot of energy, changing the endocrine and hormonal functioning, altering the functioning of the body.
But in the 21st century, we live on a treadmill of stress where it accompanies us on a regular basis, is cyclical and can last us a long time (from months to years).And the problem is that the more time we spend living in “fight-flight” mode, the more we change the basic patterns of our body: breathing, the beating of our heart, the functioning of the immune system, that of the endocrine and reproductive systems, etc.
And those changes that can be temporary, if we do nothing, begin to create a pattern of functioning of the nervous system, which will influence our physical and mental life.But today I don’t want to talk to you about the consequences of stress. Today I come to share with you something different… the causes of stress.
The causes of stress
For psychology, the study of stress is very interesting because we can understand how what we think and feel has a direct effect on our body.After many decades of study, some authors focused on the situations that can lead us to experience stress.
And if we know nothing about stress, the first thing we will say is that it is caused by negative situations in life.But… what if I told you that apparently positive situations also cause us stress?You might not believe me, but it is.
The key to stress is not in the assessment we make of the event experienced (“good or bad”), but in the degree of threat we feel towards that situation and the assessment we make of the effort required to achieve a positive result.
Stressful Life Events
There are many situations that obviously cause us stress and discomfort, such as the death of a loved one, the loss of a job or even legal problems. But you will also have seen other situations that can potentially be stressful, such as becoming a father or mother, getting married, retiring, the empty nest, reaching a dream goal or even experiencing certain holidays of the year such as Christmas or vacations.
With this I want you to know that any situation in life that is challenging or to which we must adapt can potentially create stress. But the word “potentially” is important.And that word is so important because it will be answered with or without stress, depending on how the person interprets that event and the assessment that they will make of their resources to face these situations.
For example, getting married is a positive thing, but it requires a lot of preparations that can destabilize us. Something similar happens when we become parents… because our whole life will change and we will have to adapt. And when it comes to reaching our dream goals, sometimes we idealize reaching the goal and forget about the effort we will have to make to stay there.
But this depends on each person. That is why stress is unique in each person because it is produced by different things, it activates different fears and it also allows us to put into practice the coping resources that each one has learned throughout life.I invite you to reflect on those situations that have usually caused you stress and strive towards adequate management of your emotions.