Stress is the body's reaction to a variety of internal and external stimuli. Things that trigger a reaction may include: marriage, divorce, death of a loved one, illness in the family, moving to a new place or city, or changing jobs. Note that happy as well as sad events may trigger stress. It is when your body reacts that you notice the symptoms of stress. Stress can trigger negative and positive reactions. In a situation where you strive for perfection, constantly putting pressure on yourself to achieve you may suffer a negative stress reaction. On the brighter side, you may be motivated or become highly productive and achieve more than you otherwise would.
Stress becomes harmful when it produces physical reactions. Your body will release hormones and chemicals that accelerate your heart, lungs, muscles, or other organs. This response may be protective such as an adrenaline rush helping you get through a time of danger. This reaction subsides after a short period of time. If you are stressed for long periods of time and chemicals/hormones are continually released into your bloodstream, it creates wear and tear on the mind-body connection.
The following examples of life changing events were taken from a stress assessment called the "Holmes and Rahe Scale." The most stressful events are highest on the list.
Other traumatizing events include such natural disasters as floods, fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, terrorism, or a homicide in your community.
See the lists at Stress: Signs and Symptoms.
The following self quiz may help you to identify some of the signs of stress in your life or those around you.
If you answered yes to four of the eight questions, you may want to use some of the following strategies to help you deal with the extra stress in your life.
This exercise is simple and provides relief from stress. You should do it twice a day preferably before breakfast and after dinner. Take a "breath."
Other coping strategies include: