Many causes of stress exist. In what follows, you will learn about different kinds of stress, including the distinction between extrinsic and intrinsic forms of stress.
Situations or events that cause you stress are called, “stressors.” We often think of stress resulting from negative and unhappy situations and events, but even happy, positive things can result in stress.
Stress occurs when your body must respond to something that happens to you or in your environment (extrinsic factors), or when your body is affected by your internal thoughts and beliefs (intrinsic factors).
In other words, sometimes your stress is related to things going on and happening around you, but other times, your mind can be your source of stress.
This stress may be for a short period such as when you have to meet your new boyfriend's family for the first time, or when your child jumps out from behind the sofa and scares you out of your wits.
Fortunately, stress that lasts for a short period does not usually cause long-term health effects. However, stress that never goes away and is prolonged, is more likely to cause health problems.
Examples of extrinsic causes of stress include:
Loud rooms – Think of the last time you went somewhere loud. Loud noises can be a source of stress as you cannot fully relax, and it causes your heart rate and blood pressure to increase. Studies have found that people who live beside airports experience higher blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease if left unchecked.
Crowded or messy rooms – Not having enough room to do something or move around, can be stressful. A good example of stress is trying to work in a messy and crowded kitchen that has no room on the countertops.
Unexpected increases in your rent, or an unexpected home repair
Unexpected automobile expense
Getting married – Although this is a happy time, it involves a big change in your life. It also comes with deadlines and the need to prepare and plan for the wedding.
Buying a house – With this, comes the stress of searching for a house, putting in purchase offers, and packing. Sometimes, the thought of leaving the only home you have ever lived in, can bring a lot of stress.
Having a baby – Again, this is a happy time. However, it also comes with pain during labor and delivery, loss of sleep, and many new things to learn about parenting.
Death of a friend or family member
Difficult boss or co-worker – You may notice symptoms of stress such as anxiety, increased heart rate, and so forth.
Job loss – Loss of income and inability to pay your bills, can be a huge source of stress.
Fight with a friend or spouse
Going through a divorce – All the uncertainty, custody struggles, and costs related to paying legal fees can create stress.
Often, these extrinsic causes of stress can also lead to intrinsic sources of stress.
Examples of intrinsic stressors include:
Negative thoughts and being pessimistic – Joy and laughter increase your sense of well being, however negativity steals from it.
Being a perfectionist – If you are not happy with anything but perfect, it can be difficult to be happy with yourself and with others around you if they do not meet your expectations.
Being fearful and anxious – Anxiety and fear over a situation that has happened, will happen, or may happen (whether real or perceived), can raise your pulse rate and blood pressure.
Not being assertive – If you are unable to tell people how you feel or are unable to say “no” to things that come up, this will make your stress level increase.
In summary, causes of stress can be broken down into extrinsic and intrinsic forms. Identifying the type of stress you are experiencing, can be key to beginning to manage your stress.
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