What Your Stress Triggers Say About You

Jerry Kennard Health Pro
  • Life is stressful, but what triggers your stress reaction may well be very different to the person sitting next to you. Your stress triggers tell us something about your stress type, so in this Sharepost I'm going to unpack four of the more common stress triggers and the way your health may be affected as a result. They are not necessarily exclusive and you may even recognize one or more in yourself or others!


    Trigger 1: Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone.


    Most of us have what can be described as a comfort zone. The more introverted we are the smaller and more constrained that comfort zone tends to be. This is a fairly common scenario for anxious people. They typically prefer to be outside the center of attention and if pushed forward, will retreat inside their shell and try to avoid similar situations in the future. We know that anxiety is linked to a number of health issues. Stress can trigger underlying health conditions such as eczema or if chronic can lead to heart conditions and general run down of the immune system leaving the person more exposed to infection and delayed recovery.

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    Trigger 2: Unpredictability and Change.


    Self management and self control are good things but we live in a world of changing deadlines and priorities. To the person who is self-reliant and conscientious any disruption to their well organized day can be highly stressful. Working parents, for example, often juggle their day around a number of competing needs and requirements. They usually have a built-in system of fall-back plans but this can only stretch so far in a day packed with events.


    The type of person often prefers to do jobs themselves because they know they will be done to a standard and within a time frame they believe will save further problems. To an extent this may be true but it does place the onus of all responsibility on their shoulders. Then, at what may appear the whim of someone in authority, the schedule changes. To cope with the sudden and unexpected change the person tries to absorb the change and works harder. They internalize their stress because they aren't the type of person to speak out or cause disruption.


    This type of person is in danger of developing a state of chronic stress. They bottle their emotions and feel physical ailments in terms of headaches, backache and stomach upsets. They may find their blood pressure elevates and over time may even find they are prone to anxiety attacks.


    Trigger 3: Lack of Acknowledgement or Recognition.


    Some people regard their work as stressful, complex and poorly recognized. In turn they frequently interpret events in a negative way and can become quite cynical or bitter. Interestingly this same person is often quite passionate about their work and may have worked or studied hard to get to where they are. The down side of their personality is that they can be fairly emotional and critical which leads others to indulge them for fear of causing further upset.


    When this person's already upsetting world applies further pressure they can explode into a rage. The smallest things can trigger irritation and barely contained rage. They may not realize just how aggressive their frustrated outbursts or stroppy behavior can appear to those around them.


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    Negative thinking and pessimism has a detrimental effect on long term health. More immediate effects may be manifest in tics, or habits such as nail biting or hair-pulling.


    Trigger 4: Boredom


    Yes, boredom can be very stressful and more so if you're an adrenaline junky. Finding yourself stuck in a dull and repetitive job is a living nightmare for people who crave action and adventure. This doesn't just affect people in manual jobs. Boredom, or the sense of being trapped or stuck in the mud, can lead many business people to make risky and sometimes reckless decisions. For some people stress is viewed as something to thrive on and anything lacking stimulation, danger or risk, is something to avoid.


    The health implications for boredom may vary. Some people smoke, drink too much alcohol or use drugs. Others may involve themselves in high risk sports or activities (legal or otherwise) including sexual activities. For the person so ‘wired' for activity there is an imbalance in their lives. Activity should be interspersed with periods of quiet reflection and calmness in order for the body and mind to relax and restore some of its vital functions.

Published On: April 12, 2010