• What Causes Stress?

     
     
     
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    6/24/2012

    Stress can be caused by anything that requires you to change or respond to your environment. The things that make you feel stressed are called “stressors.”  These may be minor inconveniences (for example, traffic or time limitations) that add up, or they may be life-changing events (for example, a serious illness). While we often think of stressors as negative changes, keep in mind, stressors may even be positive changes, such as a wedding, a new job or promotion, or a move.

    Most people experience a combination of all types of stress in their lifetime. However, a stressor that causes one person to feel stressed may not bother another person, because we all react to stress differently.

    Studies have revealed several major stressors that are associated with an increase in heart disease risk.  They include:

    • job or financial strains
    • marital strain or divorce
    • social isolation, including loss of a loved one and depression 
    • personality traits, such as type A “perfectionist” personality, anger and hostility, and anxiety
    • a pessimistic outlook 

    Although you can’t always control what happens to you in life, it is possible to control how you react to stressors. Sometimes people react to stress with anger, fear, anxiety and irritability, which makes a bad situation worse. While it is not easy, studies suggest that approaching stressors with a more positive outlook and finding healthy ways to routinely relieve the tension that all stressors inevitably cause is a healthier way to manage stress.