What Situations Become Stressors?


What stressors are remains subjective as it varies from person to person. What may overwhelm and distress one may not be of much concern to another – the daily chores, relationships and conflicts, workplace challenges, traffic jams, honking and noise on the streets – not every imaginable stressor imply stress for every human.

Depending on the unique combination of personality traits, physical abilities, intellectual and cognitive abilities and the manner in which an individual utilizes these resources to acknowledge, understand and interpret the given situation determines their own unique stressors. What triggers one, may not trigger another. For instance, while going to the mall for shopping maybe a delightful idea for one it may be a reason for dread for another. More often than not, these differences in our distinctive compositions are overlooked and unvalidated by us and others around us.

While the daily stressors of chores, toxic work environment, demanding nature of jobs, long travelling distances for work, relationship conflicts, financial constraints, noise pollution are some of the common stressors and rather difficult to eradicate or escape from, there are some other forms of life stressor which may include:The death of a loved oneDivorceLoss of a jobIncrease in financial obligationsGetting marriedMoving to a new homeChronic illness or injuryEmotional problems (depression, anxiety, anger, grief, guilt, low self-esteem)Taking care of an elderly or sick family memberTraumatic event, such as a natural disaster, theft, rape, or violence against you or a loved oneOther than these external sources of stress, there are predisposed personality traits which are internal sources of stress and contribute in our perceptions and misrepresentations of the events that occur around us. Some of these internal triggers/ stressors causing extreme worry can be: Fear and uncertainty – intense of feeling of fear (e.g. the corona virus pandemic) and perceived lack of control over the situation (not knowing what is going to happen next). Attitudes and perceptions – whether you have a solution-oriented approach (e.g. if my car got stolen, the insurance company will pay for it) or ruminative (why did this happen to me, what will he/ she get out of causing me this harm) towards the given situation. Unrealistic expectations – while it is perfectly natural to have certain expectations however keeping them aligned with the given set of resources is they key to realistic expectations. Expecting a person or things to change miraculously or suddenly is known to be a significant cause of emotional distress. Change – Any major life change can be stressful – getting married, relocation or a job promotion.Even though stress is inevitable and an integral part of our lives, you have the key and control to manage it. Stress management is one of the key components to live a healthier, happier and functional life. Managing stress greatly contributes in interpersonal, occupational and intellectual functioning of an individual.