5 Surprising Sources of Stress
By Sandy Schroeder
We already know stress is all around us. Sometimes we can feel it in the room, or see it on the faces of others, but there are other kinds of low-grade stress that may create more wrinkles over time, according to Scott Schieman, PhD, professor of sociology at the University of Toronto.
Schieman says these stressors may explain why you feel irritated or nervous. Recognizing them can help you cope. See what you think of this list from Health.com.
Possible Stress Triggers
Someone else’s stress – When a friend has a narrow escape on the freeway, or a colleague flounders with an assignment, we may pick up a little of the stress. Researchers say stress is contagious, which explains why you may feel stressed just watching someone else cope with life. You might feel anxious, wondering if the same car accident or chronic illness could happen to you.
Your partner or spouse – No matter how sublime your relationship is, there are bound to be irritants along the way that can range from annoying little habits like never completely closing cabinet doors, or much larger questions, like how to spend money or raise kids. If you keep communication lines open, practice give and take, and share what you value the most about each other, you are successfully coping.
Daily demands – We know we are supposed to let the small stuff go, but when the supermarket checkout line grinds to a halt, or we get one too many calls from our insurance company, it’s hard not to frown or make a snide comment. Usually these things slow us down and the ongoing daily pressures increase the stress impact. Telling yourself you are doing all that you can may help.
Chocolate and tea – We know coffee can make us more hyper if we are already on edge, but chocolate and tea can be strong offenders, too. A bar of dark chocolate or several cups of tea can also deliver a good caffeine jolt. Researchers say too much caffeine from any source can upset digestion, interfere with sleep and create irritability.
Your projections – We all project what will happen next, and what we want to happen. If those projections do not pan out some people get upset, others step back and come up with Plan B. Being able to stay flexible and move on can make a huge difference in your stress levels.
These are just a few of the ongoing stressors that we should recognize. Other stressors can be multitasking, watching your favorite sports, problems with digital devices or mixed messages in social media. Whatever you do, stay level and don't put yourself in a position to be sucked into the stress vortex.
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