Understand better how you experience stress.

When we understand how we experience stress we put ourselves in a stronger position to reduce and navigate it more effectively. In turn, this helps us to lessen the negative impact it has on our lives.

These are the three main parts of how we experience stress:

  1. The first is the event (either emotional or physical) that we interpret as threatening in some way. These events can also be called stressors. Things such as job loss, bereavement, competing demands can all be stressors.
  2. The second part is the way in which our nervous system interprets the event or stressor. This can be impacted by our past experiences and present situation, feelings etc.
  3. The final part is our stress response. This means the way in which we change our thoughts, feelings (physically and emotionally) and behaviours change in response to the stressors.

What this means is that stress is an individual experience and what one person might experience as stressful isn’t always the same as what someone else will find stressful and the intensity of stress experienced will also vary. Our current situation, emotional and physical reserves, personality and history all have a part to play. Knowing this can help us to understand why what one of us might find incredibly stressful another person could find motivating.

When we understand how we experience stress we can dig a little deeper into our stressors and explore not only how to manage our stress response but how to reduce our exposure to those things that cause us to feel stressed in the first place.