Stress and Stressor
What’s the Difference?
Deadlines, work issues, panic attacks and excitement?! Which demonstrates stress and which demonstrates a stressor? Every experience you encounter has the potential to cause you some type of stress. Did you know that stress is the body’s natural mental, emotional, and behavioral reaction to changes and challenges in your environment? Those changes and challenges are called stressors. Those events, situations, (dare I say) people, etc. are the external factors (stressors) that cause stress. Everyone experiences stress and not all stress is bad. There are two types of stress eustress (positive) and distress (negative).
Knowing and understanding the difference between stress and stressors can be beneficial and empowering. Stress serves an important purpose; it’s the body’s way of letting you know that something is different. Stress allows your body to become hyper alert to dangers and changes in your environment that may or may not become a threat. This is important to know because although stress is the body’s way of detecting dangers; it’s beneficial for you to know and understand those external stressors need to be monitored. Being aware of what causes you stress, allows you to make a plan of action. Mindful alertness of those people, places and things that may be stressors for you, gives you the opportunity to manage the duration of your stress levels.
The most influential theory of stress and coping was developed by Lazarus and Folkman (1984) who defined stress as resulting from an imbalance between perceived external or internal demands and the perceived personal and social resources to deal with them.
Here are some ways to manage and cope with the stress and stressors in your life:
- Learn, study and practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, stretching, and/or yoga.
- Set boundaries and live by them. The more you learn what you need to maintain and protect your mental health and well-being the better you will be at showing others how to mind your peace and space. (Ha! Re-read that last statement)
- Create and maintain a health balance of eating and drinking. Your mind and body needs you to take extra care of how your treat them. Get regular check-ups at the doctor’s office and find a therapist that works for the goals you want to accomplish.
Mental health is important! Take time each day to take care of yours.