Stress can be briefly described as the body’s response to, and adaptation to, threats or stresses of various kinds. These threats or stresses are the factors that trigger stress and they are for that reason with a common name called stressors.
Stressors can be of very different types – everything from physical factors in the environment, such as foods, sounds and light etc to social, economic, physical and psychological factors, such as demands placed on us in relationships with others, life events that affect us greatly or physical illness.
People perceive stresses and demanding situations in different ways. A situation that is stressful for one person is not for another. What determines whether a situation or aspect of the environment triggers stress has been shown by research into a number of factors.
The meaning of interpretation
More than you can believe, stress depends on our experience of the situation. How we assess and interpret a situation, and what demands we believe are placed on us and what resources we think we have in order to handle it. It is when we assess a situation as overwhelming that the stress reaction accelerates. People can differ greatly when it comes to interpreting situations – what one person experiences as unpleasant and frightening may appear to be a challenge to another. What influences our way of looking at things has its basis in past experiences and upbringing, where we laid the foundation for assumptions about ourselves and others, values, goals and requirements that we have on ourselves.
Stress – an imbalance between resources and requirements
Another cause of stress is when demands from the environment do not match – are in imbalance with – our resources and needs.
For the most part, you feel stress because the requirements are perceived as too great – but sometimes it can also be the opposite (for example, if you feel that your own resources will not be used, for example during unemployment or too simple tasks).
This is because we have various great actual resources to handle the situation. A person who is trained in a task does not become as stressed as someone who does the task for the first time. If you drive a car, you may remember how terribly stressful and difficult it was the first time, compared to how relaxed it feels after a few thousand miles of driving.
Another thing that affects is the actual opportunity that is given to us to influence our situation. This is perhaps most evident in working life and in situations where the fit between man and the environment is poor.
Research has shown that certain traits or behaviors of the person, so-called. personality factors, are related to stress and stress-related diseases. Based on their experiences, the concept of type A personality was coined. A type A man is characterized by high ambitions, competition focus and high demands on performance. The phenomenon has also come to be called “The hurry-sickness”, because these people are often at high speed, impatient and time-pressed – you do everything at high temp – go fast, eat fast, talk fast and have not patience waiting for others. Other typical traits are that they are easily irritated and close to aggressiveness.
Vulnerability factors and life events
Additional factors that contribute to stress, and how well you resist stress, are what can be called vulnerability factors. People are different susceptible to stress. To some extent, it is likely due to a congenital sensitivity to certain things, such as hypersensitivity to certain foods, hormonal disorders or infections easily. Some people also find it easier to respond with anxiety and anxiety in stressful situations.
Around us in our environment, things are constantly happening that threaten our equilibrium and require us to adapt. Some of these changes we are equipped to handle while others place very high demands on our adaptability. Many researchers have tried to put together tables of common life events, and the extent to which they contribute to our stress. Based on such tables, it is possible to predict to some extent the risk of being affected by a stress-triggered illness.
A selection of life events that can contribute to stress:
* Husband/spouse dead
* Personal injury or illness
* Marriage – own
* Get fired from work
* Relative illness
* Pregnancy – own
* Bigger change in the job
* Changing economic conditions
* Take a big loan
* Children moving from home
* Excellent personal performance
* Change of own habits