Stress is part of the human condition. Depending on how you harness it, stress can be very beneficial or incredibly harmful. Research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and the American Institute of Stress indicate that most people find certain life events extremely stressful.
Here are the top five causes of extreme human stress identified by researchers.
1. Death of a loved one
This kind of loss, even when anticipated, is challenging and stressful. The void left by a loved one and even the loss of their company in a daily routine can be debilitating.
2. Financial difficulties
Money might not buy happiness, but a lack of it can cause extreme stress. People faced with foreclosure and bankruptcy reported the highest levels of it in this category.
Surprisingly, both the employed and the unemployed have been found to experience high levels of stress, whether associated with their steady work or a job search.
4. Personal relationships
Conflict or issues with partnerships, children, friends, family, or any other kind of personal relationship are often cited as large contributors to high stress levels.
All the aspects of a divorce, from the financial implications to the rift in familial and personal ties, make it a major life event akin to the loss of a loved one.
How to handle
The Mayo Clinic has acknowledged the serious health ramifications of poorly managed stress and has compiled a list of best practices to meet life’s challenges head-on, along with positive and effective stress-management tips. While not comprehensive, here are the top five.
Physical activity is not just for the athletes of the world. Getting moving is an amazing stress reliever and the endorphins released put our minds in a happier place. By refocusing on physical movements, overwhelming life events become a little more manageable. Whether you go for a bike ride, run, swim, or prefer to garden and get some housecleaning in, you will feel better for it.
Do not hole up and avoid family and friends. When you’re stressed, social connections can be a great stress reliever. For both distraction and support, stay connected — especially in times of extreme stress and crisis. Take the time to enjoy coffee with a friend, seek out your worship community, or simply volunteer.
Turning off your mind during stressful times can be a challenge, but putting in the time to snooze is vital. This is when the body recharges and determines what tomorrow looks like because it affects energy level, mood, and concentration.
Learning to say no and delegate tasks may not be easy at first, but automatically saying “yes” heaps up stress and is only compounded by the need to keep peace and harmony.
Sometimes it’s best to ask for help. Turning to a subject matter expert or a counselor can relieve stress effectively because someone is there to help solve the problem at hand.
Life will always throw obstacles in the way, but if you’re armed with the right tools to confront and handle them, life will be healthier and happier.