What factors lead to stress in life?
Stress is something that everyone has to deal with at some point in their life. In small quantities, it’s not even a bad thing. It can help you concentrate and keep you on your toes in challenging situations. But stress can quickly become chronic and become an issue affecting all areas of your health. This constant pressure can harm you, from your physical health to your mental well-being.
There is nothing you can do to prevent stress in some cases because it’s a natural response to fear. It’s your body’s way of protecting you in dangerous or difficult situations. But sometimes, your actions or mindset will determine how stressed you feel.
Many common human behaviors lead to stress. It would help if you learned how to identify them. Otherwise, you won’t be able to change them. But no matter which behaviors you engage in, there are ways to change your mindset and get rid of stress.
What Causes Lead to Stress?
Stress is a typical response to fear and other tense situations. It’s the default emotion the body goes to when it feels like it needs to protect you. Your body is trying to get you ready to face a threat, so it goes into “fight-or-flight” mode. In this state, some functions, like heart rate, are heightened, while other processes slow or even shut down.
This happens because the body aims to conserve energy and use it to get you away from the threat. This was very effective in the past when people had to run away from wild animals and other threats daily. Nowadays, people rarely need to run away from animals or enemy forces. But the body still perceives threats all the time. You will probably feel stressed when you have to present something at work. But this is not a general rule.
Cortisol Release Leads to Stress
Work, relationship issues, and financial issues are common factors that cause stress. But not everyone gets stressed by these things. Some people thrive on a busy schedule, and what stresses them out is not having any work to do. All the causes that trigger stress are called stressors. They are usually external but can be internal (caused by overthinking, anxiety, and more). These stressors stimulate the hypothalamus, which sends a message to the adrenal glands.
These glands are in charge of secreting the primary stress hormone, cortisol. This hormone can be helpful in small quantities. It helps you concentrate on the task at hand. It also improves the functions needed for the task while decreasing the activity of the tasks that aren’t used at that time. This way, it conserves energy and makes you more productive. But too much cortisol is bad for your health. Especially if you develop chronic stress, you will struggle with some side effects.
Because cortisol is such a powerful hormone, it can greatly affect your body. It heightens the activity of specific organs beyond a reasonable level. The increased heart rate and quick breathing will become issues. Some systems, like the reproductive system, are shut down when stressed. It’s best to avoid stressful situations altogether if you want to conserve your health.
3 Behaviors That Lead to Stress
Do you engage in these detrimental stress-inducing behaviors?
1. Overworking (and Work in General)
It’s no secret that if you want to make money in today’s society, you must work a lot. Some people might even need to work more than one job to survive. But some people just become workaholics because they are scared of relaxing. In both cases, people overwork and become stressed. But in the second case, it’s up to you to take a break.
When it comes to your job, it’s not just the amount t of stress that acts as a stressor. Job insecurity, dissatisfaction, and conflicts at the workplace are factors that stress you out. And sometimes, these destructive behaviors can be avoided. The behavior that’s easiest to avoid is the need to overwork.
Yes, you might be working overtime to suppress other issues you have. You might be aiming to use work as a way to forget about other issues. If, for example, you have family issues, working overtime can help you avoid them. It’s not always up to you if your work stresses you out or not. But it’s always up to you how you respond to certain externalities.
For example, it’s normal to feel trapped if your boss is a piece of work. But it’s up to you to accept the mistreatment or stand up for yourself. Work is necessary for everyone’s lives, but people have strange relationships. Not being satisfied with your job makes you disinterested and frustrated. Working too much can even make you perform worse. Nothing is good in excess, and you should try to have a balance no matter what you do.
2. Major Life Changes
You might be looking forward to potentially the best thing that will ever happen to you, but you still might get stressed. Change as a concept is scary that people would rather avoid, no matter if that change brings something good. Even people who get married can confirm that the prospect of getting married brings them more stress than they would ever have imagined.
Sometimes, this happens out of fear. It’s hard enough to adapt to your life as it is. If you add changes on top of that, it can become unbearable. People need stability and need to feel safe. And having a routine, something constant in their life, can soothe them. But, when they need to change that cozy stability, it can get very stressful.
But this doesn’t happen because of the change. The change might be the best thing to ever happen to you, and it can still stress you out. It happens because of your perception and how scared you allow yourself to be. Life changes are inevitable, and you must embrace them. But that can be hard to put into practice.
3. Unrealistic Expectations and High Standards
It’s good to have a goal, something to strive towards. But there is a fine line between having a plan and setting unrealistically high standards. Just because you have an end goal that seems prominent and respectable doesn’t mean it’s attainable or suitable. Having unrealistic expectations is often the most stressful thing you can do. It does nothing more than set you up for failure and put you in stressful situations.
When you have high expectations, everything seems not good enough. If you want a specific job but get the position just below, that’s still good. But if your standards are too high, you won’t see it like that. You will see how much you have failed, leading to stress and sadness. Standards too high also set you up for disappointment because you will feel like nothing you do is ever good enough.
3 Ways to Change Your Mindset
Now that you know the habits that lead to stress, let’s review three ways to help restore your peace of mind.
1. Be Kinder To Yourself
Instead of beating yourself up over every little thing, please learn to treat yourself with kindness. Being overly self-critical will never help you. It will even make you feel worse about yourself. If you constantly ask too much from yourself, you will never be content with who you are.
You will always feel like you aren’t enough and can never achieve what you want. But this attitude only stresses you out. When you learn to be kinder to yourself, you can take your failures in stride. Instead of beating yourself up over everything, you will have the power to work towards achieving something better.
2. Embrace Your Fears
Often, people get stressed because they are afraid of facing the unknown. Because they can’t control everything around them, they get panicked and enter fight-or-flight mode. And most of the time, people don’t even know that their fear makes them act that way.
If you don’t try to understand your fears, you will never be calm. It would help if you learned to control your fears instead of letting them control you. That stems from understanding and embracing them. When you understand what makes you scared, you can control how much power they hold over you.
3. Take a Break
You will inevitably get overwhelmed and stressed if you are always on the move. You might think that being busy all the time will guarantee a good life, but that’s not always the case. Being too busy is often a problem, especially in today’s society.
Everyone needs to relax from time to time. And taking a short break is the best way to ensure that your stress levels are as low as possible. Otherwise, you won’t have time to take care of your mental health, and you will have to live with the effects of stress every day.
Final Thoughts on Behaviors That Lead to Stress and Ways to Change Your Mindset
Stress is something that everyone will have to deal with throughout their lives. But some people act in ways that only make them more stressed. And they might do it without even noticing. Stress has become so normalized that people don’t think twice about doing something that will stress them out. But that will only harm you, and it has destructive long-term effects.
Many factors make people feel more stressed than they should. Working too much, never having time to relax, all the way to significant life change will affect you. There is no way to avoid stressors. But you can learn to change your mindset in ways that mitigate the effects of stress. For example, if you have to deal with a significant life change, try dealing with the fear surrounding it.
If you solve that fear from the root, you will find that the life change won’t stress you out as much. Or try to take a break instead of always working overtime. They are small steps, but they do wonders in the long run.