Psychological Self-Help

Navigation bar
  Home Print document View PDF document Start Previous page
 13 of 149 
Next page End Contents 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18  

do you do these things? If a lot, you are likely to be a tense,
competitive, ambitious, irritable Type A. 
Because stress and anxiety are complex reactions (including
feelings, actions, thoughts, and physiology), these emotional states
can and have been measured many ways: self-ratings, observation by
others, psychological tests, behavioral signs, and physiological or
medical tests. The trouble is (1) each person has their own unique way
of responding to stress, i.e. heart rate may increase but no stomach
distress may occur in one person and the opposite pattern in another
person equally stressed. (2) There is very little agreement among
these measures, e.g. a person may rate him/herself as anxious but not
appear anxious to others nor respond with stress on the physiological
measures, like GSR (perspiration), blood pressure, or muscle tension.
This is a major problem in studying stress scientifically. (3) The
concepts of stress and anxiety are so broad and vague that general
measures of anxiety do not predict very well how people behave or
feel nor do such measures explain psychological problems or help a
therapist develop a treatment plan. Being "anxious" roughly means
"I'm having some problems" but more specifics must be known to
diagnose and correct a particular disturbance. You may need to go
deeper and find out exactly what is causing your stress. There are
many possible causes which you need to know about before deciding
what causes your anxiety.
Sources and Types of Stress
External Situations that Lead to Stress
Changes cause stress
Almost any change in our lives is a stressor because there is a
demand on us to deal with a new situation. This is Hans Selye's view,
who has spent a life-time studying stress (1982). There are thousands
of external causes of stress. Moreover, we can be overstressed when
there are too many demands at school or work or interpersonally, and
we can be understressed when there is "nothing to do" and we feel like
we aren't getting anywhere. As mentioned before, there are bad
stresses and good stresses. Here are some bad stresses (the
percentages estimate the difficulty in managing that particular stress
relative to death of a spouse, which is 100%): a spouse dies (100%),
we get divorced (73%), have a serious illness (53%), we lose our job
(47%), change occupations (36%), have more arguments with our
spouse (35%), and so on. These are good stresses: when we fall in
love and get married (50%), reconciliate after a separation (45%),
retire (45%), have a baby (39%), buy a house (31%), get promoted
(29%), have an unusual success (28%), graduate (26%), find new
Previous page Top Next page

« Back