A stressor can be anything that disrupts homeostasis, or our “status quo”. As we’ll see, stressors can occur in any part of life, and they can affect people differently. There is no “objective” stress that affects everyone exactly the same way. We must use a biopsychosocial approach to stress and stress management.
Stress Examples #
- physical — e.g., poor sleep, illness, injury, dehydration, hunger, training, etc.
- mental, or cognitive — e.g., information overload, too many decisions, solving difficult problems, etc.
- emotional — e.g., painful emotions such as guilt, sadness, anger, etc.
- social — e.g., conflict with family and friends, loneliness, discrimination, etc.
- existential, or spiritual — e.g., hopelessness, crises of faith or identity, etc.
- environmental, or what’s around us — e.g., temperature, pollution, noise, safety, etc.
The Examples of stress in different life dimensions figure shows some more examples of stress across these six dimensions of deep health (or what we might think of as “deep stress”).
Stressors are often connected #
Inter-related stressors, those we can control, and external stressors, those we can’t control, will often compound on each other often impacting the key component to recovery: sleep. As we see in the Sample stress cycle figure all of the stressors can lead to another lousy night of sleep, which starts the cycle again.