| May 18, 2017 | 0 Comments

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Identifying Stressors

By Jeff Davidson

What kind of stressors can the typical professional, i.e., somebody like you, experience? The number can be
staggering, but once you’ve identified your primary sources of stress, you can devise personal strategies for diminishing their effects.

This article offers a roster of potential sources of stress, while subsequent articles will offer stress antidotes.

Sources of Stress
Actually, almost anything in your environment can act as a stressor. For example:

Your boss – a mean boss, an unfair boss, a disorganized boss, or someone with whom you experience tension can be an immense source of stress to you. Such a boss can make your daily work routine miserable. In extreme cases, he or she can shorten your life, as can many other stressors.

Co-workers – everything said about bosses above can apply to co-workers as well.

Subordinates – the people who report to you can be an extreme cause of stress especially if they’re incompetent, late, tardy, unreliable, or untrustworthy.

Relationships – whether it’s your wife, husband, mother, brother, father-in-law, mother-in-law, uncle, sister, second cousin twice removed, great-granduncle on your mother’s side, etc., anyone in your lineage can qualify. Relationship stress exists for almost everyone. Who hasn’t felt stressed because of a relationship in their life?

Work-related stress – independent of any particular person involved, the workplace itself can be stressful. Moreover, work-related stress seems to be on the rise. Whether it’s take-overs, down-sizing, mergers and acquisitions, new organizations, or meeting the challenge of hyper-competition, today’s career professional is likely to reek with stress, which manifests in dead-end careers, emotional disorders, and families torn asunder.

Poor nutrition – you may not have considered your eating habits, but if you’ve consumed junk food all your life and are lacking vital nutrients, you may not have the physiology to support yourself in times of need. Do you eat any square meals a day? Do you eat any vegetables and fruits? Do you take vitamins? Many people don’t, and they then wonder why it’s so tough for them to get through the day.

Sleep – study after study shows that Americans, as well as career professionals throughout the world, consistently do not get sufficient sleep on a daily basis. Lack of sleep lowers your immunity and increases your susceptibility to disease, especially to stressors in the environment.

Monetary pressures – meeting the monthly mortgage or rent when you’re short on funds, being laid off and not having saved, putting your kids through college, or paying for that operation for your mother can all contribute to rising stress levels. Simply making ends meet has become a continual source of stress for the great masses of society. Spending more than you take in, having what they call a champagne taste on a beer budget, will bite you time and time again.

Being alone – has your partner in life gone on to meet his/her maker? Or are you struggling to find a mate? Did someone who matters leave or is stationed far away? Being alone can be stressful for people and lead to all types of aberrant, if not unhealthy, behavior.

Not having time alone – the opposite of being alone. If you never get a spare moment, to think, to relax, to reflect, a mounting form of stress can ensue. The prototypical “Super Mom” of today that gets the kids ready for school in the morning, holds a full-time job, and barely gets home in time to take care of the kids again, can fall into this category. “Super Dads” can have equally taxing challenges, which result in the long-term mounting form of stress.

Your physical self – like many, do you perceive yourself as too fat, too thin, or too something else? One poll showed that more than two-thirds of all men and even higher numbers of women are fairly discontent with various aspects of their physical selves and would like to make major changes. To compensate for perceived deficiencies in their physical self, some people will starve themselves to death. Others will eat themselves to death. Some will go on binges, and some will go on feast and famine diets.

Chemical substances – do you smoke, drink, or take drugs? Enough said.

Occupational stress – some people, simply by virtue of where they work, experience oodles of stress. And it’s not always in industries, as you might guess. Airline pilots, for example, tend to live shorter lives than others. It is postulated that too much flying during the day exposes them to higher levels of radiation, which compounded over many hours and years shortens one’s life.

Other stressors – Add your own here, based on what you do, with whom you do it, when you do it, for how long you do it, and so forth. The point is there are many, many ways to experience major amounts of stress in this world.


Jeff Davidson, MBA, CMC, aka “The Work-life Balance Expert”® offers keynote presentations and workshops on a creating work-life balance, managing the pace with grace, and thriving in a hyper-accelerated world. He has spoken to Fortune 50 companies such as Lockheed and IBM, and to American Express, Westinghouse, America Online, and Wells Fargo. Jeff is also the author of Simpler Living, Breathing Space, and Dial it Down, Live it Up. His books have been published in 19 languages including Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Malay, Turkish, and Russian. For more information visit www.BreathingSpace.com

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