Stress triggers usually fall into one of the categories below. Read through the list and try to identify which category the main stressors in your life fall into. You may find that some of your triggers fall into more than one of these categories:

  • Emotional stressors - your fears and worries. These stressors are very individual
  • Family stressors - your relationships, financial problems, children
  • Social stressors - other people and situations
  • Change stressors - any important changes in our lives
  • Chemical stressors - drugs abuses, alcohol, nicotine, caffeine etc.
  • Work stressors - the pressures of performing in the workplace (or in the home, if that's where you work)
  • Decision stressors - having to make important decisions, such as the choice of a career
  • Phobic stressors - situations you are extremely afraid of, such as flying in airplanes or being in confined spaces
  • Physical stressors - working long hours without┬ásleep, depriving yourself of healthy food or being on your feet all day
  • Disease stressors - long or short-term health problems. These may cause stress, be triggered by stress (such as IBS), or be aggravated by stress (such as migraine headaches)
  • Pain stressors - this can include acute pain or chronic pain. Like disease stressors, pain stressors can cause be aggravated by stress
  • Environmental stressors - noise, pollution, a lack of space, too much heat or too much cold

Now you know what your triggers are, the next step is to work out what you can do to reduce their impact.

Go through your list of stressors and mark an E for each item you can eliminate, an R for each one you can reduce the strength of and a C for each item you can learn to cope with.

For the items marked with an E or an R, jot down any practical steps you can take to eliminate or reduce these stressors.

Counselling can help you find ways to manage and cope with stressors that you can't eliminate or reduce. It offers you a safe space in which to develop practical and positive ways to manage your thoughts and behaviours and improve your overall state of mind.


This article was written for CABA by Behavioural Psychologist, Richard Jenkins
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