When something triggers your stress, it’s time to take control

It’s Monday morning, month-end. The kids are screaming. The dog’s fighting with the cat. You have a big presentation due at midday and you’re not nearly as prepared as you should be. The bills are piled up on the kitchen table and you’re ready to pull your hair out.

We’ve all been there.

Stress affects us all in different ways, and our stress triggers are mostly dependent on the challenges we face at our individual level.

So, what triggers your stress?

The first step to overcoming anxiety and stress is to identify those triggers and then work out a way to regain control and keep those hairs firmly on your head.

Identifying Your Stress Triggers

Let’s take a look at the different kinds of stress triggers and see which ones you most relate to.
  1. Emotional
Internal stressors include anxieties and fears. It’s the worry about losing your job or making a good impression on a first date. Emotional stressors also incorporate personality traits like suspiciousness, pessimism, and perfectionism – the things that can distort your thinking. As you can see, these are stressors that differ from one person to the next.
  1. Social
These stressors rear their heads in your interactions with your community, such as dating, parties, or making that presentation and noon. They’re very individualized.
  1. Family
Family stressors include changes in your relationships, be it with your partner, dealing with an unruly teenager, financial difficulties, and even empty-nest syndrome.
  1. Changes
Don’t like change? Worried about a new job, moving, or having a baby? Change can trigger bouts of stress for most of us.
  1. Decisions
These involve stress caused by impending decisions, like making a major career change.
  1. Work
Put your hand up if you truly don’t ever get stressed out over work?


If work’s your stress trigger, you probably stress about performing in the workplace, worry about deadlines, and fret over that unpredictable boss or client.
  1. Health
Disease stressors are usually ignited by short or long-term health problems that can cause stress, like not being able to leave your bed for a period of time. Migraines can trigger stress and flare-ups of arthritis or eczema, for example, can be triggered by stress.
  1. Phobias
What’s your phobia? Insects? Flying? Heights? Phobic stressors are caused by the situations in which you are extremely afraid.
  1. Physical Stressors
Ever been in a situation that’s taxing on your body? Think along the lines of pulling all-nighters to study for an exam, only eating junk food or standing up all day.
  1. Environmental
Pollution, extreme temperatures, and too much noise are enough to trigger bouts of stress in any of us.

It’s Time to Regain Control

Do one or more of the above triggers resonate with you? I bet they do.

Now that you’ve identified your stressors, it’s time to figure out how to deal with them and take back the control.

I know it’s overwhelming, and that’s completely normal. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways for you to develop coping mechanisms.
  • Don’t expect so much – adopt the “less is more” mantra and you’ll be far less disappointed with pretty much everything.
  • Take things slowly – life’s not really meant to be a race. Slow it right down and practice your mindfulness when you find yourself becoming triggered.
  • Ask for help – whether it’s from a friend, relative or even a colleague, ask for support when you’re stressed.
  • Solve a problem – develop ways to deal with problems rather than avoiding them or becoming too stressed to see beyond the “right now.”
  • Say no – you don’t have to be everywhere or do everything. It’s okay to take downtime or say no to situations that stress you out.
  • Adopt a new attitude – changing the way you think isn’t easy, but you can do it. For instance, if your boss is your trigger, consider how you can approach him or her with a positive attitude to create a better situation.
  • Be accepting – learn to accept the things you’re unable to change.
  • Concentrate on positivity – rather than worrying about what’s not being done, what can’t be done or what you don’t have, concentrate on all the great things you do have and what you’ve already achieved.
  • Distance yourself from the stressor – if someone or a situation is making you stressed, disengage from them or it.
  • Confront stress – sometimes it’s appropriate to attach the issue and deal with it head-on.

“You do learn how to cope from those who are coping.” -Desmond


When stress strikes, it doesn’t have to get the better of you. You can manage your triggers and regain control of your life and the situation.


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