What is stress?

The first step to managing stress is to know what causes it.

Causes

Different things cause stress for different people. Some might think that an upcoming math test is a big deal, while others won’t give it a second thought. The same is true at different ages and stages of our lives. What bothers us at age 3 won’t be the same as what gets us riled up at age 12, 20 or 50.

Being aware of what causes you stress is one step in learning how to handle it well. Use this worksheet, to write or draw things that caused you stress when you were younger, things that stress you out now and what you think might be stressful when you’re older.

homevideo3Watch this “Stress Test” video and learn how one’s body responds in stressful situations.

For more information on the causes of stress, check out this article about stress or this one about anxiety.

Symptoms

There is so much pressure to “do and be your best” in school, at home, online, in after-school activities and your social life…just about everywhere. Yet many of the things people do to try to be their best actually work against them and cause stress. Stress, it turns out, is a HUGE BARRIER to almost everything.

We’ve all had times when our bodies react to stress. We can feel it. It’s the sensation known as fight or flight. Our bodies’ natural way of coping with being frightened or challenged is to release chemicals into our bloodstream that provide extra short-term energy and alertness. Our instincts take over and tell us that we are facing danger and we either need to defend ourselves (fight) or get away (flight).

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All of these things do more to get in our way than they do to help us live our best lives. Plus, significant stress that goes on for a long time can lead to more serious mental and physical health problems. So it’s important to have some strategies ready for dealing with it and a few more for preventing it when you can.

That’s where Change to Chill comes in.