What Are Your Stress Triggers?



Are there events, things, and people in your life that cause you stress?

Of course there are.

What is it about these stressful events, things and people that triggers you?

Who makes you furious, and why? How do you deal with your anger?

Where in life do you feel the most powerless? What are you doing about it?

If you answer these questions, and address them, you can be proactive about your stress triggers. And your levels of stress.

What about your character or temperament? Where does that fit?

For example, if you have low self esteem,  you may be routinely sensitive to questions about your character, integrity or appearance. You may feel you have to justify yourself to be heard. You may feel searing jealousy towards those who have more than you do (a vicious cycle, a form of self-hate, as there will always be people who have more than you.) This predisposition to negativity leaves you feeling stressed out and frustrated. Like, all the time.

If you are a high achieving person, or perfectionist, a cunningly deceptive form of low esteem and self-loathing, you will feel out of control when some aspect of your life is out of order, you will freak out when you bring home a new product and it doesn’t work, you will judge people needlessly, you may want to scream when someone else’s behaviour is inappropriate or rude, you’ll be intolerant of everyday normal human mistakes and foibles, you may feel actual physical or mental discomfort if your world doesn’t appear as pristine and perfect as you think it should. And you’ll be chronically unhappy, never fulfilled.

If you’re an all or nothing thinker, you may only see the world in black and white. Thus, if you succeed at something, you’ll believe you could have done better. If you fail at something, your life is a complete mess. If someone has a bad day and lashes out at you, you take it personally. You might even blame all the failures of your life on everyone else, because all or nothing thinking is a direct result of not looking inward but rather outward, to others, for your answers and self-esteem. A prescription for seriously low self-worth.

In which of these categories do you fit? Can you see the potential stress within these categories?

Once you identify your triggers, and become familiar with your temperament and character, you can then determine how stress affects you. Then progress will begin. You’ll start to ‘own’ your stress, accept it and work to mitigate it.  Whilst in moving forward mode, you’ll be more objective and aware of how regularly stress triggers implode upon you, overtake you, causing your chest to seize, your hands to tighten, your breathing to race, the eyes to roll, anger to rise….

If you care about the ongoing state of your health and wellness, it’s essential that you identify your personal stress sources.

Start by stepping back. Observe your own behaviour for a few days. Then catch yourself in a stressful moment, tag it, name it, write it down. Whatever you choose.

Did you catch yourself in a stressful moment? Did you see how your body reacted? Did you say “Wow?”

This entry was posted on Thursday, July 26th, 2012 at 6:00 am and is filed under Posts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.


  1. November 4th, 2014 | Mike says:

    Thanks for sharing such a great article. This will benefit a lot of people including myself. I’ve retweeted this for you as I think it’s so brilliant! :)

  2. November 4th, 2014 | abby says:

    Thanks for your lovely comments Mike. And for sharing the article. And you know what? I am working through all this stuff too… just like you, just like everyone else. We are all a work in progress…we just have to keep trying, right?

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