The Many Faces of Stress

Stress is a common factor behind disorders such as heart attack, stroke, depression, and even skin irritation. Here are some of the most common triggers of stress and what can be done to alleviate them.


When encountering a stressful situation, many people think of the worst-case scenario, which then causes them more stress. This leads to a domino effect, causing the stress to spiral even deeper. For example, say your employer asks you to come to his office at two o'clock concerning a project you have been working on. You begin to worry and think about the worst possibilities of what he might have to say. Things begin to race through your mind, such as “What if he doesn't like my work?” “Will I get fired?” “If I get fired, will I have enough money to pay my bills?” “What in the world will I do?”

When you find yourself in this situation, identify your problem and actually think it through. If the boss, for example, was unsatisfied with your work, perhaps all he would do is have you redo it. On the other hand, maybe he just wants to give you praise. By working it through you may find that the outcomes were less severe than what you initially imagined, causing less stress.


Stress does not exist in the alpha brain wave state; it is a beta brain wave activity. By simply closing your eyes you are blocking out approximately 80 percent of beta activity. This will greatly reduce your stress on the spot. Adding three deep breaths in addition to closing your eyes will reduce your stress even more.

Improper Diet

Many foods can have a negative impact on your emotional and physical health by causing large sweeping mood swings. Alcohol, sugar, and caffeine are particularly known to increase stress.

In addition to the foods you eat, notice your eating environment. Are you eating on the run, in your car while driving, while watching television, or on the computer? Taking the time to relax while eating and focusing on your meal will help eliminate stress.


Before making any major changes in your diet or deciding to take vitamins or supplements, check with a qualified medical professional or nutritionist for advice and guidance. A lack of certain vitamins in your diet can cause anger and stress. Getting and following proper nutritional advice from a qualified professional can help you lower stress and anger levels.

Chronic Pain

Chronic pain causes stress because you are not able to accomplish ordinary tasks that you were previously able to do. This can cause feelings of inadequacy or of being left out, which in turn can cause feelings of stress and even depression.

Excessive Demands or Deadlines

Excessive demands or deadlines are a common source of stress. Many people create deadlines and procrastinate habitually, which can create stress. Things can begin to pile up, and suddenly something very small can cause a person to become overwhelmed. Deep breathing is an excellent stress reliever in this situation, as is dedicating a few moments to relaxing self-hypnosis.

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