Stress can be a major contributor to an anxiety or panic condition or the trigger that will start anxiety disorders. For many people who have personalities that are predisposed to anxiety, stressful events or the accumulation of stressful events over a relatively short period of time can lead to anxiety symptoms.
As our economy becomes increasingly perilous, more and more people are struggling with anxiety. You are not alone! Millions of Americans are grappling with panic attacks, extreme anxiety and the negative effects of these conditions. The symptoms can be frightening and contribute to depression and more trouble with your job or family.
To determine whether your stress load has become too much, think back over the past year or two of your life. Think about the events or changes in your life that may have contributed to your stress level. Individual events or changes may not have been overwhelming by themselves but when they are coupled with other events, the cumulative effect may be major.
Here are some events that are high stress, medium stress and low stress:
HIGH STRESS EVENTS
• Death of spouse or child
• Marital / child separation
• Victim of a violent attack or sexual assault
• Death in the family
• Major medical problems
• Marriage (a happy event but also one that brings about a lot of changes and stress)
• Losing a job
MEDIUM LEVEL STRESS EVENTS
• Problems in Your Marriage
• Family members or close friends with health problems
• Sexual dysfunction
• New addition to the family (baby, adoption etc.)
• Death of a friend
• Financial difficulties
• Changing jobs
• Foreclosure or acquiring new debt such as a mortgage
• Child going to college
• Problems with family members or in-laws
• A change in living situation (location, type of residence etc.)
LOW STRESS EVENTS
• Problems with boss
• Change in working hours or job responsibilities
• Changing schools
• Changing social activities or friends
• Starting or finishing school
• Trouble sleeping
• Gaining weight
• Vacations and Holidays
• Minor legal problems such as misdemeanours, speeding tickets etc.
If you have experienced 2 or 3 high-stress events over the past couple of years you are probably dealing with an anxiety problem.
Most people will have problems coping with that many negative events and will likely see their stress manifested in an anxiety condition. If you have experienced one high-stress event and multiple medium or low-stress events you may also have a significant and detrimental problem with anxiety. You could also be struggling if you experienced a high number of medium or low-stress events in succession.
When you experience these problems back to back, your mind and body don´t have a chance to recover before they have to go into overdrive to deal with the next problem. Recovering from the loss of a spouse, child or loved one can be a long process and any added or additional problems may simply be too overwhelming and trigger panic attacks even in people who never previously struggled with anxiety.
If you take a moment to consider, it is easy to see why anxiety problems and panic attacks are such an increasing problem in today´s world. The level of stress that must be managed on a daily basis seems to grow with each passing day. It´s important to consider what you have been through over the past couple of years and whether that is contributing to your current unrest.
For many people, finding an outlet where you are free from worry is a great way to find some respite from the stress. Find time in your day to do something you enjoy. Do you have a hobby you enjoy or an interest you would like to pursue but you haven´t devoted sufficient time to it?
Stop waiting and start finding the time to enjoy your garden, a game of softball with friends, your bowling league or walking on nature trails. There are so many ways to find avenues of enjoyment and spend time with friends and loved ones. You need this time to recover from the stress of daily life and build up reservoirs of strength to deal with new challenges.