STRESS AWARENESS MONTH: 5 things that influence your stress tolerance level

Stress Awareness Month takes place every April since 1992. During this period, teams of experts aim to increase public awareness about stress, including its causes, the adverse effects stress can have on the mind and body, and how to relieve stress.

Stress is not always bad. In small doses, it can help you perform under pressure and motivate you to do your best. However, constant or extreme stress is bad for both the mind, body and eventually to the people around us.

How is your stress tolerance level influenced?

Some people handle better life’s punches, where others crumble in the face of small obstacles. It is essential to evaluate the factors that influence your stress tolerance level and know your own stress limit.

  1. Your support network – A strong network of supportive friends and family members is an enormous buffer against stress. When you have people you can count on, life’s pressures don’t seem as overwhelming. On the other hand, the lonelier and more isolated you are, the greater your risk of surrendering to stress.
  2. Your sense of control – If you have confidence in yourself and your ability to influence events and continue through challenges, it is easier to take stress in stride. On the flip side, if you believe that you have little control over your life, and you are at the mercy of your environment and circumstances, with limited ability to make changes, stress is more likely to knock you off.
  3. Your attitude and outlook – The way you look at life, and its inevitable challenges make a huge difference in your ability to handle stress. If you are generally hopeful and optimistic, you will be less vulnerable. Stress-hardy people tend to embrace challenges, have a stronger sense of humour, believe in a higher purpose, and accept change as an inevitable part of life.
  4. Your ability to deal with your emotions – If you do not know how to calm and soothe yourself when you are feeling sad, angry, or troubled, you are more likely to become stressed and agitated. Having the ability to identify and deal appropriately with your emotions can increase your tolerance to stress and help you bounce back from adversity.
  5. Your knowledge and preparation – The more you know about a stressful situation, including how long it will last and what to expect, the easier it is to cope. For example, if you go into a job interview and prepare yourself with a realistic picture of what to expect, potential rejection or difficult questions, will be less stressful than if you were expecting to be easy or have a certain success. Changes in your attitude and perception are fundamental to influence your stress tolerance level.

If stress is left unchecked, it can be deadly. Stress can lead to serious health problems, such as high blood pressure and heart disease, as well as Mental Health issues.

This year’s  Mental Health Awareness Week (14-20 May) is focusing on stress. Thus, we will explore further different factors to improve your ability to handle stress.