Discover your Stress Tolerance Point
I dreaded doctors’ visits as a child. Working in the medical field helped me analyze my feelings.
I once thought I was afraid of hearing bad news. I now understand that seeing a doctor has implications beyond hearing bad news. It’s the cost. First, there’s the office visit charge, then the tests and diagnosis. Add the cost of treatment and follow-up visits with the time consumed and you can see that it’s not just the visit, it’s the loss of control.
Stress is Sneaky
The events that trigger stress responses aren’t always obvious and often appear some time after the stressor has passed. In extreme circumstances, the stress reaction becomes Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD), but daily stress reactions may show themselves as minor nervous tics, like nail biting, or insomnia, and digestive problems. You needn’t have suffered battlefield-level psychological trauma to experience unproductive, chronic stress. However, you do need to discover how stress is currently affecting you, uncover its source and find relief. You need to create Personal Stress Profile.
Discover your Limits
The Personal Stress Profile (PSP) is part of a Personal Stress Management Portfolio. Most are questionnaires with sections evaluating how much stress you face, where you experience it and how well you currently handle that stress. Based on this information, you’ll craft a new stress management plan. Individuals can complete the assessment in a single sitting but some people focus on specific sections, when warranted. You can complete one section of the assessment, if that’s all the information you want. Since this is self-help, you’re in charge!
By the way, the portfolio isn’t a static document. It’s your PSP, a journal containing assessment results, daily observations, strategies, and entries addressing the effectiveness of your stress management techniques. It’s part diary, part mental health record.
Each Part Serves a Purpose
Most PSP’s measure 4 factors that influence your daily stress level. They are:
- Triggers – These are the surroundings and/or circumstances that you find irritating, unfair, too demanding and/or threatening. If your mother-in-law makes you tense, either she is a trigger or her opinions are. Traffic stops seem to be universal triggers.
- Vulnerability – It’s easy to confuse vulnerabilities with triggers. Anything that means a lot to you can trigger unproductive stress, making you vulnerable. If parenting means a lot to you, you may get defensive if someone criticizes your parenting style. When a job is a vulnerability, you may have anxiety issues each morning before leaving for work.
- Stress Response Tendencies – Smoking, drinking jogging, writing – anything you do to relieve stress is a stress response. Since we need some stress in our lives, cultivating a repertoire of healthy stress responses can actually improve your overall health and sense of well-being.
- Tolerance Point– The moment when your stress shifts from productive to unproductive represents your tolerance point. Some people can handle a lot, and others can handle very little. Symptoms include confusion, feeling overwhelmed, using all of your sick days for minor illnesses and insomnia. Discovering your Stress Tolerance Point can be the first step in organizing your life and crafting a personal stress management program.
Discovering your stress tolerance point is the first step in exploring your daily stress and its impact. Evaluating one’s triggers is often the second.
It’s your turn
The questionnaire isn’t as disruptive as visiting the doctor, but you still need to answer the questions truthfully. Doing a relaxation exercise – deep breathing or a body scan – will help clear your head. To discover your Stress Tolerance Point, scroll to the bottom of this page, complete the form in the big green and purple square, and download part one of a sample stress assessment. It’s based on questionnaires from sources like Eve Adamson’s “The Everything Stress Management Book“. Whether you complete the questionnaire over several days or in a single sitting, you’ll gain insights into the ways stress impacts you.
By the way….
Even though I’m under a doctor’s care, my feelings have not changed. Visiting my Internist raises my pulse and blood pressure to dangerous levels, but this does not happen when I see my pain management specialist. Stress management techniques make no difference, regardless of when I use them. I share this to let you know that stress management techniques can only go so far. When faced with intolerable stress, your body will react even though your mind is calm. This does not mean the techniques have failed, but that the physical response to stress resists conscious control.
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