How and why you experience stress

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Stress is a normal part of life and happens to everyone. When we think of stress, we may think about something really big, serious or overwhelming. But, a lot of times, stress is caused by little things like missing the bus, having a bad night's sleep, feeling too hot, fighting with your partner or dealing with conflict.

In small doses, it can actually be a good thing. It can give you the push you need and motivate you to do your best. It can also help you stay focused and alert. However, if you are unsure how to meet the demands placed on you, you can experience the negative type of stress.


Stress occurs when you react to pressure. This pressure can come from outside (school, work, extracurricular activities, friends, family, partner) or from inside yourself (wanting to do well in school or at work, wanting to fit in or wanting to be successful). Together, these pressures are called stressors.

Any one stressor may be easy for you to handle, but if a number of frustrating and irritating things happen, they can build up until you feel overwhelmed. This can cause uncomfortable feelings, which, in turn, can make stress seem harder to deal with.

Stress is different for everyone

We all face unique challenges and obstacles and we all deal with them in different ways based on our own values and experiences. For this reason, stress is very personal and affects us all differently.

Check out the video below to learn more about stress, including its causes, how it can affect your mind and body and how you can cope with it.



Understanding how you experience stress

Sometimes, the pressure of being a teen or young adult with chronic pain can be hard to handle. It is important to try to understand your stress so you can learn ways to manage or reduce any negative changes that you experience.

Stress can affect how we feel, both physically (our bodies) and emotionally (our feelings). It is not always obvious when you are experiencing stress. Many people may say that they aren’t under much stress and they may not think that stress triggers their pain or makes their symptoms worse. You may feel the same way. However, we know that many people are just not aware of the stress that their bodies experience. This is normal and may require a little special attention to figure out how their body reacts to stress.

Last updated: May 2nd 2016