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Nursing and Stress: the importance of recognizing your stressors that lead to Poor Mental Health

Updated: Dec 8, 2023


Stressors that can lead to poor mental health


There is no getting away from the fact that stress is a part of all our lives. How we deal with that stress can contribute to poor mental health.


A wide range of environmental, physiological, and mental situations can contribute to poor mental health.


Let's have a look at some of those stressors.


What is stress?


Stress is our body's response to pressure or danger. Stress is not necessarily harmful and can help us navigate new and unexpected situations in our lives, such as having a baby, running a marathon, or taking on a new role at work.


Everyone deals with stress differently, with various factors affecting our ability to cope with short and long-term stress.


If we are in a prolonged state of stress, the hormones that trigger the fight or flight response can leave us feeling overwhelmed and begin to affect our daily lives and mental health.


What can make us stressed?


Many situations can lead to stress and poor mental health. For many people, a decline in mental health comes from a combination of these factors.


Sometimes an individual who is coping fine with multiple stressors may suddenly develop poor mental health; this could be due to dealing with a range of situations for too long, a new stressor entering their lives, or just activating the stress hormones for an extended period.


There is no set rule in how situations and stressors will affect anyone; we are all different and deal with situations differently.


The following situations could contribute to poor mental health:


Bereavement

● Divorce

● Losing a job

● Financial problems.

● Work-related stress

● childhood abuse, trauma, or neglect

● social isolation or loneliness

● discrimination, including racism

● having a long-term physical health condition

● being a long-term caregiver for a loved one

● drug and alcohol misuse

● domestic violence

● significant trauma as an adult, for example, military combat, serious incidents where you feared for your life, or being the victim of a violent crime

● Positive situations can also cause stress, such as moving house, getting married, or being promoted at work


Can mental health problems run in families?


Some mental health problems may run in families or can make a person more susceptible to developing mental health problems due to experiences and coping skills learned from our parents.


It is unknown how much our genes influence poor mental health development.

Many people who develop mental health problems don't have any relatives with the same condition.


Conclusion


What is clear is that a decline in mental health can be from a range of different factors and affect a wide variety of people.


While some of the stressors listed above may seem trivial compared with other trauma-based stressors, this does not remove the feelings of stress and mental health issues resulting from long-term stress.


Reflection

  1. Can you identify any life stressors that may affect your mental health?

  2. Have you discovered there are multiple stressors you are currently dealing with?

  3. Are there any ways you can reduce the stress you are feeling from any of the stressors?


 

Do you want to learn how to recognize the signs of burnout and compassion fatigue in nurses?


Listen to this episode of the Project ReNew Podcast


 


Sources



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