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Major Life Stresses

Major life events can’t be controlled, but there are things you can do to help yourself cope. Take action if you are feeling stressed.

  • Learn to say "No".
  • Set your priorities.
  • Take care of yourself.

What Are Major Life Stresses?

‘Major Life Stresses’ refers to the important life challenges that you have faced in your life. They are called ‘major’ because they trigger a major reaction in your mind and body.

Major life stresses have the strongest effect within the first year after they happen. Some examples of major life stresses are:

  • death of a loved one
  • injury or illness
  • unemployment
  • break-up of family

How Do Major Life Stresses Affect Me?

The effects of major life stresses add up and together take a great toll on your mind and body. This means that you will have unpleasant feelings and emotions. These emotions and feelings can get in the way of your daily living and can affect how you react to the people around you. They can even push you into a clinical depression, even if you never had a problem with depression in your life.

The distress you feel affects your body by:

  • releasing stress hormones into your blood that cause your heart rate and blood pressure to rise.
  • causing inflammatory reactions in your body that can increase plaque build-up in your arteries.
  • causing your blood to become stickier. This puts you at risk for developing blood clots.

Together, these effects make you more susceptible to illness and another heart event.

Take Action

  • Learn to say “No.” It is important for you to be aware that your ability to cope is being stretched. Do not take on any additional challenges, whether they come from work, home, or extended family.
  • Establish your priorities.
  • Take care of yourself. Try relaxation exercises, meditation, affirming positive events in your life, or spending time with your partner and your family for the support you need

Major life events can’t be controlled. But you can control the changes you make in your life to cope with the additional stresses and responsibilities that these events may place on you.

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