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What Are Psychosocial Stressors : Examples, Risks, How To Manage

September 26, 2023

7 min read

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Author : United We Care
What Are Psychosocial Stressors : Examples, Risks, How To Manage

Introduction

Life is a bumpy ride. People experience stress in everyday life. Many people can survive through ups and downs. But sometimes, something huge happens that feels like the end for many people. Sometimes, such situations become a turning point that defines the rest of their life. Naturally, it takes away a significant part of the person’s carefree life.

A psychosocial stressor is an imagined or existing social threat that changes people’s lives forever. Bouncing back from there can take a very long time. These are very taxing and can make a person feel lonely, isolated, and unwanted. The stress-induced by the psychosocial stressors often feels like irreparable damage [1].

What are psychosocial stressors?

Psychosocial stressors can be called major life-changing events. This event is of such a high intensity that it causes major stress. It can frequently cause the development of a psychological disorder.

Psychosocial stressors can also aggravate previously existing psychological disorders. This psychosocial stress occurs because these events change a life forever. Coming back from it frequently takes acceptance, time, therapy, and healing.

Effects of Psychosocial Stressors

Psychosocial Stressors can adversely affect one’s health.

A few after-effects of Psychosocial stressors are-

  1. Not being able to believe it happened
  2. Send body into shock
  3. People feel lost
  4. Causes Immense stress
  5. Gives rise to maladaptive behavior and manifests as illness

Examples of psychosocial stressors

While we have a blanket definition for psychosocial stressors, it is not very easy to divide different types of psychosocial stressors. A few examples of psychosocial stressors include the death of loved ones, accidents, unemployment, miscarriage, and chronic illness.

Social stressors can affect multiple levels and impact the human body. These include-

  • Interactions between economic and social determinants 
  • Local environmental risk 
  • Daily opportunities and behavior 

These often come together to create psychosocial stress. When in a psychosocially stressing environment, a person may show any characteristics of flight and fight response [2].

A body stress response is activated. This acts on the amygdala and causes the activation of cardiovascular, metabolic, immune, and nervous system feedback. It takes your whole body into flight and fight mode.

Other examples of psychosocial stress can be perceived threats to the social status, threats to the validation obtained, threats to social and public image, a threat to acceptance in the group, a threat to self-worth, and a threat of not knowing what happens next. It is very difficult to cope. Some hormones that are released in the body are epinephrine, dopamine, and cortisol. These induce several changes and cause bursts of energy.

Risks of psychosocial stressors

Psychosocial stress can have an impact on the body. Psychosocial stress is a major stress that is a life-altering event for many people. It pushes your body into the flight in fight mode. Several hormonal changes are caused, which can have a detrimental effect on the body. 

  • It can cause headaches, gut issues, sleep disturbances, emotional breakdown, confusion, anxiety, and depression.
  • The chronic stress caused by psychosocial stress can cause disorders or aggravate already existing conditions.
  • They can weaken the immune system over time and can cause a rise in blood pressure.
  • A person under the effect of psychosocial stressors may experience a high heart rate, feel overwhelmed, have difficulty sleeping, be tired, have poor cognitive abilities, and lose memory.
  • They may always be in fight and flight mode and fear that this situation will last forever. They will experience social withdrawal, isolation, frustration and will be unable to do everyday work. Psychosocial stress can also trigger acute cardiac events.
  • There are several hormonal changes in the body in response to stressors that affect normal functioning, mood, and energy levels.

How to manage psychosocial stressors

Psychosocial stressors at work

Work is frequently challenging. A high number of deadlines, poor work environment, lonely workplace, lack of good communication between colleagues, lack of respect, and value of work can all be psychosocial stressors. All these stresses form a daily part of anyone’s work and need to be dealt with in a manner that doesn’t affect us negatively, either physically or mentally.

It is important to understand that every individual will face psychosocial stressors at one point in their life. While sometimes it feels never-ending and life-changing, it is critical to know that moving ahead from what happened and acceptance is necessary for healing. 

Here’s how one can manage psychosocial stressors:

Journaling and meditation

Journaling and meditation cannot always help a person manage psychosocial stress. They can help one understand their feelings. Reflecting on feelings is the first step of moving towards acceptance. Listen to your breath and what your body is experiencing. Focus on feelings and let them pass. Be a spectator observing them silently while journaling and meditating. It can also help get better clarity, and one will understand thought structures well.

Be empathetic, kind, and compassionate

Many times, we are very hard on ourselves. We blame ourselves for feeling the way. We feel stuck. This stops us from healing and moving ahead. You must be kind, compassionate, and empathetic to yourself. You deserve to feel better and what you are feeling is 100% valid [3].

Move and eat well

Often, the feeling of the existing or imaginary threat consumes us. It renders us in a situation where we are not able to move ahead. One is constantly stuck in the same cycle. A person must learn to manage psychosocial stress better. Exercise is a great way to get that endorphin rush. Get your body moving. Food and mode have a direct way. It’s indispensable to focus on a balanced meal. Get enough protein, fiber, and micronutrients in your body.

Get in touch with a professional  

Psychosocial stress when left unresolved can lead to a lot of problems and manifest as symptoms in the body. It can also cause severe mental health disorders and may aggravate the existing situations. Thus, you must get in touch with a professional. It is not a sign of weakness, and you deserve to feel better.

Working with professionals will help a person deal with psychosocial stressors. This is especially true in cases when stress is chronic and is causing problems in everyday functioning.

Visiting a therapist can be a great idea and therapy can help in reframing thoughts structures, identifying your behavior, and managing stress better. This will be helpful because you do not have to constantly carry what you are feeling anymore, and you deserve healing and moving ahead from the incidents that cause stress. While it is not always possible to completely remove what happens or what is happening, you must center yourself in this situation. Try to find the best alternative and manage stress better.

A therapist will help you feel heard, comfortable, and accepted. A therapist who is well versed in working with psychosocial stressors should be a great choice. Book an appointment with a trusted and loving therapist from United We Care today.

Conclusion

Psychosocial stressors contribute to a lot of imbalance. They alter your thinking and impact your everyday functioning. Getting help and trying different methods of acceptance and reflection are the way forward. Identify and address your psychosocial stressors today. Take the step ahead to feel better, work on healing from what happened, and move ahead. Proper support, care, warmth, and acceptance are the best way to fight against psychosocial stressors.

References:

[1][L. M. C. Jansen, C. C. Gispen-de Wied, V. M. Wiegant, H. G. M. Westenberg, B. E. Lahuis, and H. van Engeland, “Autonomic and neuroendocrine responses to a psychosocial stressor in adults with autistic spectrum disorder,” J. Autism Dev. Disord., vol. 36, no. 7, pp. 891–899, 2006.
[2]H. Pearsall, “Linking the stressors and stressing the linkages: Human–environment vulnerability and brownfield redevelopment in New York City,” Environ. Hazards, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 117–132, 2009.
[3]T. Singer and O. M. Klimecki, “Empathy and compassion,” Curr. Biol., vol. 24, no. 18, pp. R875–R878, 2014.

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Author : United We Care

Founded in 2020, United We Care (UWC) is providing mental health and wellness services at a global level, UWC utilizes its team of dedicated and focused professionals with expertise in mental healthcare, to solve 2 essential missing components in the market, sustained user engagement and program efficacy/outcomes.

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