08 January 2009

What is internal and external stress?

External stress comes from outside us, while internal stress comes from inside of us and determine our body's ability to respond to external stress-inducing factors or stressors.


There are two kinds of stress: external and internal stress.

External stress comes from outside us:

  • Our physical environment
  • Our job
  • Noise – loud and constant low level noise
  • Pollution
  • Trauma
  • Injury
  • Foreign organisms (bacteria, viruses, fungi)
  • Toxins
  • Poor work conditions (not enough attention paid to ergonomics, too much noise, poor air circulation, lack of privacy, excess demands, etc).
  • Relationships with others
  • Our home,
  • All the situations, challenges, difficulties, and expectations we're confronted with on a daily basis.

Internal stress comes from inside of us and determine our body's ability to respond to, and deal with, the external stress-inducing factors or stressors:

  • Nutritional status
  • Attitudes
  • Thoughts
  • Feelings of anger, fear and worry
  • Anticipation
  • Imagination
  • Memory
  • Overall health and fitness levels
  • Presence of illness and infection
  • Emotional well-being
  • Amount of sleep and rest you get.

Managing stress can involve making changes in the external factors which confront you, or in internal factors which strengthen your ability to deal with what comes your way.

External stress is often associated with:

  • Workplace stress
  • Interpersonal conflicts
  • Relationship / marital stress
  • Balancing career and family
  • Being a parent

Your kids and stress
Children are a great joy and a great source of stress!

  • Accept your kids for who and what they are
  • Realise that you’re human and your kids know it – don’t try to be a perfect parent, partner or employee. Just try your best and ask for help. Delegate.
  • Let them learn from you and then go their own way.
  • Parenthood is not about control. It’s about freedom.
  • Kids also have stress. They react differently to stress than do grown-ups! Be on the look-out for:
    • Changes in eating or sleeping patterns
    • Lack of need for social interaction
    • More moodiness than usual
    • Dramatic or inexplicable deterioration in academic or sport performance

Internal stress management can help to prepare your body to handle internal stressors more effectively:

  • Anger management
  • Healthy nutrition and using the correct food supplements to help you cope with stress
  • Dealing with anger, fear and worry
  • Developing a positive mental attitude
  • Exercising moderately, but frequently
  • Practicing daily relaxation techniques
  • ealing with sleep disturbances





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