Mental Health

Stress Project: Stressful Life Events


“Great and usu. sudden disaster.” (Barber, K., Fitzgerald, H., Howell, T., & Pontisso, R., 2005)

There are two different types of catastrophes/disasters: Natural and man-made/technological. Natural disasters are situations that happen by nature. Man-made/technological disasters are situations that are caused by people/things, whether it’s intentional or unintentional.


Natural Man-made
·         Earthquakes

·         Hurricanes/tropical storms

·         Sinkholes

·         Wildfires

·         Floods

·         Emergencies

·         Industrial/transport accidents

·         Shootings/terrorist attacks

·         War

·         Famine

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

“The mental, emotional, and physical repercussions experienced after an extremely stressful experience.” (Seaward, 2012)

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can effect those who experience or witness the traumatic event, as well as, emergency personnel, friends or family members of the person that experienced the trauma. Traumatic events include (but is not limited to), war, natural disasters, car or plane crashes, terrorist attacks, sudden death of a loved one, rape, kidnapping, assault, sexual or physical abuse and childhood neglect.

Here is some of the symptoms for PTSD:

“Reliving” the event Flashbacks, repeating memories, repeated nightmares of the event, strong uncomfortable reactions to things that remind one of the event
Avoidance Emotional numbing, detachment, lack of interest in normal activities, showing less emotions/moods; avoiding places, people, thoughts that remind you of an event; feeling like you have no future
Arousal Difficulty concentrating, startling easily then having an exaggerated response, hypervigilance, feeling irritable, anger outbursts, sleep problems

Life Changes

“[A change] altering a person’s life or circumstances in a substantial way.” (’s 21st Century Lexicon, n.d.)

Here are six different types of life changes and examples:

Sudden uninvited changes Winning the lottery, best friend or family member moves out of town, sickness, natural disaster
Long anticipated changes Marriage, children, retirement
Everyday changes Changing a hairstyle, picking out new paint, investing in something
Habits Quitting smoking, dieting, picking, nail biting
Improving of skills/aptitudes Taking a class, learning a new technique, reaching goals
Changing limiting beliefs Getting past a negative mindset, insecurities, and goals you never thought you’d achieve.


“An adverse stress reaction to work with psychological, psychophysiological, and behavioural components.” (Greenberg, 2013)

Burnout is caused by too much work or frequent frustration at work. Symptoms include (but are not limited to), diminished sense of humor, skipping breaks, working overtime, no vacations/limited days off, working on scheduled days off, increased physical complaints, job performance changes, self-medication, internal changes, emotional and physical exhaustion.

Here are some things you can do about burnout:

  1. Ask yourself “What do I work for?” and make a list.
  2. List all activities you like and make note of the last time you did them. Then, do them when you have a chance.
  3. Create or join a support group.
  4. Start taking care of yourself physically by exercising, eating healthy and eliminating destructive behaviours/habits.
  5. Start taking care of yourself psychologically by practicing relaxation, negotiation, time management and assertiveness.
  6. Do something silly everyday to let go and not take yourself too seriously.


Babers, T. (n.d.). Are You Dealing with Change? Positive Changes Coaching. Retrieved from

Barber, K., Fitzgerald, H., Howell, T., & Pontisso, R. (2005). Oxford Canadian Dictionary of Current English. Canada: Oxford University Press.’s 21st Century Lexicon. (n.d.). life-changing. Retrieved from

Greenberg, J. (2013). Comprehensive Stress Management (13th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. (n.d.). Types of disasters: Definition of hazard. Retrieved from

Restore Your Economy. (n.d.). Types of Disasters. Retrieved from

Seaward, B. (2012). Managing Stress: Principles and Strategies for Health and Well-Being (7th ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Smith M., Segal, J., & Robinson L. (2016). PTSD: Symptoms, Self-Help, and Treatment. Retrieved from

Jessica Victoria
<p>Jessica Victoria, 24, is a writer and advocate for mental health, disability and LGBTQ+. She uses her personal experiences and knowledge to help and educate others.</p>

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