(4) Double or multiple approach-avoidance conflict --we are
faced with many choices, each with complex positive and negative
aspects. This is like conflicts (1) and (3) combined. The real world is
like this sometimes: There is a good movie on (but you might flunk a
quiz tomorrow); there is a lot of studying to do (but it's all so boring);
there is a chance you could meet someone interesting at the pizza
parlor (but it's too many calories); there is a job opening in your
hometown (but it might be a serious mistake to quit college). All have
their appeal; all have disadvantages; and you have only a few minutes
in which to make many decisions like this every day.
(5) Avoidance-approach conflict --some ordinarily avoidable
goals are so enticing (opposite of 1) that once you get close you can't
stop: you can't stop with one cashew; a sexually attractive and willing
partner may be impossible to resist once you get into bed. Emotions
are like this--anger can be contained until we get to the boiling point,
then we let go full force. Or, we may avoid someone or some activity
or food thinking we don't like them, but once we get closer to them we
find out we like them.
Being aware of the different types of conflicts could help you
recognize troublesome situations in your own life. Such conflicts might
be the source of stress and anxiety. Having a philosophy of life
(chapter 3) and good decision-making skills (chapter 13) will help
resolve the conflicts.
Other external and internal sources of stress
Shaffer (1982) lists 9 external and 10 internal sources of stress.
The external ones are noise, polluted air, poor lighting, overcrowding,
unpleasant relationships, uninteresting work or poor conditions, life
changes (see above), too much or too little responsibility, and too
many "rules." The internal sources are poor diet, little exercise,
physical strain on the body, rushing or being unable to adjust to the
pace of others, experiencing conflict or taking things too seriously,
sexual frustration, finding little meaning in life, nervous symptoms,
and taking no time for yourself.
A "source" of one emotion (anxiety, sadness, anger, dependency)
can be another emotion. There is strong evidence that certain
emotions go together, e.g. anxiety and depression, so it is wise to look
for both feelings even though you are aware of only one. Sometimes
one emotion, say anger, is so disturbing that it is denied (see defense
mechanisms), but the simmering hostility can produce great anxiety
which may keep us awake at night and stressed out during the day. In
that case, focusing on reducing the restlessness may not effectively
relieve the anger. You may have to dig out all the feelings.
If you are looking for the sources of your stress, you should
consider all the above mentioned external and internal sources, but
there are still many more ways to get stressed. Especially neglected in
our discussion, thus far, are the cognitive sources (unreasonable