You can only take so much. Too much stress will surpass your capacity to manage it. When you are “over the top” you have exceeded your stress threshold. It’s important to know where it is so you can avoid it or know what to do about it.

If you spend too much time above your stress threshold you are likely to suffer symptoms of anxiety, panic and even despair. If the stress lasts too long, you run the risk of having those symptoms harden into an anxiety or depressive illness. You also run the risk of developing a medical condition like ulcers, hypertension, diabetes, or chronic back pain.

Although there’s no way to determine the exact level of your stress threshold, you’re likely to find out where it is as you are confronted with challenges in your life.

Your capacity to handle stress may not be the same as your friend’s or even your relatives. Although your stress threshold level is influenced by your genes, it is also influenced by your childhood adversity, medical problems, your age, and certainly your life events. The more problems you have, the more likely it is that your threshold for stress is low and that you have less tolerance for stress.