Why is it that a situation which is stressful to you doesn’t stress out your friend? Your friend seems to be very cool about it while you are panicky and anxious. The other way round also may be true when a situation does not stress. You while your friend is jumping around.
Though some people are genetically predisposed to be more stressed. There are other factors which impact the way the individual responds to a situation. When a person finds he/she is powerless to handle a new situation like a new job, illness, losing a family member or other such situations.
Situations that you have handled before aren’t as stressful as the ones which are new. This is so only if earlier you have accepted. And learned to cope with the situation, building coping mechanisms for that. But if you were unable to cope with it, then the stress remains. For e.g.: For an illness in the family if you have already identified your support system. A new job is stressful in the beginning but as you get to know people, the working of the organization the stress eases as you have now built your coping mechanisms for it.
The coping mechanisms you have built through your growing years also determine your response to situations. Someone who has grown up seeing their parents handling ill-health of his grandparents. May be able to handle a similar situation with ease as against a person. Who has never been exposed to such a situation? You also build your coping mechanisms looking at the way your parents coped. If they coped better in certain situations, you may be able to do so too.
The individual’s ability to accept a change is another factor. A person, who is very rigid, loves to do everything according to a plan, may have difficulty in accepting the new situation. A person who is optimistic tends to handle stress better than a pessimist.
Your self-esteem, support system also determine the way you view the situation.
People’s life experiences also tend to make them more resistant/sensitive to stress. People who in childhood have had a nurturing environment, who have had parents who positively reinforce them and not use much punishment can be resistant to stress. On the other hand, people who have undergone a lot of stressful situations when they were children ranging up to, of course, outright abuse and neglect. Those people are much more sensitive to stress.
Whatever may be the cause of your current distress; you can build your coping mechanisms and manage your stress well.