The biggest causes of stress
Are you feeling stressed? With so many problems and stressful situations in life, I won't be surprised if you are! On this page, you can find the rest of my list of the biggest causes of stress.
If you've landed here first, do make sure you check out Part 1 of this article for information about relationship stresses. I hope these pages will help you to identify the source of your stress, and help you to start tackling the problems you're facing.
And remember - it's often (although not necessarily) your perception of the event, rather than the event or situation itself, that causes stress.
20 Work-related causes of stress
Work-related stress is most certainly one of the biggest causes of stress, as you're likely to spend so much of your time at work. It can also be stressful if you want to work, but are currently unemployed.
Work-related stress and stress at work can cause depression and anxiety. In the case of emergency services and forces personnel, it can sometimes cause trauma and even (though relatively rarely) PTSD.
Work-related stress also often ‘leaks out’ into personal relationships:
- a lousy day at work may cause you to be ratty and miserable at home
- a traumatic incident is potentially life-changing, and can challenge everything that you've previously taken for granted.
20 Work-related stressors
- Burn-out (see: Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome)
- Difficulties with a manager (see: How to Deal With Criticism)
- Boredom (see: Bored With Life)
- Conflicts with colleagues (see: Relationship Communication)
- Working with colleagues who don't pul their weight
- Home-related issues impeding on your well-being and performance at work (see: Relationship Problems)
- Promotion - lack of opportunity, feeling bypassed, interview/exam anxiety
- Work reminders of past (childhood) trauma; for example: police officers dealing with children living in unsafe environments, or frequent reminders of traumatic incidents they have previously dealt with
- Feeling overstretched in terms of workload
- Simply working in a job that is known to be stressful
- Feeling overstretched in terms of difficulties of tasks
- Changing roles, departments or area
- Harassment - racial, sexual or otherwise
- Traumatic work-related experiences
- Loss of job or job role - being moved side-ways or demoted with or without any say or control
- Unrealistic deadlines
- Commuting: overcrowding and delays or busy roads and traffic jams
- Lack of recognition: you're working hard, but appear to be invisible
- Public speaking - whether for a small or large crowd
- The values and beliefs of the organisation/business you work for don't fit with yours
Have you decided that you've had enough, and it's time to find another job? I know the best job-finding site for you: best-interview-strategies.com (see links below).
You are in charge of your own life!
Stress related problems due to financial worries
Financial problems can feel all-consuming. You may feel that you just can't get away from them. It can feel as if the loan sharks, bank managers, creditors, your partner and your children are camping in your head. Financial hardship is definitely one of the biggest causes of stress.
Here is a list of stressors you might be dealing with - I've broken 'money worries' down in symptoms. Have a look through and pick out the ones that apply to you:
10 Stressors related to your financial situation
- Feeling out of control of other people’s spending – (your partner or children for example)
- Having to tell others that their plans cannot happen
- Worrying about job security
- Feeling stressed and therefore grumpy
- Feeling lousy because you're so grumpy with your partner and children
- Sleepless nights and miserable mornings
- The ‘pay packet’ bringing no relief at the start or end of the month
- Wondering how you're going to tell others that they're going to have to contribute (more)
- Worrying about how you're going to feed your family
- Worrying how the lack of money affects your children's education
Each separate point can provide an opportunity for change. Dealing with the actual financial/job insecurity or debts is likely to take time. However, you can do something about how you feel about them or react to them.
10 Causes of stress due to health-related problems
A sudden illness or an accident (see my page on Dealing With Trauma) or a severe/long-term decline in health invariably have a significant impact on your mental and emotional well-being.
Severe (and sometimes even seemingly minor) health problems almost always affect all aspects of your life.
Here is a list of the biggest causes of stress in terms of health:
- Coping with bad, even unexpected, news
- Coping with the impact of bad news on loved ones
- Changing dynamics between you and your partner if one of you becomes more dependent on the other
- The impact of your health problems on your role at home
- The impact on your financial security/earning an income, because of your health or having to care for someone else
- Feeling generally out of control of several aspects of your life
- Coping with a sense of loss (your health, security, status, achievements)
- Coping with dealing with the health services (positive and/or negative)
- Coping with stressful and/or painful procedures, such as surgery
- Coping with changing relationships with friends/family/colleagues due to illness
10 Consequences of the stress of living or working in an unsafe environment
An unsafe environment could mean the fear of threats, violence and intimidation - or actually having experienced these.
These events may happen in your neighbourhood, personal relationships or work environment - or a combination of all of these.
The results of that are:
- Anticipatory anxiety – you're constantly worried about what could happen
- Post-traumatic stress reactions, if you've actually experienced threats, horror and loss as a result of living in an unsafe environment
- Difficulties to really becoming the person you want to be and reaching your full potential
- Feeling guilty about feeling unable to defend yourself and/or stand up for yourself and/or others
- Worrying about the safety of others and feeling guilty for not being able to provide a safer environment for them
- Inability to focus on the things that really matter with your anxiety seemingly winning
- Low self-esteem through being bullied or feeling unable to cope
- Feeling very self-conscious yet fearing you stand out, instead of being able to take your safety and security as a given
- Difficulties in other relationships than those causing you to feel stressed
- Chastising yourself for not coping with it all
The biggest causes of stress and the Human Givens
All of the above stresses mean that our most essential needs are not being met in balance. Meeting your innate needs in balance and using your inborn resources effectively (see my page on The Human Givens) will help you to deal with the biggest causes of stress.
You, your relationship and the biggest causes of stress
Invariably stress has an impact on a couple relationship or marriage, as both partners often have different styles of problem solving (have a look at my page on Stress and Your Relationship).
You and your partner may react very differently to stressful times that affect your health and happiness.
Please do try not to judge your partner, however difficult that might be. It would only add another layer of suffering and yet another problem to solve.
Problem Solving Strategies
Signs of (Clinical) Depression
Stress Management in the Workplace
Tips to Relieve Stress
Other Helpful Links
Health and Safety Executive - links to studies on work-related stress
Customer service agencies - helping to make a stressful job enjoyable
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