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Causes of Stress

Because everyone reacts differently to stressful situations, the causes of stress are wide and varied. While one person finds a particular situation stressful, it may not have any effect on another person. What triggers a stress reaction is therefore different for every person. It is therefore important to be able to identify the triggers or contributing factors that cause you to feel the negative emotion of stress.

The Stress Management Society (2009) shows that stress is caused by two major factors:

  1. Whether you think situations around you are worthy of stress and anxiety; and then
  2. How your body reacts to your thought processes ie. the stress response to unexpected events of 'fight or flight'.

These thought processes are commonly brought on when a person experiences an unexpected or challenging event or circumstance. Our responses relate to how stressful we perceive the situation, the more extreme the situation, the larger our response will be. Understanding how your thought processes and how they process stressful situations is important in being able to manage and reduce negative reactions to stressful situations.

Stress Tip
Stress reactions are different for everyone. It is important to identify what causes you to become stressed and understand why you react the way you do.
What stresses you out in everyday life?

According to NHS research (2009), some common causes of stress include:

  • Money matters
  • Job issues
  • Relationships
  • Bereavement
  • Family problems
  • Moving house

However, sometimes there are no clear causes of stress. Some people naturally feel more frustrated, anxious or depressed than others, which can lead to them feeling stressed more often.

According to the Health and Safety Executive (2009), there are a number of factors that can contribute to the onset of a stress reaction:

  • Eating on the run, or in a disorganised manner
  • Smoking, or drinking excessively
  • Rushing, hurrying, being available to everyone
  • Doing several jobs at once
  • Missing breaks, taking work home with you
  • Having no time for exercise and relaxation.

Stress Tip
Do you notice yourself becoming particularly stressed at certain times? It is important the recognise lifestyle habits that influence your stress levels.
What factors contribute to stress in your life?

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