Do you know these Causes of Stress?

Knowing what are the causes of stress in your life is important. Why? Because it gives you an opportunity to do something about it and reduce the negative impact that stress has on your health and well being.

Whether it is dealing with the actual stressor, learning relaxation techniques, or adjusting your attitude, it all counts towards a more peaceful you.

Stress can arise from a number of sources. Causes of stress can be minor or major and they can range from chemicals to medical conditions to a hectic lifestyle.

What is stressful to one person may not be to another, depending on her perceptions.

Stress usually arises from the following 5 general sources:

  1. Internal
  2. Life Events
  3. Physical
  4. Lifestyle
  5. Environmental


Your thoughts, memories, feelings and belief systems can be a major cause of stress. The good news is that this is one area over which you have most control of. The following is a list of some of the internal causes of stress:

  • Negative thinking (interpreting events in a negative way)
  • Past emotional trauma
  • Fears and phobias
  • Perfectionism
  • Feeling powerless
  • Low self-esteem
  • Bottling up emotions
  • Resentment
  • Worries and anxieties about present and future events


Life Events

10 Biggest Causes of Stress

  1. Death of a spouse
  2. Divorce
  3. Marital separation
  4. Death of a close family member
  5. Jail term
  6. Major injury or illness
  7. Marriage
  8. Being fired from work
  9. Marital reconciliation
  10. Retirement

Stress is caused by an abnormal demand placed upon our ability to adapt. And certain life events definitely place enormous demands on us.

Psychologists have investigated what life events are associated with the highest amount of necessary readjustment. A number of different life events scales exist. The most commonly used scale is Holmes and Rahe's Social Readjustment scale, which ranks life events starting with the most stressful of all - Death of a spouse.

When several stressful life events occur close together (within one year), you run a greater risk of developing a stress related illness.




Physical injuries, strain, and pain in your body are stressful. Even though we do not have control over many events in our lives, some of the physical causes of stress are within our control. For example, improper breathing (usually breathing too fast and shallow) is not only a symptom of stress, it is also a cause of stress, as your body does not receive enough oxygen. By learning to breathe properly, you can reduce your stress levels and become more relaxed.

Other physical causes of stress are:

  • Infections, viruses, fungi, parasites
  • Inadequate breathing
  • Too much exercise
  • Improper exercise
  • Physical injury
  • Surgery
  • Physical pain - acute or chronic
  • Poor posture
  • Repetitive motions over long periods of time



Your lifestyle contributes directly to the amount of stress that you experience. While it may not be as obvious as a death in the family, the lifestyle choices you make can have a dramatic impact on your stress levels and subsequently on your health. Some lifestyle causes of stress are:
  • Workaholism
  • Inadequate self-care
  • Lack of organization and time management
  • Overspending
  • Insufficient sleep and rest
  • Poor nutritional habits
  • Use of recreational drugs
  • Excessive drinking



The environment itself can be a source of stress. Pollution, extremes of temperatures, poor living conditions all contribute to your stress.

Noise itself is a source of environmental stress. The stress response is triggered by noise over 85 decibels (a loud music, motorcycle, lawn mower, vacuum cleaner).

Some of the environmental causes of stress are:

  • Radiation
  • Lighting - too much or too little
  • Fluorescent lighting
  • Too hot or too cold
  • Impure air and water supplies
  • Heavy metal toxicities
  • Other toxins - plastic, pesticides, toxic fumes
  • Noise
  • Electromagnetic pollution
  • Severe storms, drought, famine, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, or war



What are they and why should you care? Microstressors are yet another source of stress in your life. Those are the daily hassles that you deal with.

Stress expert Dr Lazarus calls them "the irritating, frustrating, distressing demands that, to some degree, characterize everyday transactions with the environment". Traffic jams, lineups in the store, too many interruptions, boring work, loosing your car keys, being kept waiting for an appointment, are all examples of microstressors.

The more microstressors you have in your life, the more emotional difficulties may appear. Accumulation of microstressors can have the same negative impact on your health as experiencing a major stressful event.

As you can see, almost anything is a potential stressor. You can't avoid stress or get rid of it completely. You can minimize some stressful situations and you can learn to cope with stress more effectively. You can discharge stress through exercise, or fun activities, and you can learn some relaxation techniques.

Related Articles:

Effects of Stress
Effects of Stress on Health
Effects of Stress on the Brain
Long Term Effects of Stress
Physiological Effects of Stress
Psychological Effects of Stress
Positive Effects of Stress
Physical Effects of Stress


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