What Causes Stress - The Top 5 Culprits
Stress is inevitable, and whilst we may sometimes be able to change stressful situations, it is impossible to always avoid all stressful situations. Stress is the result of our physical and psychological reactions to changes in our environment. In certain amounts, stress can be beneficial, pushing us to achieve our goals. However, too much stress will lead to negative emotional and physical reactions as it is our body’s way of telling us that we need a break and that we are unable to cope.
There are some 60 over different causes of stress, with more sources being added to the list with time. This is not surprising given the rate of change that we are facing in our lives. Not all stress is resultant from negative changes; positive changes in our lives may increase our stress levels as well. Whilst we are not able to avoid all stressful situations, we are certainly capable of learning how to deal with them.
A stressor is something which creates or increases stress, and there are different varieties of factors that cause stress. We identify the top 5 stressors that most people face, and highlight them for you to make it easier for you to spot your own personal stressors.
Cause #1: Monetary
Money may not make the world go round, but it is certainly essential for a certain measure of happiness. Financial stresses are one of the leading causes of stress due to the increased standards of living that people want to achieve. Money is needed to finance the purchase of a new home or a new car. Further, a loss in inflow of money is also a primary cause of stress. These include the loss of a job, or the potential of being retrenched.
It is not hard to understand after all. Money is needed to send your children to college, or to pay for medical expenses, and the various other needs that we have.
Cause #2: Occupational
Closely tied into the first stressor is that of our jobs. Our jobs cause us stress as we need to worry about meeting our performance targets, or impressing the boss for a pay rise. Or it could simply be office politics, or a fear of being retrenched. A merger with another company could drastically change our working conditions, and the list goes on. There are countless factors and reasons that cause occupational stress, both external and internal.
Cause #3: Performance
This is a situation which many at some point or another in their lives have faced. A sudden call for a speech, lunch with the boss, meeting a potential date, driving on the highway for the first time, final examinations and the other monumental events that we go through cause us great amounts of stress. There is a need to perform, to do well and be accepted, leading to greater anxiety. These may even be events that we are familiar with and prepared for, but when placed in the spot still causes stress.
Cause #4: Bereavement
Be it the death of a pet, a loss of a relationship, or the death of a life partner, these are not events that occur commonly. Whilst the death of a loved one is not something that we experience in our lives everyday, it is probably one of the stressors with the greatest impact.
Cause #5: Personal
This refers to stresses that are largely internal, though they may be triggered by our external environment. For example, we have a need for a certain measure of control over our lives. We like to think that we have a choice over what we want to do, when we want to do it. When this sense of control is missing, we find our stress levels rising. Recall waiting for your friend who is late to arrive to catch a movie? These are events that are out of our control, causing us to be subject to other people’s demands, and can be a great source of stress.
Personal changes of any sort, positive or negative, also cause a large amount of stress. The decision to get married, the birth of a kid, or perhaps a legal case, these are all personal stressors.