The causes of stress are many–from the big, lifetime occurrences like loosing a loved one or loosing your job, to the small, daily stressors like getting a parking ticket and talking with your child’s teacher about her latest grades. Sometimes the causes are physical–an illness or injury, and other times they are mental–a fight or a difficult deadline.
In everyone’s life, we have stress. Understanding the what causes stress can help us to better manage our stress, to anticipate what we need to do to cope, and make arrangements to reduce the stressors as much as possible.
Typical Causes of Stress
- Your job–especially jobs like nursing, or changing jobs.
- School–exam time is particularly stressful
- Financial difficulties
- Marriage–getting married or having a troubled marriage
- Pregnancy and having a baby in the house
- Caring for an aging parent
- Injury or illness of you or someone close to you
Demographic Groups that are Prone to Extra Stress
- The Poor
Traits and Attitudes that Increase Stress
- “Type A” personalities/overachievers
- Rigid, inflexible thinkers when coping with change
Spiritual Causes of Stress
- Questioning “Who am I?” “Why am I here?” “Do I matter?” Teenagers can experience this type of stress.
- Not being in the now. Anticipating and fearing the future and replaying the past.
- Resistance. Wanting things to be different than they are adds an additional layer of stress to whatever is happening.
- Not knowing what is important. Chasing false ideals (money, fame, etc) and forgetting what matters to you most causes stress when your success seems empty.
- Not knowing what is really a true threat. When we worry about unimportant things (or worry at all), we create stress but don’t create action to resolve the threat.
- Lack of connection with God, creativity, beauty.
Spiritual stress may be the most amorphous of the stressors. We hardly recognize an existential crisis in our busy everyday lives, and yet often at the root of stress, we have lost our connection with the Divine. We yearn for meaning, security, a sense of place. When we are in touch with the Divine, often very stressful situations pass easily. A death becomes a tender farewell. A financial crisis becomes a chance to reprioritize. A lost job becomes an opportunity to do something more fulfilling.
Our lives have stress. The lists above demonstrate that the people who don’t have a stressor in their live are a smaller group than the people who do. So while the causes of stress are important to understand, what is more important is that we learn tocope with the stress that inevitably comes our way.