While 8 in 10 Americans admit to being stressed out frequently, not everyone reacts the same way. For some people, stress is common place. These people have developed tools and coping skills that are proven effective with combating everyday stress. For others, stress can manifest into anxiety disorders, depression, and have another disastrous effects on their health. So what exactly causes stress and how do you know when you need help handling it? This article will help answer this.
What Causes Stress?
While this article will go into great detail about external factors that cause stress, it’s important to understand what stress is. There is a healthy amount of stress that everyone experiences. This is the stress that keeps us safe. The fight or flight response is your body’s natural reaction to a potentially harmful or dangerous situation. This initial feeling of hesitation, fear, or alarm is completely normal, natural, and necessary for survival. But what happens when this normal, healthy stress overtakes our minds and bodies, preventing you from completing day to day activities? For some people, this is a reality. And here are a few reasons why.
Stress Due to Work
Work is one of the leading causes of stress among Americans. Nearly 50% of Americans relate their daily stress to their jobs. The second most common cause of stress is often finances, which makes sense considering these two elements are often interconnected. This website can help you combat some of your financial stress. But if your work stress isn’t related to finances;here are just a few work-related issues that can cause stress.
Not many people can say that they love what they do for a living. For most people, a job is simply a job. It’s a paycheck and a way to earn money and pay their bills. You may not particularly enjoy your job, your boss, or even your co-workers. Because most people spend, on average, between 35 and 60 hours per week at work, it’s no wonder an unhappy work environment can cause stress long after you clock out at the end of the day.
More than 85% of people commute to work. Time spent in the car, dealing with other drivers, traffic, and the strain it puts on your body physically, can cause a great deal of stress. Many people attribute the stress they experience while commuting as a feeling of being out of control. Commuting can be unpredictable. There’s also the fear of getting into a car accident, being late for work, or experience other car trouble. At the end of the day, most people are exhausted and simply want to get home. Unfortunately, for commuters, their day doesn’t end until they get home, which could be hours after their work day ends. The same goes for the morning commute. For employees who work hours from home, they likely need to leave very early in the morning, causing fatigue, anxiety, and a sense of immediacy. All of these factors take a toll on a person, causing both mental and physical stress.
Expectations and Ethical Issues
When a work environment places unrealistic or unknown expectations on it’s employees, it can cause immense stress. Feeling as if you’re not good enough or are disappointing coworkers and supervisors makes you question your self-worth and ability. These are very unhealthy feelings and thoughts to have. What’s even more frustrating is when your boss or supervisor expects you to perform in a way that you’re not capable. By not meeting their expectations, you may start to feel like a failure.
Some stress is the result of an isolated incident. This stress can subside with time or cause long lasting effects. Here are a few examples of these types of stressful incidents.
- Death (loss of a family member or loved one, either unexpected or tragic)
- Job loss or other financial troubles
- Marriage (planning a wedding)
- Having a child
- Chronic illness or pain
- Natural disasters
- Violence against you
Any traumatic event can cause a different emotional response in each person. Some responses include denial, depression, shock, and stress. Everyone handles these emotions differently and it’s important to allow yourself to feel the pain and follow your own personal path to recovery.
Other Causes of Stress
Because everyone handles life changes differently, some of the following incidents may cause extreme stress while others only mild or none at all.
Change is necessary for progress but some people adjust better to change than others. Even positive change like a wedding, new home, or new job can strike fear and worry in people. Humans are creatures of habit. When you become comfortable in a set routine or schedule, deviating from the norm can be unsettling. But it’s important to give yourself time to adjust to recent changes. Taking one day at a time and creating a new routine can help combat the stress caused by change.
Whether these expectations are placed on you by others or yourself, setting unrealistic expectations or goals is a recipe for disaster, failure, and hurt feelings. No one is perfect and if you feel that you’re not performing the way you should be, it can be extremely stressful. Setting healthy goals is a great way to motivate yourself and encourage self-development and growth. But putting immense amounts of pressure on yourself to achieve unattainable goals is unhealthy. By removing some of that pressure, you’ll feel less stressed and may actually be more productive as a result.
There are various ways you can combat your current stress. If you’re unable to change your current circumstance, like changing your job or eliminating the immediate stress in your life, you need to make small changes. Practicing yoga, meditation, or mindfulness can all help relieve stress and anxiety. The best part is, you can practice these methods in the comfort of your own home. Breathing exercises are another great way to combat stress that causes a physical reaction like rapid heartbeat or increased blood pressure. If you can’t control your stress, you need to control your reaction to it. This means maintaining a positive mind frame and attitude. Try not to lose your patience. Keep things in perspective and react accordingly. All of these things, in time, can help you handle stress better and stop it from interfering with everyday life.
Article Submitted By Community Writer