See a doctor Skip to content

What causes stress?

Stress is a normal part of life, and it can sometimes be a good thing - whether it motivates you to get that promotion at work, or pushes you through to the end of an important project. However, too much stress isn’t good for you. Long-term, it can impact your mental health and body.

People feel stressed for a variety of reasons. It can be one big problem that you’re facing, or lots of little events piling up on top of each other. If this is the case, it might mean it’s harder for you to identify what’s causing your stress.

Stress is normally triggered by events happening in your life, including:

  • Being under pressure
  • Overwhelming responsibilities
  • Facing big changes
  • Worrying about something
  • Having responsibilities that you’re finding overwhelming
  • Feeling like you don’t have control over your life

If you’re feeling stressed, it’s really important to identify the source of the problem, as avoiding it will make things worse in the long term. For example, problems at work, at home or with money will eventually need dealing with, even though your body’s natural ‘fight or flight’ response might tell you to run from your stressful situation right now.

You don’t have to deal with it on your own. Our doctors are here to help. Once they understand what triggers your stress, they will be able to offer you practical advice and suggest effective treatment and stress management techniques.

What kind of situations can cause stress?

Personal issues

Things that are going on in your life can cause stress, such as:

Family issues

As much as families can be greats, they can sometimes be a cause of stress. Reasons for this include:

  • Being in charge of an important family event
  • Arguments
  • Divorce
  • Caring for a family member

Even happy events such as getting married can cause stress. Some people find the pressure of these occasions difficult to deal with.

Problems at home

Your living situation can contribute to stress. This exact cause may differ depending on whether you rent or own your home. Stress can be triggered by:

  • The possibility of eviction
  • Moving home
  • Noisy or unpleasant neighbours
  • Issues with your landlord
  • Things not working - e.g. plumbing, heating, appliances
  • The cost of your rent or mortgage

Problems at work

We spend a lot of our lives at work, so it can be tough when it becomes the cause of your stress. There are many ways that work could affect your mental health, such as:

  • Long hours
  • Low pay
  • Deadlines
  • Starting a new job
  • Late payment of wages
  • Bullying or harassment
  • The threat of losing your job
  • Redundancy
  • Long-term unemployment
  • Retirement

Generally, you can break these concerns down into one of five subcategories:

  • Too much pressure
  • Lack of control
  • Lack of support
  • Relationships with your colleagues
  • Understanding of your role
  • Changes within your organisation

If you want to relieve stress at work, it’s worth thinking about how all of these subcategories are linked. For example, a lack of control can lead to too much pressure. More control would give you the power to share or manage your workload and reduce this pressure.

Money worries

Specifically, not having enough money is a worry all of us can identify with. This can create stressful situations such as:

  • Being in debt
  • Not having enough money to pay bills
  • Not having enough money to go out and enjoy yourself, or go on holiday

Post-traumatic stress

The stress from traumatic events can stay with you long after the situation has passed. For example, if you were the victim of a crime, it can make everyday situations such as being at home alone more stressful than they were before the incident.

People deal with stress in their own ways

Something that causes one person a lot of stress might not be an issue for someone else.

For example, if you’ve got to give a presentation at work but aren’t confident speaking in front of a crowd, this could stress you out. Whereas if you’re confident in public speaking, you might actually be looking forward to it.

How you perceive the situation has a big impact on how you deal with it. If you have low-self esteem, negative past experiences or how you look at things can all impact on how you deal with stress. Your emotional resilience and how good you are under pressure can also impact it.

Can happy events cause stress?

Yes they can. We mentioned pregnancy and marriage earlier- both of which can put a lot of pressure on you. They can mean big changes, big expenses and new demands, all of which can contribute towards stress.