The Biggest Causes of Stress and Six Steps to Deal with Them

The biggest causes of stress for adults are workplace stress, financial stress, and stress about relationships and family responsibilities. For younger people the main cause of stress is school stress.

Stress occurs at all ages and affects the majority of people, with over half the American population reporting moderate to high levels of stress last year.

Some of the biggest causes of stress include:

A main cause of stress is adaption to changes associated with external life events.

This was the basis for the famous stress questionnaire that builds on the Social Readjustment Rating Scale which is also known as the Holmes and Rahe stress scale.

External events, such as the death of a spouse, job loss or overwork and fatigue are some of the biggest causes of stress.

While they are significant it is important to repeat the words of the famous stress researcher Richard Rahe who in 1979, said:

"the qualities of life change events are qualities of the individual rather than aspects of the environment"

There are individuals who seem to be immune to stress while the same event for others sends them into a cycle of increasing stress and anxiety.

So what causes stress for one person may be different for another.

Stress is in the eye of the beholder

So, when taking the above stress questionnaire, remember that even if you receive a high score it does not necessarily mean that you experience significant stress as how you view the cause of stress is important.

With greater awareness it is possible to create new habits that reduce the effects of these main causes of stress.

Tell us what your main cause of stress is and how you deal with it.

Six steps to manage your biggest causes of stress

In a Harvard study Dr Flannery identified a number of specific characteristics that describe a stress-resilient individual able to cope with stress effectively. These characteristics include:

  1. taking personal control in their lives
  2. involvement in something meaningful to them
  3. involvement in a task and being focused on achieving a goal
    • wise health life choices. For example:

    • consume few dietary supplements and eat nutritiously
    • get aerobic exercise regularly as exercise reduces stress in a number of ways
    • incorporate relaxation exercises into their daily routine. Here are some best ways to relax.

  4. seeking systems of social support and reaching out to others
  5. having a sense of humor and looking on the bright side of situations. Humor can be difficult to bring into your life when stressed. Here are some laughter therapy resources to bring more humor into your life.
  6. adopting spiritual or religious values.

By pursuing these specific qualities Dr Flannery argues that "...you utilize the skills of people who seem to naturally be more able to withstand the stresses of life."

Search here for other tips to deal with stress

What are your biggest causes of stress and how do you deal with it?

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More stress management articles

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Caregiver Stress. Reduce Caregiver Stress and Potential Burnout



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