Causes of stress
Categories of stressors
Thinking of stressors in different categories will help you to become aware of the variety that there are in your life. This is an important step – it is only when you have identified the stressors that apply to you, that you can realistically hope to control their effects.
As you read through the different categories listed below, think about how each stressor may be affecting your life. Which ones apply to you? When you complete the charts, it is crucially important to be as honest with yourself as possible. This is not always as easy as it sounds, but it is only by being truthful with yourself that you will gain genuine insight into the ways you think and feel.
These crop up in everyday life. Some may be beyond your control which others might appear to be insignificant but should not be ignored - they could easily build up over time and become a major source of negative stress.
Do any of the lifestyle stressors in the chart below have a negative effect on you? Tick Yes or No.
Your physical condition also affects how well you deal with stress. Check the chart to discover what might be weakening your body and leaving you vulnerable to negative stress.
Tick Yes or No, depending on whether or not these body stressors apply to you.
Overwork and poor staff management are now recognized as stressors. In the USA there has been a rise in employee compensation lawsuits due to occupational stress, and during the last few years British courts have awarded damages to employees who successfully claimed that their health had suffered due to work related stress. Not surprisingly, many countries now have official guidelines aimed at reducing stress in the work place.
Do any of the work stressors listed below apply to you? Tick Yes or No.
Changes taking place in your life can be immensely stressful and can even lead to illness. If several changes occur at the same time, the effects can be compounded. For example, if you move house, start a new job, and have your partner’s parents to stay for a month, all within a fairly short time span, the resulting stress burden will probably be huge.
In my work counselling people, I have observed that constant change, and the stress that it generates can be related to the onset of illness any time within the following two-year period. It is usual to find that the more life events a person goes through, the worse their stress condition gets. Consequently, they find it harder than ever to get back to ‘normal’.
This does not mean that you must never move, swap your job, or refuse to let the children leave home for fear of the ensuing stress it will create. No changes at all in your life lead to boredom which can be almost as bas as too much stress - too little change will leave you feeling stagnant and unfulfilled.
In the next section we'll look at how important change stressors can be and the goal of stress management.