• Jan Baker

What causes stress?

Updated: Apr 10

Having written about what stress can look like, and what to look out for, this week I thought I'd look at some of the things that cause stress. This week I've been talking to Robyn Harris from W-I-L-D Wisdom Wellbeing about Aromatherapy and during the talk we touched on stress. Here's the You Tube link if you'd like to have a look. .

I did very briefly touch on some of the causes of stress in my previous blog, The Stress Test, but I thought I'd like to look at this in more detail today.

Feelings of stress are normally triggered by things happening in your life which involve:

  • being under lots of pressure

  • facing big changes

  • worrying about something

  • not having much or any control over the outcome of a situation

  • having responsibilities that you're finding overwhelming

  • not having enough work, activities or change in your life

  • times of uncertainty.

You may know that you have one big thing causing you stress. House moving for example, is listed as one of the most stressful things you can do; however, stress can also be caused by a build-up of small pressures. When then happens, it makes it far more difficult to indentify what's making you feel stressed and that can also be hard to explain to others, as you don't quite know where to start!

When dealing with stress, very often the amount of stress you feel can depend on many factors. Some of these factors can be things like:

  • How you see the situation - this might be connected to past experiences, how developed your self-esteem is, and how your thought processes work (for example, if you tend to see things negatively or positively in general).

  • How much experience you have dealing with that particular type of pressure. As a teacher, I had to become used to being observed and judged, but I became better at dealing with the pressure of this the more observations I had and the more experienced I got at teaching.

  • How emotionally resilient you are at facing and dealing with stressful situations - I'll talk more about this when we come to discuss how we can develop resilience in a later blog.

  • The amount of other pressures on you at the time.

  • The amount of support you may or may not receive and how effective this is.

Sometimes, it can simply depend on your mood at the time. On any given day, when you feel positive and in control, something you have been asked to do may cause you no stress at all, whilst on another if you're feeling a bit low in mood, or more tired than normal, it might cause you to experience signs of stress.

Inevitably, stress can be caused by things you can't avoid, such as personal illness or parenting, if you have children. Other stressors can be linked with maritial problems or difficult relationships with parents or family members. Sometimes, when you have to care for others on top of doing your own work, this can also add to your stress levels. Workplace stress has long been recognised as one of the biggest issues for wellbeing co-ordinators to tackle, and having to take exams must surely be up there as well. Your house can stress you out if it's too messy or you have poor living conditions, or worse, face eviction or can't find anywhere to stay. And one of the biggest causes of stress, hands down, is definitely money!

And, surprisingly, even things considered happy events can cause an enormous amount of stress. You may feel happy about having a baby or getting married (planned a wedding recently? Try putting together a guest list!) - but they bring with them big changes or make demands that you don't normally deal with and this can cause stress levels to definitely rise. What's worse, is that potentially they can make things worse because of the pressure to be happy and positive about your big event that comes with it.

Ultimately, what ever stresses you have, always remember these things:

  1. They will pass - nothing lasts forever

  2. Some things will always be out of your control.

I hope this blog has helped you identify your potential causes of stress. Next time, I'll look at how to deal with pressure and manage stress, as finding solutions to keeping our wellbeing balanced is absolutely key!

Much love to you all. As always, stay safe.

Bye for now

Jan x

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