Causes of stress

It is true that we are all affected by stress, but it is important to acknowledge that we all have different perceptions of what is stressful.  What gets under of the skin of one may go completely unnoticed by another.  At different times in your life you may be able to cope with a particular situation, while at others it may completely overwhelm you.   The point is – it doesn’t matter so much what it is that stresses you out, it matters that you can identify it.

As soon as you can identify it, you can do something about it.  This realisation in itself begins to dissolve one of the most fundamental stressors for most people – the feeling of being powerless.

Here is a list of some our most common sources of stress:

  • Feeling powerless in any situation
  • Feeling trapped and isolated
  • A lack of purpose and direction
  • The death or loss of a loved one
  • An injury, illness or infection
  • Not getting enough rest/sleep.  Continually forcing yourself to push through.
  • Over exertion – work, school, social, exercise, etc.
  • Environmental toxins
  • Allergies
  • Financial pressures and uncertainties
  • Relationships – personal, professional or otherwise
  • Psychological disorders
  • A negative frame of mind/negative expectations
  • Unsatisfactory employment conditions
  • An anxious mind (fear)
  • Stimulants such as coffee, caffeine, nicotine, alcohol,      sugar, drugs
  • Prescription and non-prescription drugs
  • A lack of exercise
  • Unhealthy eating habits
  • Self-pressure for perfection and high achievements
  • Congenital or hereditary weak adrenals
  • A lack of leisure/enjoyable activities
  • Feeling as though you are not free to express yourself
  • Staying in any of the above situations when you KNOW that they are causing you pain and stress!

Of course, there are many other sources and variations to this list.  It may help to write a list of your own and begin to think about what you could to change or eliminate sources of stress in your life.

Remember that your perception of a situation has a very powerful influence over whether it causes you stress or not – perhaps all you have to do is change your perception of a situation in order to feel better about it.

“When a person lacks steadiness and is unable to control his mind his senses are like wild horses, but the mind, like horses, can be trained”.

(Katha Upanishad)

Originally published on Holistic Stress Management April 1, 2013

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