Having a big-picture view of stress is important in life. Knowing the biggest causes of stress in life may help you realize you are not alone. With this knowledge, you might find that solving one stressful thing may not help too much.
In fact, it’s likely that solving one stressor won’t make a very big dent in your life at all. This is true because the human stress response system is very complex. Plus, stress and stress management cannot really be blocked and batched in small chunks.
That’s why it’s a great idea to develop a strong set of broad problem-solving and critical thinking skills. That way, stress be able to keep you hostage in multiple areas of life at the same time.
What are the Biggest Causes of Stress in Your Life?
If you thought for a moment or two, it probably wouldn’t take you long to write a list of the biggest causes of stress in your life. Below, I have shared a very INCOMPLETE list of some very big stressors that torment many people.
I’m sure there would be some similarities with your list. Stress management is a science, for sure, but it’s also a real art form. That’s why we must all be very creative and innovative in the methods and tools we use to try to keep all the stressors in life under control at the same time. The first step is to know and understand some of the major problem areas.
Breakdown of 12 of the Biggest Causes of Stress
Some of the biggest causes of stress in the workplace include perceived low wages, harassment and performance appraisals. Then there’s the threat of layoff, obnoxious bosses, annoying co-workers, deadlines and long hours. What about trying to get a raise, accessing training, and dealing with safety issues? There’s no doubt about it… workplace stress is a major problem for many people.
Family stress issues include extended family interference, sibling rivalries, and role-stereo-typing. Taking it further, we have family history issues, unrealistic expectations, and communication problems. And let’s not forget ridiculous comparisons, secrets, dysfunctional family traditions, and relentless demands. Finally, to round it all off, we have a lack of support and old-fashioned, outdated rituals, values, and beliefs.
To begin, probably the biggest relationship stressor is good old-fashioned communication problems. If that’s not enough, loyalty, honesty, compatibility, emotional abuse, assault, and other forms of violence can be a nightmare. Kicking it up a notch, if betrayal, affairs, unplanned pregnancies, and sexual preference issues are part of your reality, then life will be stressful indeed. And finally, let’s not forget that breaking up is just plain hard to do.
Dating stressors include blind dates, first dates, one-night stands, and online dating. On the medical front, we have sexually-transmitted diseases, unplanned pregnancies, and issues with contraceptives. Of course, dating can easily move in the direction of challenges with substance abuse, such as drinking and drugs. On the safety issues front, we must be very concerned with drinking and driving, statutory rape, date-rape drugs and physical violence.
If you step into the gambling realm, then you’re in for some real stress. This is especially true if you start to lose control of things. For example, you may have to deal with racking up debt, gambling addiction, respecting your limits. If you do end up crossing that point of no return, then you may have the not-so-pleasurable experiences of dealing with violence at the hands of gangs, mafia, and loan sharks.
Or perhaps, you’ll get to spend time in the criminal justice system. Then, if you do try to get on the road to recovery, you will get to navigate the stressful waters of Gamblers’ Anonymous, recovery, relapse, lifelong dependency, and substituting for other addictive behaviors.
Credit and Debt Stress
And let’s not forget about credit misuse and debt stressors. Perhaps, you’ll struggle with debt load issues, total debt ratio (TDR) challenges, credit card applications, and approvals struggles. However, we can’t forget mortgage payments, late payments, credit rating, and interest rates. And if things start to go bad, then you may face bankruptcy, collections, and debt settlement issues. All the way around, poorly managed money can lead to stress city.
Holidays should lower stress… right? However, this is rarely the case. A few holiday stressors include missing work, vacation planning, getting lost, dealing with borders and passports. Then there are issues with air travel, communication, cultural issues, cost, language barriers, and foreign illnesses. And even if you don’t go anywhere, holidays still tend to be packed with stressors of all shapes and sizes.
Are you a student? Then you know about the biggest causes if stress related to school or the pursuit of higher education. Maybe, this category brings to minds deadlines, tests, studying, overwhelming workload, rules, and conflicts with instructors.
If not those, then perhaps you know about conflicts with other students, course conflicts, scheduling, homework, and issues with grades. No matter what level of education you pursue, and no matter the logistics of how you pursue it, there are going to be stress nightmares all around.
Mental stress could be the worst of all. A few mental stressors include fears and phobias and destructive emotions like guilt, shame, blame, and embarrassment. Left unattended, things like lifelong resentments, unrealistic expectations, and self-loathing can quickly be added to the list of major mental stressors. The biggest cause of mental stress may, in fact, be the more than 50 different types of cognitive distortions that dance around in our heads torturing us mercilessly.
If you have kids, then you are in for some serious stress. A few of the biggest causes of stress for parents include discipline, education, behavior, neglect, and giving them proper care. However, the demands on parents seem to be relentless, and most parents also struggle daily with money issues, time challenges, communication blocks and barriers, and chore struggles. To round off this incomplete list, we also have a lack of routines and systems, health care troubles, love deficiencies, kids’ friends, safety, co-parenting and in-laws.
For married couples or those in long-term committed relationships, it seems stressors, in all their many forms, are never too far away. Probably, the biggest stressor for soon-to-be-married couples is, of course, the wedding planning and wedding day. However, even if you survive the lead-up and the actual big day, you are far from in the clear.
Let’s see, married or common-law couples have to contend with in-laws, religion, money, children, the holidays and housing. Plus, cohabitation, personal space issues, shared responsibilities, family planning, communication, and control can also be highly stressful.
Truth be told the list of stressors in this setting can take years to wade through before things start to settle down. And that’s assuming, you even make it that far.
Financial stress is the big kahuna in most people’s lives. That’s no matter your age or stage in life. Your environment also rarely makes much of a difference. In fact, there are probably a million issues around money.
The list of stressors on the money front includes financial planning, savings, banking, earning enough income, and the need to have multiple sources of income. Of course, we also have money scams, getting ripped off, security, theft, paying bills, retirement, pensions, taxes, and budgeting. All in all, money is stressful so we need to be very good at dealing with it.
Keeping It All Together
All in all, there are many stressors in our lives. The above list covers many of the biggest causes of stress in life, and because there are so many more out there, it is critical for us to learn the right blend of problem-solving skills and critical-thinking skills so that we can lead happy productive lives keeping stress at bay as much as possible.