Sources of Stress

This post provides a checklist to identify sources of stress.

Sources of stress

Sources of stress are everywhere, often dominating our daily lives.

These stressors are grouped into broad categories. This helps to recognise the many ways that stress can impact us.

Sources of Stress – Time and Resource Management

  • Over commitment – a poor match with your time, energy and resources
  • Time pressure
  • Poor work life balance – unable to switch off
  • Sleep deprivation – poor quality of sleep, insomnia

Sources of Stress in Your Relationship With Yourself

  • Low self esteem – constant feelings of not being worthwhile, competent, or good enough
  • Self doubt – difficulty trusting yourself
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Unrealistic expectations of yourself – such as ‘I must never make a mistake’ or ‘Everyone must approve of me’ or ‘I must be perfect’
  • Lack of assertiveness – such as feeling guilty or embarrassed to say ‘no’
  • Pleasing others at the expense of being true to yourself

Situation Specific Sources of Stress

  • Feeling powerless – in a situation. Feeling under the control of someone else. Lack of consultation.
  • Frustrating situations – especially if these are on-going
  • Apprehension about important events such as job interviews or performance reviews.
  • Planning a wedding, moving house
  • Assignment or project deadlines

Emotional Life And Well Being Stressors

  • Anxiety and fears – constant worrying
  • Loneliness. Lack of support.
  • Bereavement and loss
  • Emotional disturbance, such as guilt, anger, sadness, hurt
  • Boredom. Lack of positive stimulation and positive experiences.
  • Uncertainty – about the future, work, relationships

Workplace Stressors

  • Job insecurity
  • Unwelcome change imposed
  • Conflict – with or amongst co-workers and or management
  • Lack of job enjoyment or satisfaction
  • Poor working conditions. Inadequate management.
  • Feeling exploited or treated unfairly
  • Performance reviews and pressure to perform to targets

Sources of Stress In Key Relationships

Sources of Stress In Relationship

Communication problems are one of the most potent sources of stress in relationships.

  • Poor communication – feelings of not being listened to, shut out, shut down
  • Domestic violence – physical, emotional, psychological, sexual abuse
  • Conflict
  • Unmet needs
  • Unresolved ongoing issues
  • Lack of quality time and positive experiences
  • Mismatched values
  • Inequality in decision making
  • Infidelity and loss of trust

Financial Stressors

  • Lack of financial security
  • Impact of ‘bad’ debt
  • Rising costs of living, changes to mortgage rates
  • Unexpected costs not covered in the budget – like car repairs

Environment Stressors – At Home And Work

  • Noise
  • Clutter
  • Insufficient space
  • Too hot or cold
  • Lack of sense of order or harmony

Change Stressors

  • Positive desired change such as pregnancy, childbirth
  • Undesired change beyond your control eg divorce, car accident
  • Workplace changes
  • Children leaving home (empty nest)
  • Retirement
  • Moving house
  • Changing jobs
  • Adjusting to age-ing/loss of youth and agility

Health Stressors

  • Uncertain health diagnosis or prognosis
  • Illness – acute or chronic
  • Chronic pain
  • Managing health conditions such as blood pressure or diabetes

Although this list is a bit daunting, it is important to know that all of these stressors can be managed. Their impact can be either eliminated or significantly reduced.

Sometimes people are not entirely sure about what is causing stress overload. Or they feel powerless to change it.

Counselling can assist you to gain clarity and understanding. A key objective in counselling is to resource you to be more empowered in managing your life.

See also the companion posts burnout remedies and Managing Stressors.

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