Origins of Stress: What are the Most Common Sources?

Val Watson
Authored by Val Watson
Posted Tuesday, June 7, 2022 - 6:18am

There is causational link between constant stress and several medical conditions such as immunodeficiency, backpain, shoulder pain, neck pain, brain fog, type II diabetes, acid reflux, erectile dysfunction, strokes, cancer, and cardiac arrest among others. There is an even stronger causational link between excessive, continuous stress and mental health problems such as anxiety disorders, mood swings, cognitive decline, depression, substance dependence, and irritability to name just a few. Suffice to say, continuous stress can be extremely damaging for both the mind and the body.

Origins of Stress: Going Beyond the Immediate Cause

Since we are discussing continuous stress here, there is a difference between the cause and the source, although they will always be mutually inclusive. For example, it has been noted that a big percentage of people working in emergency care tend to suffer from stress related health issues. In this case, example, it is the nature of their job that is the source and the original cause.

At the same time, stress disorders in such cases are usually triggered by one or more exceptionally traumatic experience(s) at the emergency room, or due to a continuous shortage of staff. Both of these reasons are commonly identified as the immediate cause. Since it is more important to identify the origin of someone’s stress than just the immediate cause for effective stress management, let’s focus on that.

Workplace is the Leading Source of Continuous Stress in Adults

In a recent post by the GC Index, they pointed out the fact that roughly 79% of the British working population suffers from work related stress. You can read the post and learn more about how important it is to maintain employee wellbeing and stress relief at the office here:

We previously discussed that medical workers often find themselves subject to excessive stress but it’s not just about healthcare. Absolutely any job can be stressful for someone if the work environment is stressful. Since insufficient/absent stress management strategies at the workplace will eventually lead to poor productivity, poor retention rate, loss of work capacity, loss of workdays, loss of reputation, and even ruinous lawsuits, employers need to be more proactive towards keeping stress on their employees to a minimum.

Peer Antagonism is a Problem that Transends Age

Peer antagonism stress refers to stress that is caused by the behaviour of peers in any given environment. Poor treatment by peers is the source here, but the term “peer” does not only mean work colleagues; it also refers to fellow students in school/college/university, friends, or fellow members of any social community. The immediate causes are consistent with the usual actions of bullying such as:

  • Ignoring the individual
  • Open or veiled hostility towards the individual
  • Publicly belittling, condescending, mocking, and humiliating the individual
  • Physical abuse

There are several other immediate causes that may all add further to the individual’s stress, but the source in this case will always be one or more peers.

Family Related Stress

The causes are far too diverse to be identified in their entirety, but family related stress is extremely common. What makes this source unique is the fact that the causes can be on absolute opposite poles, depending on the particular instance. For example, an abusive partner is a constant and dangerous cause of stress. At the same time, a constant fear of losing a loving partner who is fighting for their life in a hospital bed is also a major cause of stress. Two completely different range of emotions, and yet they both originate from the same source.

Stress is an inevitable part of life itself, but it is important recognise the harm it can do as well. It is even more important to take the necessary steps to minimise and relieve stress strategically to counter those negative effects. This applies to all stressful personal, social, and professional situations.

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