What Causes Stress? 21 Reasons You’re Stressed and How to Help

You are probably here because you are feeling down. You’re scrolling through your feed, searching the internet, and asking yourself, “Why am I stressed?”

Before understanding what causes stress, it’s imperative to know that stress is a normal part of life that almost everyone experiences at some point. Thus, if you’re feeling stressed, you are not alone. 

To answer your question, why am I stressed? Know that from the smallest of issues to the toughest of challenges, anything can stress you out. 

You’re stuck in the traffic, and the cars won’t stop honking, you’re anxious about getting yelled at by your boss, and you have an important deadline to meet. Sound’s stressful, right? Other factors like personal losses, financial difficulties, or health problems can cause stress too. 

So, what exactly is stress, what causes stress, and how can you deal with it? Below, we’ll discuss all that. 

What is Stress? 

Because everyone reacts differently to an event or a situation, there is no universal definition of stress. However, it can be viewed as our bodies’ way of responding to any kind of demand or threat.

Whenever you sense a challenge – minor or major, your body’s defense system kicks in. This mechanism is called the flight or fight response

As per the American Academic Medical Center, a psychologist defines, “The fight or flight response or stress response is triggered by a release of hormones either promoting us to stay and fight or to run away and flee.”

He further adds, “During the response, all bodily systems are working to keep us alive in what we’ve perceived as a dangerous situation.”

Now, stress is probably seeming like a positive thing, isn’t it? 

In fact, sometimes it is stress that motivates you to stay focused at work, multitask, and give your best in everything you do. Nonetheless, so long as it doesn’t negatively affect your mental or physical well-being, it is a positive thing. 

Otherwise, you need to learn your stress triggers and how to cope with them. Without further delay, let’s narrow down the reasons you’re stressed and how to help. 

21 Reasons You’re Stressed and How to Help

If your friend is stressed because they failed an exam, you might be worried because you lost your canine friend. Everyone has different triggers; you need to know yours and how to deal with them. 

Next time you ask yourself, “Why am I stressed?” Read our guide below to figure that out and what you can do about it.

Here are 21 reasons you’re stressed and how to beat it

1. Family Issues

Everyone is born different. Not just in terms of their physical appearance but also in terms of the way they behave. When we live with our families, we are likely to come across disagreements and frequent bickering. 

Additionally, if you have a difficult parent or sibling, that can be a major stressor.  

What to Do

Negotiate. That’s it. 

Talk to your family members about the indifferences. Make sure you’re polite; the key is to extinguish the fire and not light it. 

Perhaps your family won’t be too stubborn either about settling a matter.

2. Loss of a Loved One 

Goodbyes are hard. Separation of a loved one gives you hope of a reunion one day, but death can leave you despondent. Losing a loved one is indeed one of the biggest challenges you can come across in life. 

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What to Do

Be patient and give it time. 

Though time doesn’t heal, it enables you to move forward in life with greater strength and courage. 

3. Solitude

While many idealize the idea of being alone, hear it from someone who has lived alone most of their lives. In everyday stressful life, solitude does sound cool. But being lonely for an extended period can leave you stressed out. 

What to Do

Connect with others, simple as that.

Visit a friend, join a local sports club, hit the gym, get a pet, and you’re all set. 

4. Financial Crisis

In today’s fast-paced world, our daily necessities are constantly increasing. Back in the day, most of our ‘necessities’ sounded like ‘wishes,’ however, in the present times, our desires have become part of our everyday living necessities.

As such, financial obligations can leave you anxious. 

What to Do

It might sound old school but plan your budget. 

Try to note your income and adjust your spending accordingly. You can use your mobile notes or apps to track your spending. 

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5. Uncertainty

If you often wonder what causes stress, know that uncertainty is among the most horrible triggers. 

What if I fail an exam? Will I meet the deadline? What will happen if I lose my job? Don’t panic. Take a deep breath. None of that will happen. You’re just stressed!

What to Do

Talk to your doctor.

Uncertainty can lead to anxiety, or anxiety itself can manifest in the form of uncertainty. Consult with a psychiatrist and share your struggle. 

6. Childhood Trauma

E.T.A Hoffman’s short story The Sandman is a perfect depiction of traumatic childhood experiences that lead to stress later in life. The protagonist’s mother scared him of some mysterious monster-like Sandman that triggered his stress as a child and eventually led him to commit suicide as an adult. 

Childhood trauma can have a severe impact on your mental health as an adult

What to Do

To begin with, parents need to be sensitive when raising their children.

Secondly, if your childhood trauma stresses you as an adult, keep a pet as they are great stress-relievers

7. Job Insecurity

Face the fact; almost everyone feels insecure about their job. In fact, doing a job alters your thinking pattern. You might feel lowly and end up hurting your self-esteem at the workplace.

What to Do

Try your luck in business. If you’re worried about finances, begin with a small one. You’ll feel more secure and confident.

If you want to continue with a job, pull your chin up, give your best and forget the rest! 

8. Negative Coworker

Yes, I know, you’ve been there. If not, you might be one. Jokes apart, a negative coworker can go places for you—places to hurt your work and reputation. 

As long as you’re sincere with your work, know that nothing can hurt you. 

What to Do

Be good at communication. 

Talk to a genuine co-worker or your boss (if they aren’t the negative coworker you’re picturing). If so, quit your job. It’s best not to compromise on your mental health. 

9. Difficult Boss

You were waiting for this one indeed. While lucky ones do get professional, courteous, and understanding bosses, if your boss is too stubborn, unfortunately, you’re running out of luck. 

Are you thinking, “Why am I stressed?” after being yelled at by your boss, know that your arrogant boss is to blame.

Putting your self-esteem at risk is the worst thing you can do.

What to Do

If there’s no chance to quit your job, talk to your boss. 

While you certainly can’t demand respect from an inconsiderate person, you can tell them what your boundaries are. 

10. Petty Matters of Everyday Life

Spilled coffee on the floor? Broke your favourite piece of pottery? Didn’t cook the perfect poached egg? Dropped toothpaste cap down the sink? Sound’s relatable, right? 

Even seemingly minor issues can cause tremendous stress.

Especially if you are someone who is easily irritated, such annoyances can frustrate you even more. 

What to Do

Get a breath of fresh air. 

Go for a walk, ride a bike, and give yourself time. By the end of the day, trivial everyday matters don’t really matter!

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11. Health Issues

Everything in your life is going well, from family to finances; you’re living the life of your dreams. Amid everything, you feel tension kicking in. 

In an ideal world, what causes stress to come like an uninvited guest? The answer is simple, health issues. 

Many health problems are related to stress. It could be depression, diabetes, gastric issues; you might not know. 

What to Do

Get an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible. 

If you’re unable to figure out what’s triggering your stress, you might have an underlying medical issue. A health professional can give you the best advice. 

12. Moving to a New Home

If you’ve seen Disney’s Inside Out, you probably know how tough it is to get settled in a new environment. If you’re feeling just like Riley Anderson (Inside Out lead character) because you moved, it’s completely normal.

The experience can be exciting for some people, but it can be a source of stress for others. If you’re from the latter crowd, you’re likely worried. 

What to Do

Embrace the change!

Pay attention to your thoughts. Is the new place really that bad, or you’re just habitual of being in one place? 

Try to adjust by doing things you loved to do in your previous home. You’ll settle down eventually. 

13. Education

If you’re stressed about failing an exam or keeping up with the syllabus, know that you have bigger challenges to face in life. 

Moreover, as you mature, you’ll realize that your education was less stressful than your career. You certainly don’t have to ignore your stress, though. Instead, try to manage it.

What to do

Eat healthily, get a good sleep and set your study time – Goodbye stress.

Here are a few tips:

  • There’s no best time to study. Study when you feel energetic. Figure out if you are a morning freak or a night owl. Set your schedule accordingly. 
  • Get proper nutrition as it helps your brain to function correctly. Here are some foods for your brain health. 
  • Make sure you’re not studying in your bed, as you won’t remain productive there. 
  • Get rid of distractions (Noise, Music, unorganized surroundings)

14. Abuse

Is someone bullying you at your school? Is your other half making you feel you’re not good enough? Do your parents humiliate you in front of others? That’s emotional abuse right there. 

Abuse doesn’t necessarily mean a physical one; it can be psychological too. In rare cases, emotional abuse can lead to PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder)

What to Do

Make your mental well-being a priority. By doing so, you’ll know how to stand up for yourself. 

Be confident enough to reach out to genuine people around you. In more severe cases, consult with your doctor. 

15. Weather

Extreme weather events can affect your mental health and trigger stress. What gets you down? Rain, sun, or storm? 

Rain is indeed a mood lifter for most people, but it can also be emotionally distressing for some. Hence, if you’re a rain hater, you’ll probably feel annoyed on a gloomy day. 

What to Do

Now that the rain is the reason for your stress, I can’t tell you to click pictures in the rain or dance in it. 

You can stay in your room and do something creative. Maybe paint/draw/sketch the weather you like and make up your plans for the sunny days. 

16. Sensitivity

If you’re highly sensitive, you’re probably absorbing more information (good and bad) from your surroundings. As such, you feel tired and stressed out. 

What to Do

Spend time in nature. As a sensitive person, you’ll definitely find solace in nature. Breathe out and give yourself time!

17. Sleeplessness

You haven’t slept in the last three days, and you’re thinking, “Why am I stressed?”. Well, know that stress and sleeplessness are closely related

You’ll feel stressed because of sleeplessness, and it can go the other way round too. 

What to Do

Try some sleep-inducing essential oils or engage yourself in physical activity. If this doesn’t work, talk to your doctor before further delay. 

18. Poor Nutrition

Poor nutrition can lead to stress too. Hence, it’s best not to compromise on your food habits. 

What to Do

Ditch sugary and fast foods. 

Consume leafy green vegetables, whole nuts, and fruits. Besides, check out the healthy diet plan at the WHO website.

19. Unhealthy Lifestyle

You’re always in your bed, watching shows, procrastinating, and complaining about what causes stress. It might sound like a bitter pill to swallow, but your unhealthy habits are to blame.  

What to Do

Move! 

Ride a bike, exercise, connect with your friends, adopt a healthy lifestyle, set a goal!

20. Internet Addiction

Are you someone who’s constantly switching from one social media app to another all day long? Beware! As internet addiction is closely linked with stress. 

It’s time for you to take action against your internet addiction. 

What to Do

Take a step right now!

Understand that you cannot change your habits unless you decide to do so. Know that browsing your internet all day long can make your life purposeless. 

Ask yourself: Do I want to live a meaningless life? Maybe that will motivate you to take action and get moving.

21. Being Ungrateful 

It all comes down to this. Sometimes being ungrateful for your blessings can trigger stress. People out there are blessed with good fortune but constantly want more. In the process, they become unappreciative of the current blessings. 

Next time you wonder what causes stress in your life. Do a self-analysis. Are you ignoring your blessings?

What to Do

Count your blessings.

Every night you go to bed, analyze the blessings you have. For some people, getting an unexpected chocolate cake during a craving is a blessing, while others long to own a Tesla as they drive in their Mercedes. 

Smell the fresh air around you, feel the grass, cuddle with a pet, meet a genuine friend. If you observe, even the simplest things in life are the biggest blessings.

Wrap Up

Multiple factors can contribute to your stress. It’s crucial to know your trigger. 

Hopefully, our compilation has helped you discover your triggers and know how to handle them. So, next time you tell your friend, “I have no idea why am I stressed.” Have a quick look at our guide.

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