The Impact of Stress: Understanding Causes and Effects

Stress can be caused by various reasons in ones lifetime. There are general causes of stress which can be provoked by common life events. In this cause and effect of stress will be an attempt to reveal the topic od stress, its causes and effects. 

People react differently to situations, so what may be stressful to one person may not be to another. The level of stimulation someones brain receives and the level of threat the situation or object poses to the individual is what manipulates the brain to recognise stress and release the relevant signals to cause stress. So, in essence it does depend on a persons character and behaviour traits for their brain to decide whether the individual is in a state of stress. An example may be: going on a rollercoaster may be a ride which causes immense thrill and joy for one person, whereby to someone else it might cause immense fear and stress, especially if they were forced to ride it.

The workplace can be where a lot of stress is caused for many people.Possible causes of stress within the workplace may be due to long working hours, heavy workload, changes within an organisation, tight deadlines, change of duty, job insecurity, tedious and boring work, lack of autonomy, poor communication between teams, bullying, lack feedback from your performance, lack of value of your contribution, technological changes, lack of clarity about roles and responsibilities, working long hours, boring and repetitive work, a physically uncomfortable environment, lack of training so that people do not feel in control.

Six key causes of work stress have been listed by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). These are :

  • The demands of the job,
  • The degree that control staff have over how they do their work,
  • The degree of support they receive by colleagues and superiors,
  • Their relationships with colleagues,
  • Whether they understand their roles and responsibilities properly,
  • How far the company consults staff over workplace changes.


Stress can also be caused by personal causes. This can be due to stressful life events like trying to deal with oneself after the demise of a close family member or friend, a change to once health due to injury, pregnancy or illness. A traumatic incident in which the person affected was a victim of assault for example: burglary, sexual violence or mugging can also trigger stress. A change in family circumstances such as a divorce, separation, new baby or marriage may bring on stress, as the person involved may not be mentally prepared for the dramatic change in their life and it may be overwhelming for them to handle the change. Other examples of personal stress may include : sexual problems within ones personal relationship resulting in the relationship becoming unstable, arguments with ones co-workers, family, friends or ones manager. Trying to adjust to a new work shift pattern and altering sleep patterns may unsettle a persons mind which in return may release stress signals. Someone may experience stress when moving home , school or their job. Financial status - too much or too little money may cause stress. An increase in responsibility may cause stress and the loss of a job and the income that goes with it. The above are a few examples of personal stress and their possible causes.

There are general causes of stress which are provoked by common life events. A perceived threat will make someone feel stressed including physical, social and financial threats and it begins to feel worse when the person dealing with it think that they cannot do anything about it. They sense a feeling of lack of control. Threat leads to fear, which results to stress. Fear makes people imagine the worse case scenarios in the situation they're experiencing, which is the real source of the stress. Sometimes when people are uncertain they do not know what to expect and this uncertainty of not feeling control of the matter makes the person feel fearful or threatened.

There may be a cognitive gap which can cause stress the someone what we think of ourselves and what we actually do. For example: if a person cannot meet their commitments. The person may think they are committed to something but when circumstances stop them from reaching the commitment that one has set their goal on, or fulfilling responsibilities then they start to feel worried and frightened that others will consider them incapable or useless.

Conflict is also a cause of stress. When being in a conflict with someone due to difference in opinion or perhaps clash of personalities then stress is generated.At work the differences might be with management or colleague and in personal life it may be a difference in opinion with family. It can occur in domestic or social situations.

There are times when we feel we can achieve something but don't seem to be able to. This sense of disapproval with oneself makes one feel out of control, unsettled and frustrated. This frustration ends up causing stress.

Finally, another general cause of stress which is provoked by common life events is pressure. Pressure can arise from many sources, both from domestic and work life. Too many demands and the overwhelming feeling of lack of control and having to commit to them can cause stress when the demands cannot be met. Overall stress is a normal reaction of the body and it can be useful only as long as it does not exceed the norm and does not harm the person or others. Otherwise, stress can be negative and has certain consequences.

10 October 2022
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