Causes of Stress

Here are some common causes of stress. Please note they are not in order of what is most stressful! This is different for all of us, depending on what is going on at the time.

Accumulative stress

When everything seems to be going wrong! This can be a number of stressful events (sometimes called stressors) happening at once, or one after the other in your life.

As human beings, we are usually pretty good at coping with one stressful thing in our life whether it is a problem at work or an issue in a relationship, however, if several worries are happening at the same time, then our capacity to cope is affected. You can’t cope in the same way as you would if you only had one thing to worry about.

Loss and bereavement

If someone has died that you are close to then it would be normal for you to feel sadness, anger and a whole mix of emotions. Grief is very normal and is a process that happens naturally, however if you also have other worries, then your normal coping structure can fail.

The loss of a relationship or perhaps a job can also be enormously impactive.


For people who work it can sometimes feel as though you are at work more than you are at home, therefore it is no surprise that work issues can cause stress...and lots of it! If you do not enjoy your job or there are issues with colleagues or management, this can bring on low mood and cause other issues in the home, or life generally, to become more difficult to deal with.

Not enough time, poor work/life balance...workload too high?  What can you do to shift the balance a little to make life easier?


Being a parent or carer is tough. And you know what? None of us are perfect and get it right all of the time. However there are times when you can feel as though you are the big bad wolf, or maybe feel helpless and hopeless as a parent.

When they are babies, you worry about weaning and when to potty train. When they are a bit older you worry that they aren't fitting in at school or stress about how much homework they are getting. When they are teenagers, you worry about puberty, relationships, drugs, alcohol… the list goes on! Being a parent is stress, stress and more stress but I do know the positives outweigh the negatives in the end!


Whether it be your partner, child, friend, a work colleague, parents, sibling or neighbours, relationships are so important to our functioning as people. A support network is key when managing stress and we all like to feel loved, wanted and liked and to be able to return these feelings to those we care for is healthy.

Sometimes things can go wrong. Disagreements, infidelity, distrust, lying and many other negative actions can cause issues in a relationship. Subsequently, symptoms of stress begin to appear.


Money worries are one of the main causes of arguments in the home and can be a constant state of worry. Not being able to make ends meet, especially when you have others to take care of can be a challenge and hugely affect your coping structure.

The main piece of advice I could offer (and I am talking from experience!) is don’t run away from your money worries, no matter how bad they are. Fear of debt or losing your home can take over and distract you from talking to creditors and banks, who may be able to offer you solutions to relieve some of the burden. There are free advice websites for money worries out there. In the UK, the Citizens Advice Bureau can be a good place to start.

Health problems

Being unwell can affect how we feel emotionally. If we are unwell physically then it makes sense that it is not going to be as easy to cope with day to day life. From colds to tummy bugs to headaches and migraines, these can be a sign of prolonged stress and low immune system.

Broken bones or other physical ailments preventing you from doing things as you would normally can affect your confidence, self esteem and can potentially be shaming if you are not used to asking for help or comfortable with accepting help from others.

More long term illnesses can be debilitating. If someone has a terminal illness, then loss and grief symptoms can appear also.


If you are involved in a traumatic event, such as a car accident or loss of a baby or difficult birth, then it would be very normal to experience an increase in stress symptoms. See my page on acute stress for more information.

More causes of stress - Christmas / House moves / Additions to the family / Car problems / Traffic and driving issues / Getting married

This list is not exhaustive and no doubt there are many other causes of stress that you have experienced.

See my top tips for managing stress to see if there is anything that may help you deal with whatever is causing you stress.

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