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Causes of Stress

What causes stress? Stress is a life factor that we have come to take for granted. Stress is often associated with situations you perceive as difficult to handle.

Researchers define stress as a physical, mental, or emotional response that causes bodily or mental tension. Simply put, stress is any outside force or event that has an effect on our body or mind.

Stress is very common problem for busy executives who often have to deal with work challenges and time pressures. Executive coaching can be a valuable resource to help executives manage stress effectively and perform at their best.

Most of the factors that cause stress are external, that is they come from the outside world. This can include things such as job pressures, family life, relationships, physical illnesses and major events that happen to you or your loved ones. The list of stress factors really is quite large. Life coaching courses can be a good resource if you are dealing with too much stress in your life.

Everyday Causes of Stress

Most of the factors that cause stress fall into the category of everyday events. These mainly come from your job, your family and the tasks you do on a daily basis. Reports show that the majority of people find the work they do and the relationships they have with their work colleagues to be the most stressful factor in everyday life.

Normal daily hassles such as too many things to do, juggling different responsibilities, time pressure, traffic noise, job dissatisfaction, poor health, negative attitudes, relationship demands, or financial problems can also cause significant stress. The stress that they create is because we must face these hassles repeatedly on a daily basis.

The pressures of family life can also affect you in the same way. The repetitiveness of everyday family life in which you know you have to care for the children or look after your elderly parents or clean the house and do the shopping can be very stressful and tiring.

You find that between one thing and another, your schedule for the day, and maybe even the week, is set out for you and you don’t have any time to stop, relax and think for a while. The constant pressure can be overwhelming and your stress levels can rise dramatically.

These everyday stress factors can have a detrimental effect on your health if you do not learn to cope with them and de-stress whenever you find the time.

Significant Life Events Causes of Stress

However not all stress factors happen everyday; some only occur once or twice in your life but they are so major that you find it hard to cope with the enormous amount of stress that they produce.

The second major category of stress is significant life events, which are often life changes that are out of our control. Major life events include items we choose, like getting married, having a child, moving and changing jobs, but also include devastating crises such as the death of a loved one or a natural disaster.

Many of these events are beyond your control but cause you untold grief and worry. The stress associated with major life events tends to hit you all at once as apposed to building up over a period of time. Without an effective method to manage the stress caused by these events, you could find yourself breaking down and loosing all sense of worth.

The stress caused by everyday events can be managed in your own home with various stress relief techniques such as yoga, meditation and relaxing breathing.

However, if you find yourself suffering after a major life event you may need the help of a trained councellor or therapist to help you come to terms with things and to find a way of combating your stress.

Fight of Flight Response

If our bodies perceive a threat such as an attacker, then the human body is aroused in preparation for either a “fight or flight” situation.

The fight or flight response is one that the human body has developed over millions of years. It occurs when an individual is put into a dangerous situation where physical harm is a possibility, for example when confronted by an attacker or when you find yourself stood in front of an oncoming bus! A section of the brain called the hypothalamus stimulates the associated endocrine system to release hormones that prepare the body to either fight or run away.

The hormones involved are mainly corticosteroids that primarily act on the heart and the liver. When the heart is stimulated by these specific hormones the body’s pulse rate becomes greatly increased in preparation for any possible physical activity that may be needed. Long-term stress causes corticosteroids to be continuously released in small quantities which can ultimately be harmful to the cardiovascular system in general. At the same time the liver releases its stores of glucose which is used as an energy source for either fighting or running.

Millions of years ago, humans had to fight for their territories and quite often may have found themselves confronted with a giant wild beast. In this situation the fight/flight response would have kicked in; the heart rate and blood pressure would have increased, breathing rate would have quickened and the mind would have become aware of the possible outcomes.

A lone individual would hopefully have understand that to fight a large predator alone would be suicide and so they would be wise to take flight.

However, a group of humans may have thought that there was a good chance of killing the beast and so they would have stayed to fight. Either way the same physical response would have occurred.

Prolonged stress can cause chronic problems. Scientists have known for a long time that stress affects the immune system. Studies show that chronic, long-term stress depresses the immune system on the cellular level. When your immune system is not operating at optimal levels, you become more susceptible to illnesses.

Just remember that everyone experiences stress at times. However, we can learn ways to effectively handle stress and to manage our reactions to minimize its impact.

Performance coaching for busy executives is a great way to improve your productivity and performance while reducing and managing stress.

If you want to address general stress, personal coaching or life coaching may also be a great option for you.

If you want to learn how to become a life coach, just follow the link to a great resource website.

Warning: Stress symptoms can be associated with serious medical conditions. The stress management information and techniques in this section are provided as general guidelines for informational purposes only. You should seek the help of qualified medical professionals if you have health or mental concerns over stress. You should also consult with your health care provider before making major changes in your diet or exercise levels.

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