Trying to get the bottom of what is causing stress can be a very difficult proposition since it could be just about anything that varies greatly from one person to the next. There is certainly no shortage of initiators that can cause stress in any of us. Amongst the more obvious causes are being made redundant from a job, the ending of a marriage or relationship or finding out about a health problem.
Different people will react to individual situations very differently than others. For instance, while some will be anxious, others will be unemotional. While some people may thrive on the challenge of finding a new love, others will feel lonely and despair at the odds of fulfilling their dream.
Ultimately, the causes are neither entirely external nor internal, but generally a bit of both.
Being made redundant from a job can, for obvious reasons, cause a lot of stress. One person will see his or her income plummet and wonder where the money is going to come from to pay nest month's bills. On the principle that every cloud has a positive aspect, another person will see the situation as a chance to move on and better their prospects.
Similarly, when a romantic partner announces that they would like to finish a relationship, a lot of stress can be experienced on both sides. In some cases however, a person can come to view the situation as involving less of a loss and more of a chance to find new love.
No two people are the same, which results in reactions that are different from one person to the next. Their interpretations of a situation are all different. On the other hand, although different, people within a certain culture often share many similar views and a common outlook. Because individuals are individual humans, they also share common physical risks.
For example, being confronted by a dangerous criminal would cause stress in the majority of people. Severe health problems such as cancer, arthritis or having to go into hospital for major surgery, will rarely be met with calm acceptance.
Many non-threatening situations will also be met with similar feelings as well. Lack of respect by neighbours, unreasonable demands in work by a difficult supervisor or just simple lack of concern for the law will be stressful for most everyone.
When all's said and done, the fundamental causes of stress often have less to do with the external circumstances than a person's expectations for the future and their evaluation of their own ability to meet them.
Somebody who finds out that they need to have a tumour removed will most certainly feel some stress. However, it can be less than another person would feel if they believe that their general health is good and they will come through it okay. Being made redundant from a job will obviously cause concern, but people who believe in themselves and their ability to find another job quickly, will suffer only slight stress.
These examples illustrate that both the causes of stress and the level and extent of time that it is felt are a function of several factors. One of those factors is the attitude of the person in any given situation.
If you feel you can overcome serious hurdles quickly or without major loss, you will evaluate fewer external events as a cause for stress. When something does happen, the amount of stress that you experience will be a lot less.