What Causes Stress: How to Pinpoint the Causes of Stress in Your Life

Dr. Purushothaman
January 17, 2014


There's no doubt that if you're human, then you absolutely know what stress feels like. Everyone feels it now and then…some more than others.
You may feel it more stressed out at certain times than you do others, but if you're human, then you certainly feel it nonetheless. The problem lies in the fact that so many people don't understand exactly what causes stress, and more importantly the effects that it eventually has on all of us.
This has been a big part of the debate on stress for the past hundred years or so. Most people, professionals included weren't really sure of what stress is, and frankly, what it isn't. And again, since we feel stress at various times, we know what it is to us, and what it feels like, but there's much that we don't know including the physiology and psychological aspects of stress.
In earlier studies of stress, founding researchers such as Hans Selye weren't really sure whether stress was relative or specific. In other words, Selye himself was under the impression that stress is stress whether it's good stress or bad stress.
He had this to say on the subject "stress is not necessarily something bad - it all depends on how you take it. The stress of exhilarating, creative successful work is beneficial, while that of failure, humiliation or infection is detrimental."
Selye's thought was that regardless of whether or not the situation was a positive one, or negative one, the same biochemical effects of stress would happen.
These days however, a lot more research has been done on stress, and what causes stress, and fresh outlooks have evolved. Stress is now widely considered as negative…and produces an array of harmful biochemical long-term effects. These negative effects have seldom been seen in optimistic situations.
So What Causes Stress Then?
These days our most generally accepted characterization of stress is credited to Richard S Lazarus. He stated that "Stress is a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize."
In other words, when you're feeling stress, and say "I can't take it no more"…and feel as though you've reached your limit, you're feeling what Lazarus is verbalizing.
Of course we all respond differently to the stressful events in our lives. This is partly instinct and partly to do with how you react mentally. You can train your mind to best respond to the stress in your life, regardless of what causes stress that you're feeling.
It's important to realize though that stress doesn't have to be all negative. A bit of stress in your daily life is actually good and will challenges you to reach even higher heights.

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