What Are the Most Common Causes of Stress?

Stress is a fact of life for many people. Our response to everyday problems determines our level of stress and our overall well-being. Some people have the ability to face monumental issues with relative ease, while others are overwhelmed by minor nuisances. While the things that trigger stress vary from person to person, there are some life occurrences that are common sources of stress for many. It is important to identify stressors in order to make necessary life changes that will help reduce stress levels.

Family and Friends

Family life can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience for most people. However, at times, demands placed by children, spouses, parents and siblings can be overwhelming. The need to juggle a peaceful home life, coupled with outside demands, can be burdensome. Friendships also can cause stress when arguments ensue, too much is asked of our time or relationships change or ultimately end.

Life Changes

Marriage, pregnancies, divorce and death are some major life events that can be extremely stressful. While many positive life changes are planned for and welcome, even those can cause stress due to new responsibilities and expectations. Helpguide.org states that the unexpected nature of many life events leads to sudden stress. Coping with these events is easier with advanced knowledge and preparation.


Financial woes have become commonplace to many people. In September 2009, CNN reported that an international poll showed money is the No. 1 source of stress for citizens of the 16 countries polled. Stress about money may be caused by insufficient income and getting behind in bills, arguing with your spouse about spending habits or fears of not having enough to fund retirement.


Workplace demands are placed on all employees, and expectations must be met. Jobs can become stressful when a person feels unable to meet these demands, is overworked or even becomes bored with the job. The Mayo Clinic states that impossible bosses or changes at work also can cause stress symptoms. Fears of being fired often prevent workers from speaking up or requesting changes that would decrease their stress levels.

Health Issues

Physical ailments, such as chronic pain, can be a daily burden on the sufferer. According to the Cleveland Clinic, physical illness causes stress due to the disruption in regular schedules and routines. Stress also can worsen an existing illness; therefore, managing stress effectively is critical for overall health.