Hello everyone! In this part two of the series, I will be sharing the causes of stress and its effects. In part one, I gave some definitions from psychological, occupational, biological, and a layman’s perspective. If you haven’t read that yet, click here.
Now that we understand the definition, we can therefore conclude that stress is a normal part of our lives. It can even motivate us to work harder, and aim to fulfill all our goals. However, it is important to know that everyone has different stressors; especially because we are from diverse backgrounds, status, upbringings, and personalities among several other factors. For the purpose of this post, here are a few causes of stress in two major categories; internal and external. The internal causes are more personal, influenced by individual factors; while external causes are determined by environment and happenings in the society.
Internal causes of stress
- Unnecessary worry and anxiety
- Negative mindset; thoughts, self talk
- High expectations
- Attitudes and perception; negativity
External causes of stress
- Financial difficulties
- Work environment; poor conditions, work overload, unfriendly co-workers, long hours, harassment, discrimination
- Loss; death of a loved one, job, belongings
- Life changes; marriage, childbirth, ageing
- Relationship problems; family, spouse, children, divorce or marital conflict
- Chronic illness; being diagnosed with a terminal illness or caring for someone with chronic/terminal illness
Effects of stress
Stress could be short term (acute) or long term (chronic). These stressors and many others when not properly handled or managed usually influence a person’s lifestyle, mood, sense of well-being, behavior, and health. Short effects could be headache, stomach upset, fatigue, and inability to concentrate. Some effects and consequences of stress, according to Schneiderman, Ironson, & Siegel (2005) include;
- Smoking, and substance abuse
- Sleep problems
- Eating disorders
- Weight fluctuation (loss or gain)
- Abnormal sexual behaviours
- Anxiety and mood disorders
Other severe effects of stress (Yaribeygi, et al., 2017)include;
- Memory loss
- Alteration of the physiology of intestines
- Negative effects on learning, and retention of information
- Cardiovascular (heart) diseases
- Reduced cognition (depending on the magnitude, duration, and intensity of the stressor)
- Impaired immune system; thereby leading to constant illness.
- Brain atrophy (decrease in size and weight)
The effects, level and outcomes of stress vary due to personal as well as environmental factors (Schneiderman, Ironson, & Siegel, 2005). While some people naturally have the tendency to handle situations calmly, others worry and lack the ability to respond positively. In the next post, I will share possible ways of handling and managing stress.
Kindly leave a comment below; share your thoughts with me. As earlier mentioned in part 1 of this series that I’m no expert in this field and also desire to learn more, so feel free to share your knowledge. Have a stress-free week, and God bless you, cheers!
1.Schneiderman, N., Ironson, G., Siegel, S. D. (2005). Stress and health: psychological, behavioral, and biological determinants. Journal of Clinical Psychology,1,607-28 (read article)
2. Yaribeygi, H., Panahi, Y., Sahraei, H., Johnston, T.P., & Sahebkar, A. (2017). The impact of stress on body function: A review. (read article)