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What Are the Most Common Stressors?

By Marlene Garcia
Updated Feb 17, 2024
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The most common stressors involve major changes in a person’s life and everyday issues he or she cannot control. Starting a new job, being fired from a job, moving to accommodate a new career, and retirement might all produce job-related stress. Marital issues, such as separation or divorce, typically produce stressful reactions. Other common stressors include death of a loved one and serious illnesses. Even happy events, like getting married or having a baby, might prove stressful for some people.

Job stress might lead to burnout, that is, a feeling of fatigue that might provoke physical health issues. A person who sees his or her work environment as unfulfilling and carries a negative attitude might suffer from work-related stress. The stressed employee might frequently miss work or become unproductive on the job. In some cases, a person might seek another job to deal with workplace stressors that he or she cannot change. On the other hand, healthy work stress may motivate, challenge, and inspire an employee.

Everyday stressors might stem from agreeing to tasks that cannot be accomplished. Time constraints are a common source of stress for busy individuals, leading to a sense of failure. Mental health experts advise prioritizing tasks and learning to refuse requests that create stress. Taking time each day to relax and do something enjoyable might alleviate tension.

Stress might become manageable if a person learns to adapt to change. It might mean lowering expectations and becoming more flexible with daily demands. Common stressors may ease when a person seeks help from supportive friends and family members. In cases where no solution to a problem exists, creating distance might help. This tactic might work with an overly critical relative or bad-tempered coworker.

Stressors might appear as temporary or chronic. Moving to a new house might produce stress that resolves after settling in and making new friends. Chronic stressors may involve an illness or injury that changes a person’s lifestyle. When the situation cannot be changed, professional or social support might reduce anxiety.

Proper nutrition and rest often help people cope with stressors that arise in everyday life. Exercise can also prove effective to deal with the problem. Some people find yoga, meditation, or self-hypnosis helpful when stress intrudes on peace of mind. Health experts advise avoiding alcohol, which is a depressant. Caffeine might also contribute to stress because it acts as a stimulant.

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