Main Causes of Stress

In order to discover the main causes of stress we first need to define what stress is.

The word stress comes from Middle English stresse, hardship and partly from Old French estrece, narrowness, oppression. Definitions include:


1. the physical pressure, pull, or other force exerted on one thing by another; strain.

2. Physiology. a specific response by the body to a stimulus, as fear or pain, that disturbs or interferes with the normal physiological equilibrium of an organism.

3. physical, mental, or emotional strain or tension: Worry over his job and his wife's health put him under a great stress.



Stress is often defined with our fight or flight mechanisms as in definition 2. We feel threatened by something (real or imagined) and our body goes into its fight or flight response. Of course many times fighting or running from the situation is either impossible or inappropriate so we have to find new ways of dealing with stress.

According to statistics, courtesy of the American Psychological Association (APA).

• Fifty-four percent of Americans are concerned about the level of stress in their everyday lives. (APA Survey 2004)
• Two thirds of Americans say they are likely to seek help for stress. (APA Survey 2004)

Currently, I don’t personally feel that I am under a great deal of stress but when looked at these main causes of stress and took this test my score was much higher than I’d predicted. We don’t always look at things clearly when we’re stressed. And we don’t always realize how some situations may affect us more than we think.

If your score was 150 or over, I would encourage you to try some of our coping techniques and reach out to friends, family, doctors or other support systems that will help you alleviate some of the stress you may be feeling.

Top 10 Main Causes of Stress

This chart details the main causes of stress and gives you a way to test how many of these stresses you have been under.