The most common causes of stress – chronic stress, that is – are emotional stressors. Psychological stress tends to be ongoing, and therefore causes more symptoms, than physical stresses (like prolonged exposure to cold, extreme exercise, physical injury, etc). Physical stresses are more often acute events that are appropriately dealt with by the body’s stress response. The fight-or-flight response is not usually very effective in dealing with stress that has emotional causes.
An example of emotional/psychological stress is work stress. Stress on the job can lead the the symptoms discussed above if the stress is not dealt with. Other examples include:
– buying a house
– winning the lottery
– losing something important to you
– physical or mental illness
– worrying about daily hassles
– completing tasks on a deadline
You can probably think of a number of examples of stressors, or stress-causing events.
Notice that even good things cause stress. Not all stress is bad! We need some stress to keep us motivated and energized (and the fight-or-flight response is certainly handy if you need to fight or flee!). The problem is when stress is unrelenting and chronic.