Explains what stress is, what might cause it and how it can affect you. Includes information about ways you can help yourself and how to get support.
Many things can cause stress. You might feel stressed because of one big event or situation in your life. Or it might be a build-up of lots of smaller things.
This might make it harder for you to identify what's making you feel stressed, or to explain it to other people.
You may experience stress if you:
“Stressful life events, which in isolation might seem less significant, combined to have a real impact on my mental health.”
How stressed you feel in different situations may depend on factors like:
Some situations that don't bother you at all might cause someone else a lot of stress. This is because we are all influenced by different experiences. We also have different levels of support and ways of coping.
Certain events might also make you feel stressed sometimes, but not every time.
For example, if you go shopping for food with enough time and money, you may not feel stressed. But you might feel stressed if you have lots of other things to do, have a tight budget, or need to buy food for a big event.
“I get stressed when things get out of perspective – too much work, thinking too far ahead.”
Many things can cause stress in different areas of our lives. These may include:
“My breakdown [...] was due to having a stressful job as a project manager and dealing with a marriage break up and subsequent divorce.”
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Some of these situations are often thought of as happy events. For example, you might feel expected to be happy or excited about getting married or having a baby.
But these events can bring big changes, and you might experience new or unusual demands. So they can still feel very stressful. This can be difficult to deal with, especially if you also feel pressure to be positive.
“I've never been more stressed in my life than the 6 months leading up to my wedding... everyone kept asking me if I was happy and expecting me to be excited all the time, but I just couldn't feel it. I ended up getting really ill.”
This information was published in March 2022. We will revise it in 2025.
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