In 3 Strategies to Find Your Sources of Pressure, I explained why it is important to recognize the sources of our pressure in order to eliminate stress in life and gave three strategies to find the stress causes in your life. If you have used these strategies, you are ready to use this list of common stress causes to refine your findings.
- Lack of sleep is a major cause of stress.
- Craving is a small source of pressure. Whenever you say to yourself, “I have to eat/do/be something”, you are putting pressure on yourself.
- Addictions are a huge cause of pressure. Why? Because when we don’t have that thing we are addicted to, our brain goes into panic attack. Addiction can be to food, drinks (alcohol, coke…) to people, routines. If you want to know if you are addicted, try leaving without that thing for 3 weeks and see how the pressure builds up.
- Caffeine is a big source of addiction. When our body has overdoes of Caffeine (coffee, tea, coke and chocolate) it will become edgy. If you want to recognize how much it affects you, stop any caffeine for 3 days and notice how nervous you are because your body goes through withdrawal symptoms.
- Sugar is a source of addiction and creates lots of pressure When we don’t’ have it, our body will do everything, everything, everything to have it and it only gets worse. When it is out of balance, totally, it will become a disease.
- Need for approval is on of the biggest stress causes. The world is full of people that do horrible things to themselves and others in a desire to get someone’s approval: parents, partner, boss, children, friends, society. This desire creates enormous pressure and some adults I see in my coaching are extremely stressed just because they dedicate so much energy to be approved by someone. If you are under pressure, make sure to notice that you are doing it to yourself. Do not give anyone else the power they never had. You do not a permission to be.
- Research in the university John Hopkins in Maryland USA found out that stressed parents will raise stressed kids and not because it is genetic but because they teach stress, though modeling as coping strategy. Monkey see, monkey do, if this is what a child learns to do when there is a bit of pressure, this is how will behave because it is the only think he knows.
- Self-regulation is another of the biggest stress causes. Why? Because regulation is the act of forcing ourselves or others to do something that would not done otherwise. Regulations can be self, when we make ourselves do something that we find it hard to do, which is hard and creates lots of pressure and they can be from the outside: parents, partner, bosses, friends, society and they take us straight away into the primitive brain. Diet is a hard act of self-regulation act and creates pressure. The pressure is even greater if we are on diet or health regime (regulate our food intake) for a long time and there is a slight chance we will survive it. If we go on a diet because of someone else is regulating us, we will go into fight or flight mode straight away and sabotage our own success.
- Tests require self-regulation and cause a lot of stress. If we want to succeed in them, we need to make it a self-regulation act and not an external. External means we need to please someone else, whish presses our stress button and we can’t think clearly when this button is pressed. Managing regulation to decrease pressure can be done either by turning it into self regulation, by practice, by planning and by realizing the capacity to self regulate is limited, in other words, you can’t regulate yourself in too many areas at the same time.
- Housework is a huge source of conflicts and one of the most common stress causes. In fact, many couples reach a marriage or relationship breakdown over the “dishes”. Equal sharing or agreement on participation, sharing, considering the household as everyone’s place and establishing a cleaning routine can help greatly to decrease this pressure.
- Reading magazines, watching movies and music videos, following celebrities and media exposure in general are common stress causes not only for children but for grownups as well. Watching people that look like they are slim( because they have internal organs) happy, with glowing skin, wealthy and spending their entire life on a screen, going to parties and cruises around the world creates a feeling of inadequacy. People spend much energy and regulation to aspire to look and become something they will never be.
- Facebook is a huge cause of stress for children and grownups. The desire to be accepted, have many likes and be included attracts lots of comparison (which is a source of pressure in itself) and cyber bullying. I have 4 couples whose relationships were totally ruined by Facebook. Some things you just can’t take back after the whole world is exposed to them.
- Health obsession was found to be a common cause of stress. It is amazing how many of my client rate their health as low because they do not exercise “enough”. They are healthy, no problems, happy, fantastic weight, have not seen a doctor for any reason, do not smoke, do not drink and still feel they “should” do more sport. When I ask them, how much enough is, they don’t know. Again, they have an ideal and they try to match it regardless of their need. Being physically active is great for us but we can be physically active doing things we love, like sport, dancing, hiking and there is no need to fit into any external criteria of what is enough.
- Being competitive creates lots of stress. Why? Because it means that losing throws us out of balance and into the survival mode and very harsh self-reflection. In some competitions, there are always winners and always losers and sore losers are exactly like their title, sore, and being sore is not fun and creates pressure.
- Research has found that watching competitive sport creates lots of pressure and can turn into stress. Associating yourself with a group makes you feel loss when they lose and joy when they win, which can easily swing from one side to the other. However, the competing groups do a lot to win, for them it is a game, sport and it generates money regardless of who wins and who loses. All they need is fans to fill the stadium and they will get their income regardless of who wins. They get benefits and incentives for scoring more but no punishments for not. Emotionally, sports fans find it hard to manage losses.
- Perfectionism is a huge cause of stress and brings the person into a very narrow state of bliss. Perfectionist is stressed as a base line and only feel not stressed in short bursts of success, only when he reaches a 100% success. Since achieving 100% success 100% of the times has a 100% fail chance, perfectionists are constantly under pressure they produce themselves. The cure for it is flexibility.
- Relationship problems are major stress causes. Most people do not live in a state of acceptance and in too many relationships, the pressure builds up when they try to change the other person to fit their values and way of life. If you have a relationship with someone and you have many complaints about this person, you are stressed and not accepting of that person. This puts pressure on you and on the other person. Loving what is is the cure!
- Having a co-dependent relationship can slowly build up the pressure and turn into stress. In every long-term relationship, there is a load of shared experiences and it is important to understand that we all pass them differently. Make sure to have personal relationships, personal interests and hobbies so you can maintain your individuality in that relationship. It is natural to develop dependency on the other when in a long relationship but to keep it fresh with less pressure, it is best to take times off each other. Different hobbies and even friends can do that in a gentle and nice way.
- Time seems to be a big stress cause for many people. If you ask most people, they think that having another 8 hours each day could make life much easier for them. Well, tough! Time is just a collection of individual moments. It is just as available to all and ticks away at exactly the same speed for those who use it wisely and for those who use it poorly. So, learn to manage your time and you will eliminate lots of stress in your life.
- People think that multitasking is a good thing and that we should all aim to do it in a very high level. Although it can save time, multitasking increases stress and affects performance negatively, which often force us to do things longer, thus creating even more stress. Can you see the cycle?
- Certainty is something that gives us stability and confidence. We need it so much that most people can only manage short bursts of uncertainty. When we live in uncertainly for a long time, it creates lots of pressure. Anticipation to unfamiliar outcome puts our mind in a survival mode, it might go well or it might not. This will make us experience the fear longer and drain our systems from energy. I am sure you all say that it is hard for you to wait. It is not just the wait but the uncertainly about it. Routines, structure and planning can help greatly manage uncertainty. If you are a stressed person, do not get yourself into situations of living a long time without certainty.
- Hanging around stressed people can be contagious and increase your Cortisol level and can make you stressed as well. We all have a mechanism called neural-mirroring. When we feel whatever others feel around us so, stick to the rule of hanging around positive and happy people. It is the easiest way to overcome stress.
- Distractions can cause stress as it takes our attention and energy. When we are distracted, it means that some external pressure gets us out of the plan, which increases the level of helplessness and being out of control. We can be distracted by people, by digital gadgets (beeps, sounds, messages, emails) by thoughts and ideas and it is important to notice them before they take over.
People learn and practice stress for many years of their life. Since they are babies and watch their parents reacting to pressure, they develop coping mechanisms that are very similar. Pressure overrides reason and logic and it takes over our behavior and increases our sense of helplessness and inability to control our thoughts and feelings.
Go over your list from the previous session and find out what is the cause of it. For example, if you have stress from work, find out if it is because someone at work is stressed, if you are regulated, maybe not so good with time management or not enough planning… it will help you focus on the solution better.
Without stress causes, there is no stress, so you can live life to the fullest.