Stress: Causes and consequences

What is stress? According to one expert, stress can be defined as “any physical, chemical or emotional factor that causes physical or mental tension.” But stress is not always harmful. Doctor MC Stöppler notes that a mild degree of stress can sometimes be a good thing. If we are slightly tense while carrying out a task or project, this often encourages us to do our work well and put a lot of energy into it. But when is stress a problem?

When is stress a problem?

Dr. Stöppler says: Only when stress is overwhelming, or poorly controlled, do the negative effects appear. Below are some common causes of stress.


A report from the European Safety and Health Agency said that people are often stressed at work because, among other things, communication between management and staff is poor, management gives employees little say in decisions that affect them, conflicts with colleagues whether the work is insecure and/or poorly paid. Whatever the causes, dealing with tension at work can mean that working parents, for example, have little energy left for their family. Severe stress can also be extremely harmful to health and send a person into a spiral of chronic diseases.

Single parents

Single parents also experience enormous stress as they try to provide for the needs of their families. Getting up early to prepare breakfast, getting the kids dressed and taking them to school, rushing to get to work on time, and then still having to meet the demands of the job. All of this can exhaust the single parent physically and emotionally. Even when the working day is over, the stress starts all over again: picking up the children from school, preparing food and doing the housework.

Children under stress

Sociologist Ronald L. Pitzer says: Many young people are under severe stress. They deal with the physical and emotional changes of puberty. And then there are the tensions of school. According to the book Childstress! is the average school day full of problems and tensions that cause stress. During lessons, during sports, in relationships with fellow students and in interactions with teachers. In some areas, the threat of violence at school is an additional burden. Parents must support their children. But according to Pitzer, attempts by children and teens to talk about their deepest feelings are too often not taken seriously, rationalized or ignored by parents. In some cases, parents are unable to help due to the tensions they experience in their marriage. Such as the book Childstress! notes that fights and arguments are causes of trauma.

The consequences of stress

Whether we are young or old, chronic stress can take a serious toll on our health. A medical letter explains: The body’s stress response is a bit like what happens when an airplane is ready to take off. When you feel stressed, your heart rate increases and your blood pressure increases. Your blood sugar levels rise. Hormones are released. If stress persists, all parts of the body’s stress apparatus (brain, heart, lungs, blood vessels and muscles) are chronically activated too much or too little. This can lead to psychological or physical damage in the long term. The list of diseases in which stress plays a role is shockingly long: heart disease, stroke, immune diseases, cancer, musculoskeletal disorders and diabetes, to name just a few.
What is worrying is the unhealthy way in which many try to manage stress. Dr. Bettie B. Youngs notes: It is very depressing to discover that teenagers, in their desire to forget the pain, turn to alcohol and drugs, truancy, aggression and violence, sexual promiscuity, and running away from home. This creates even more problems than the ones they were trying to escape from.
Stress is part of today’s life and cannot be completely avoided. But as I will show in another article, we can do a lot to control stress.

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