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Identify circumstances and factors that tend to trigger stress in self and others

This page is designed to answer the following questions:

NOTE: This page has been quality assured for 2021 as per our Quality Assurance policy.

Stress can be caused by several factors or circumstances. It is important that you have an awareness of some of the causes of stress so that you can identify the source and plan ways to manage it.

The effects of stress vary from person to person. Some people may get stressed easily, whilst others can cope with a lot of stress and even excel under it. The overall feeling is that of being overwhelmed and having no control.

In 2020, the Health and Safety Executive published statistics for work-related stress in Great Britain and identified the following as predominant causes:

Workload

Having a workload that is too much for you to manage or working long hours can take its toll on your physical and mental wellbeing and result in stress.

Lack of support

Lack of support and supervision from your manager in your working practice can result in a lack of confidence and self-esteem, which can lead to stress. In addition, support from your manager is essential to manage stress effectively, whether it stems from your work or personal life. As well as the stress-relief from simply having an empathetic ear to listen, they can help to put measures in place to reduce stress such as additional training, shadowing, mentoring, temporarily reducing your workload or arranging for time off work.

Violence/threats/bullying

Violence, threats and bullying can lead to a lot of stress and so you should raise your concerns with your manager immediately. The law protects individuals that are a victim of these activities and so if the workplace does not effectively deal with these issues, it can be escalated to the police or legal agency.

Changes at work

Many individuals do not embrace change well and so changes at work can a major source of stress. Changes in working practices can be an unpleasant experience if there is resistance to change.

Causes of stress in personal life

Causes of stress may also stem from your personal life. Worry about money, relationships and the health of yourself or others can leave you overwhelmed and fatigued. Major life changes, such as bereavement, having children, moving house and exams can also be causes of stress.

Example question and answer

Describe two examples of circumstances or situations that cause you to feel stressed.

I tend to feel stressed if I am overloaded with work (both personal and vocational) and can see no way of meeting my deadlines.

I also feel stressed if I have inadvertently upset my girlfriend or one of my children.