All humans experience stress as a naturally occurring physical reaction to certain events and circumstances. Individuals may varying in what they find stressful, for example some may find snakes to cause a stress reaction while others like to have snakes as pets and don’t find any stress related to handling reptiles. Whatever differences may exist among stressful factors, the human body reacts similarly to all stresses by igniting the “fight or flight response” in an effort to obtaining an internal balance, or homeostasis. Physical stress reactions may include a sharp rise in blood pressure, increased sweating, increased heart rate, fluctuations in eating habits (eating more or less than usual), and sleep disturbances.
Many humans may be divided on what animals, weather conditions, or environmental situations that personally cause them stress, however there are several types of life stressors that have a dramatic influence on all humans according to extensive research studies. Results from large scale research projects on the causes of stress in humans done by the Center for Disease Control, the American Institute of Stress, Canadian physician Hans Selye, and many others, confirm that there are certain life events that the majority of humans find very stressful. Here are the top ten causes of extreme human stress:
1. Death of a Loved One- Even if a death is anticipated, such as with a prolonged illness, those people who loved the individual can experience extreme stress.
2. Childhood Trauma- People who are sexually, psychologically, and/or physically abused, or who have been abandoned while young, may carry these stresses into adulthood.
3. Divorce- All the aspects of a divorce, from personal to financial to loss of family and friends, contribute to these forms of stress.
4. Finances- Although this is easily understood as a stress factor, bankruptcy and mortgage foreclosures seem to increase the human stress levels even more.
5. Employment- Those who are employed may find their work, hours or co-workers cause stress, while those who are not employed find their circumstances without income and the job searching process also cause stress.
6. Poor Health- The medical crisis or being ill, escalating medical costs, terminal illness, becoming incapacitated, not having medical insurance, and not having access to medical services all contribute to causing stress.
7. Personal Relationships- If there are troubling issues with family, extended family, partnerships, friends, children, or lovers, these are all large contributors to stress levels.
8. Chronically Ill Child- The parents, family, and friends of chronically ill children all experience stresses caused from circumstances surrounding the child’s illness, and the personal and financial obligations derived from the chronic illness.
9. Pregnancy- Infertility, lack of a relationship when wanting children, adoption, premature births, unplanned and/or unwanted pregnancies, complications during pregnancy, and pregnancies caused from sexual abuse and rape are high human stressors.
10. Danger and Fear- People who live in war zones, crime infested areas, and in isolated communities can experience daily stressors that accumulate over time, while others who are victims of personally invasive crimes, such as cyber bullying and identity theft, are also at risk for high stress levels.