Different types of stress and where does stress come from

Different types of stress

We all tend to associate stress with unhelpful feelings and situations.  However stress is part of our normal human experience and can be a helpful response.

Helpful feelings associated with stress

Feeling motivated, excited, full of energy, on a high

Helpful situations associated with stress

A new challenge, a new job, flying on a plane, a first date, passing an exam, going somewhere new, birth of a baby


The amount of stress and type of stress we experience, helpful or unhelpful, very often depends on what we think, feel and do in particular situations.  There may be situations listed above that you don’t associate with helpful feelings, for example, for some people flying on a plane would be very stressful situation with…

Unhelpful thoughts

I know the plane is going to crash

Unhelpful feelings

Constantly feeling sick at the thought of flying

Unhelpful behaviour

Drinking too much to calm your nerves to get on the plane

For others, they would find flying an exciting experience.

Remember that what is stressful to one person may not be for another.

Sources of stress

Sometimes it feels like everything is coming at you at the same time and it’s all getting on top of you.  When you don’t know what to do, it can be helpful to think about where your sources of  stress are coming from.

At some time or another, we all experience stressful events in our lives, for example:

  • Moving house
  • Marriage, separation, divorce
  • Pregnancy
  • Birth of a baby
  • Job loss, retirement
  • School/college ending or beginning
  • The death, illness or disability of a family member

Events like Christmas and holidays can also increase our stress levels.

Very often we don’t recognise that we are heading for stress overload, because it is the build-up of many everyday hassles, rather than one major stressful event.

Some examples to help you think about your everyday sources of stress.

  • Time
    • Not enough time or too much time
    • No time for yourself or others
    • Not giving yourself enough time
  • Organising
    • Lack of organisation
    • Losing things
    • Disruptions
    • Interruptions
    • Making decisions
  • Work
    • In or out of work
    • Overworked or underworked
    • Working too many hours
    • Feeling unhappy in your job
    • Too many deadlines
  • School / college
    • Exams
    • Bullying
    • Not fitting in
  • Environment
    • Travelling
    • Traffic
    • The weather
    • Noise
    • Shopping
    • Nowhere to go


  • Housing
    • Poor housing
    • Not enough room
    • Where you live
  • Finances
    • Getting into debt
  • Relationships
    • Family, partners, children, parents, elderly, friends
    • Loneliness
    • Other’s demands on you
    • Communicating
    • Other’s stress levels
    • No support
  • Feelings
    • Your mood
    • Tiredness
    • Expectations of yourself
    • Not valuing yourself or your needs
    • Not feeling valued
  • Communication
    • Finding it difficult to talk to people
    • Difficulty with language
    • Lack of confidence