You can’t live without some form of stress. Not only does it signal your automatic danger response, but it’s necessary for learning and growth. When your stress gets out of hand, you’ll notice the mental strain and a plethora of other issues.
Not only does stress cause you mental anguish, but it can lead to physical problems and spiritual affliction. Unless you find ways to minimize it, you can face many serious health issues. You may be overstressed if you notice one or more of these symptoms:
- Anxiety or panic attacks
- Debilitating exhaustion and fatigue
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Headaches and unexplained body aches and pains
- Stomachaches and digestive issues like diarrhea or constipation
- Heart palpitations or unusual chest pains
- Mood swings
Six Common Causes of Mental Strain
According to the Mayo Clinic, stress is a hazard to your entire well-being. Chronic stress is often linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, cancer, and even premature death. The good news is that you can learn skills to improve your emotional intelligence and recognize these causes of stress.
1. Financial Woes Can Add to Mental Strain
Money may not buy happiness, but you can’t make it without it. Have you ever met anyone who says they have enough money? Even the wealthiest individuals are searching for ways to pile up some more cash.
Paying bills and keeping enough cash in your bank account can be a mental strain. According to an article published by the American Institute of Stress, the major stressor in this country is worrying about finances. You need enough money to pay for your home, food, clothes, car, and other necessities.
Money issues cause stress and contention for couples and families. Plus, it can lead to anxiety, emotional strain, and other mental problems. These are some common signs of financial stress:
- Contention and arguing with the family about money issues
- Reluctance to answer the phone or open mail, fearing it’s a bill collector
- Constant guilt for spending money on unnecessary items
- Chronic anxiety about your financial situation
There are mental issues that often go hand-in-hand with money problems. Compulsive shopping and gambling lead to more money loss and more significant toxicity in the relationship. It may become a never-ending cycle that hurts the couple and everyone in their circle.
Rather than stress about money issues, you and your partner can work on a budget together. You’ll both see how much income you have and what needs to be paid each month. If you need help to make a budget, many credit counseling agencies help free or for nominal fees.
2. Relationship Issues
Anybody who says that their relationship is perfect and stress-free isn’t being honest. Whether the relationship is personal or professional, they require a lot of time, patience, and hard work. It stands to reason those two different personalities will occasionally butt heads and cause mental strain.
Toxic people can be stressors in any type of relationship. A toxic coworker can make your work environment unbearable. It’s also a great source of stress when you’re in a romantic relationship with a negative personality.
It’s normal to argue about different opinions in a relationship. You and your partner are still individuals who have different viewpoints. Too much arguing can cause mental strain and can be compounded by these stressors:
- Abuse or control issues in the relationship
- Lack of communication between partners
- Financial burdens
- Issues with children
- Unequal shares of responsibility
- Lack of trust or infidelity
- Substance abuse
- Undiagnosed and untreated mental illness
Many misunderstandings and tension in a relationship can be avoided by effective communication. Take time to listen to one another and discuss your problems actively. Work together to find a solution or ask for professional help.
3. Your Job and Coworkers Can Create Mental Strain
It’s a blessing when you enjoy what you do for work. Even if you are self-employed, you still must deal with problems and difficult people. Your employer pays you to do a job, so you must learn to deal with the stress in some way.
Statistics published by the World Economic Forum show that 57 percent of workers in the US and Canada report workplace stress. The article also notes that anger, worry, and other mental strain are at an all-time high. Unfortunately, this vortex creates stress at home and in other areas of your life.
Some usual stressors on the job include deadlines, dealing with customers, and productivity. These are necessary for your company to make money and be successful, and you always have your finances in the back of your mind too. However, you may also have unnecessary stress like difficult management, a workload that’s too heavy, contentious coworkers, and job insecurity.
These are some red flags that you’re overstressed at work:
- Lower initiative and creativity
- Lack of interest in productivity or your role in the company
- Decreased work performance and performance write-ups
- Taking more sick days or leaving work early
- Isolation from supervisors and colleagues and disconnection with customers
- Reduced patience and increased frustration with everyone
- Bringing work problems home and taking your home problems to work
Unfortunately, many jobs are highly stressful by nature. However, keeping communication between you, your boss, and coworkers can be helpful. If your work stress affects your quality of life, it may be time to look for another job.
4. Parenting Children in Today’s Society
Raising children is the most difficult labor of love, and they’re one of the significant causes of stress in your life. Even if you have the best behaving kids, growing up can be difficult for both the child and parent. It’s also stressful trying to balance caring for your children and maintaining a job.
Parenting can hurt you and your children’s relationship if you have an emotional strain. You may seem more irritable and demanding, which can result in arguments. The teen years can be especially turbulent for parents, especially when you add some of these added stressors:
- Single parenting, especially if another parent is absent
- Low income and money issues like foreclosures, garnishing, repossessions, or bankruptcy
- Marital or relationship strife
- Raising child or children with behavior or developmental issues
Nobody says it’s easy to raise children on even the best days. Spending more quality time together may minimize the tension at home. Plus, you and your partner may need to step back and see if you’re carrying an equal share of the parenting responsibility.
5. Stress of Daily Living Might Increase Mental Strain
Let’s face it, life itself can create its own stress and mental strain. It starts in the morning, trying to get the kids fed and ready for school. Meanwhile, you’re looking for a missing homework assignment, breaking up a food fight, and trying to find your car keys so you can get yourself to work on time.
After all the pressure and commotion at work, you run a few quick errands and rush home in time to prepare dinner. The kids are arguing, and your partner is complaining that you made spaghetti for dinner once again. Do any parts of these domestic scenarios resonate with you?
You’re also struggling with a lot of busy work. Multitasking isn’t always an easy fix for everything. You meet yourself coming and going and are too overwhelmed to enjoy your blessings.
Consider de-stressing each evening by relaxing your mind with meditation. You may also benefit from mindful exercises like yoga or tai chi. Dedicate a space in your home to relax, meditate, journal, or do something creative to help battle the angst you feel.
6. Your Personality and Personal Resources
There’s not much you can do to change your personality. You are a unique individual with a singular destiny. However, your personality and available sources can play a part in your stress levels.
For example, let’s say that you are an extrovert. You have a more robust network of friends to talk to, which can reduce your stress. If you are an introvert, your social network may be lacking, and you may keep your feelings bottled up inside.
If you’re a Type A personality, you may have strong ambition and accomplish a lot. Of course, it may come at the price of causing emotional strain for yourself and everyone around you. Type B personalities are more laid back and more apt to have better stress coping mechanisms.
Once you’ve identified your personality type, you can decide the coping skills that are best for you. Type A personalities often need to learn how to relax and relinquish constant control. Introverts may not have a large inner circle but having a few close friends can help when you need someone to listen to you.
If you nip chronic stress in the bud, it’s easier to minimize it. However, you may be so overwhelmed with the mental strain that you don’t know where to turn. If you’re depressed and feel like you’ve lost hope, reach out to a trusted friend, loved one, or a professional.
Final Thoughts on Mental Strain and How to Reduce It
You’ll never get through this life without some stress and challenges. When you develop proper coping skills and hone your emotional intelligence, you can reduce mental strain. It empowers you to make necessary changes and accept the things that are out of your control.