Open a PDF version to print this topic

HealthInfo Canterbury

What causes stress?

FDP earthquakeStress can be caused by a major change in your life, like divorce, being made redundant, moving house, or the death of someone close to you. Or it can be caused by a lot of seemingly small problems, like feeling unappreciated at work or arguing with a family member.

We are all affected by negative events in different ways, and whether your stress is caused by something big, or by something that seems small to other people, it's still stress!

Difficult relationships can make us feel stressed, especially if they don't seem to be getting any better and we don't think we can change things or escape the problem.

Sometimes our jobs cause stress: you may feel under pressure because you have to work long hours, and get little recognition from your boss. And financial problems and debt, or the challenges of just trying make ends meet, can be very stressful.

Often people try to relieve their stress through smoking and drinking alcohol, but these often actually add to people's feelings of stress.

In Canterbury, since the earthquakes began in September 2010, many people have been struggling with earthquake trauma, housing issues, trying to support their loved ones, managing their children's reactions, juggling insurance and EQC claims, and dealing with job issues. You may have felt stressed out before the earthquakes, and now you have all these new things to deal with as well!

Sometimes we can't pinpoint exactly what's causing our stress. But whatever is causing it, it is still stress.

On the next page: What can I do to cope with stress?

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. July 2014.


Image courtesy of Naypong at

Page reference: 111504

Review key: HISTS-111503