What Are Three Factors that Can Lead to Stress?

Wondering about 3 factors that can lead to stress? Great you are in the right spot. However, before we identify 3 factors that can lead to stress, let’s have a closer look at stress.


What is Stress?

There are many definitions of stress including –

  • “pressure or tension exerted on a material object” and “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.” ~ Google
  • “a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation” ~ Merriam Webster
  • “In a medical or biological context stress is a physical, mental, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension.” ~ MedicineNet.com
  • “A state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.” ~ Oxford Dictionaries
  • “non-specific response of the body to any demand for change.” and “the rate of wear and tear on the body.” ~ Hans Selye.

After reading the above, what words jump out for you? You may even like to identify your own meaning of stress.


What is a Stressor?

According to Kusnecov and Rabin (1994), a stressor –

“is a threat, real or perceived, that tends to disturb homeostasis.”.

Stressors can be a thing, person or situation. There can be many stressors in life, including your –

  • Body – for example: ageing, diet, exercise, injuries, illness, puberty and menopause;
  • Environment – for example: pollution, weather, noise, traffic and chemicals;
  • Finances – for example: income, insurances and superannuation;
  • Job / Career – for example: boss, colleagues, deadlines, expectations, job security and long hours;
  • Mind – for example: beliefs, expectations, memories, perceptions, thoughts and values;
  • Relationships – for example: colleagues, business, family, friends, partner and spouse; and
  • Major or Critical Incidents – for example: accidents, death, divorce and emergencies.


What Are Three Factors that Can Lead to Stress?

In his book, “When the Body Says No“, Gabor Maté indicates that the research literature identified three factors that universally lead to stress –

uncertainty, the lack of information and the loss of control.” (p.45).

When you see those three factors written, what is your response? Can you relate? How do you think knowing this can help you to move forward and navigate the stress within your life?


Over to You…

Do you see the benefits of knowing these three factors that can lead to stress? If so, what is one way you can start to untangle from stress in your life? Feel free to share your insights or questions below and remember –

“Resistance creates suffering. Stress happens when your mind resists what is. The only problem in your life is your mind’s resistance to life as it unfolds.” ~ Dan Millman

If you are ready to reclaim your courage and take the next step towards freedom and opening your heartwhy not join our Toolkit?


References –

Kusnecov, A. W., & Rubin, B. S. (1994). Stressor-induced alterations of immune function: Mechanisms and issues. International Archives of Allergy and Immunology, 105(2), 107-121. https://doi.org/10.1159/000236812

Maté, G. (2003). When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress. Victoria, Australia: Scribe Publications.


  • Tom Davidson-Marx, RN, MSN

    Reply Reply October 18, 2022

    Hi Jane. Just wanted to say that coincidentally, just the other day I was reading The Myth of Normal by Gabor Mate, who you reference here. Uncertainty, one of the factors you mention here, has had a field day during the pandemic. I work with the chronically mentally ill homeless population here, and despite the stigma and implied learning challenges, I find I can get across the point you make here about resistance being the origin of stress. Happy to have found your resources here.

    • Jane

      Reply Reply October 19, 2022

      Thanks for sharing Tom – appreciate it. Yes uncertainty is part of life, especially nowadays. Yes resistance is not always easy to see, however the more we see it and be with it, the more I have found it can transform. Thanks for doing the work you do as well.

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