Free Shipping | Certified Aussie Doctors | 100% online

What Causes Stress

By Mosh
Treat Mental Health
6 min read
Medically reviewed by:

Key Takeaways

Everyone feels stress in throughout their lives, however, if you feel as though it disrupts your wellbeing and have a negative impact on your lifestyle, relationships and mental health, you may be experiencing the physical effects of stress. Understanding the physical symptoms of stress, may help you to recognise that you have to many things on your plate or need to take a step back. To address any concerns that you may have, it is advisable to consult with a  mental health professional to receive proper advice and treatment depending on your specific situation.

Do you know what causes stress in your daily life?

Thousands of Australians grapple with the question of what causes stress every day. While stress is a part of everyday life, there are times when it can overwhelm us, thus negatively affecting our lifestyles, interpersonal relationships, and even physical and mental health.

Mosh is here to help. Through our licenced doctors, Mosh can guide you through a treatment plan for chronic stress, stress factors, and other concerns where needed, so you can continue to focus on what matters most to you.

Here are the basics of how stress can affect you and how we can help.

A man and woman having a friendly conversation in a kitchen about mental health.

Treat Mental Health

  • Personalised Treatment and Therapy
  • Australian Doctors and Therapists
  • 50,000+ Customers
take the quiz

What is stress?

Stress is a reaction our body makes in fight-or-flight situations and is the mechanism that triggers our reflex responses to such situations.[1]

If you are wondering what causes stress, know that it can be due to many factors, as everyone can be stressed by different things. Some common causes of stress include major life events, health concerns, and problems at school or work.[2]

When we are feeling stressed, our bodies release cortisol, also known as the primary stress hormone, which consequently affects how we experience our emotions, thinking, and decision-making processes.[3] Long-term exposure to stress can also lead to physical symptoms, such as a lack of or irregular sleep, body aches or pains, or changes in one’s behaviours.[4]

Thankfully, there are several treatments regarding how to cope with stress. Your Mosh doctor can help guide you through these possible treatments if they are deemed necessary.

What are some common symptoms of stress?

There are several observable symptoms of major stress.[5][6] The following list is not exhaustive or complete but features many common symptoms. 

  • Difficulty sleeping or falling asleep
  • Persistent fatigue or anxiety
  • Muscle aches and headaches
  • Chest or breathing pains
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Indigestion, heartburn, constipation, or diarrhoea
  • Changes in appetite
  • Changes in mood, irritability, or anger
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Reliance on alcohol or other substances to cope

Chronic stress may lead to anxiety or stress disorders if not addressed. Such anxiety disorders include acute stress disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social anxiety disorder, and generalised anxiety disorder.[7] Chronic stress effects have also been linked to the development of depressive disorders by medical research and observations.[8]

Chronic stress can be disruptive to your daily life. If you find yourself experiencing many of these symptoms regularly, please consider getting in touch with our doctors today to talk about how to relieve stress or even how to relieve anxiety and how to stop anxious thoughts.

What can stress do to your body?

Stress affects many aspects of our lives. Without adequate support or intervention when needed, there may be situations where what causes stress heavily and negatively impacts our health and wellness.[9]

Below are some circumstances that could occur when prolonged stress is left unchecked.

Insomnia could develop.

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder commonly observed to be caused by stress.[10] While not all people who have trouble sleeping suffer from insomnia, chronic stress may still cause recurring troubles with getting restful sleep.

A lack of restful sleep has a domino effect on our daily lives, as it directly contributes to feelings of tiredness, lack of focus, and irritability, among others.[11]

You may experience body aches and pains.

Because stress responses are a survival mechanism, they can trigger muscle tension as part of their reflex against perceived dangers. Extended muscle tension, in turn, can lead to muscle pains such as jaw aches, teeth grinding,  shoulder aches, back pain, and tension headaches.

In some instances, what causes stress could also lead to migraines, which can be painful and may require medical assistance or treatment.[12]

Stress could also trigger anxiety attacks or panic attacks. Regarding ‘how long do anxiety attacks last’, such attacks could last up to an hour, the symptoms of which could include chest pains or difficulty breathing, nausea, and elevated heart rates.[13]

These are only a few of the scenarios possible when we leave our stress unchecked. Connect with a Mosh doctor today if symptoms of stress persist.

How can you relieve symptoms of stress?

The good news is that there are several ways to help with what causes stress and its symptoms. Here are just a few of the many ways you can alleviate or intervene with the symptoms of chronic stress.

Holistic practices 

From eating healthy to exercising regularly, you can help ease the effects of stress from the comfort of your home. While healthy eating gives your body and immune system a boost in critical nutrients that may be affected by elevated cortisol levels, exercising engages your body in reducing stress hormone levels or releasing muscle tension.[14]

Practices like meditation, deep breathing techniques, and meditative exercises can also help centre your mind and body and calm them down.

Counselling or psychotherapy

Our state of thinking is just as critical to addressing what causes stress as it is to stay healthy. As such, counselling or psychotherapy may help address the causes of why we are feeling stressed.

It is important to understand that there is no shame in participating in therapy and that thousands of Australians take part in counselling for various reasons. Do not hesitate to reach out to your Mosh doctor regarding the possibility of counselling as a treatment for stress.

Medically backed treatments

Under certain circumstances, medication may be necessary for treating your stress symptoms, especially if these symptoms become persistent and debilitating. 

If you believe you need help coping with what causes stress, we have a brief questionnaire you can complete to help us assess your situation. If we have assessed that treatment is needed, an AHPRA-registered doctor will consult with you via telehealth channels like video conferencing, phone calls, or even text messages.

AHPRA, or the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, is responsible for the registration and accreditation of various health professions in the country.

Mosh aims to help you find answers to questions like ‘what is clinical depression’, ‘how to deal with anxiety attacks’, and ‘what is oxidative stress’ at your own pace. Let us be your partner in the journey to better health.

Connect with our Australian doctors today.

14 References


Mental health

Want to see how Mosh can help you?

Table of contents