10 Most Stressful Life Events - Thrive Global (2024)

We all experience stress in our life, but there are certain life events and even day-to-day situations that top the list when it comes to causing us stress. Here are some of life’s major stressors – and tips on how to cope with them.

1) Death of a loved one

The death of a spouse or other loved one tops the list of the most stressful things we experience. Bereavement affects people in different ways. You may feel shock and sadness, anger or even guilt. You may feel your world has been turned upside down and you don’t know how to go on without them.

It’s important during this time that you take care of yourself. Try to eat well and get enough rest. Don’t try to do too much – rely on others for support. Healing often comes from sharing our grief with others, so talk about your feelings with friends and family. Recovering from the loss of a spouse or other loved one can be a long journey. If you feel you can’t handle your overwhelming emotions or daily life, you may need the help of a grief support group or professional counselor to find ways to cope with your loss.

2) Separation or divorce

Separation and divorce are another two of life’s most stressful events. Even if both partners agree on ending the relationship, there are always a number of emotional, practical and legal considerations that have to be dealt with, such as living arrangements, financial matters and child custody.

There are things you can do to help reduce the stress of separation or divorce, such as surrounding yourself with a good support system, taking time to make any decisions and staying physically active. You can also help your children deal with the stress of the separation or divorce by talking to them honestly and remaining civil towards your partner.

3) Getting married

On the flip side, getting married can also be one of life’s most stressful events. Even though it’s generally one of the happiest times of our life, planning a wedding can also be quite stressful. You have all the complexities of organizing the event along with worrying that everyone will have a good time. Throw family conflicts into the mix and you can see why your big day might feel a bit overwhelming.

Some good ways to keep wedding planning stress under control include communicating openly with family members about what you envision for your wedding, prioritizing the things that are most important to you and remembering to take good care of yourself. It’s also important to stay connected to your fiancé during the planning process and make sure you set aside time to focus on things other than the wedding.

4) Starting a new job

No matter where you are in your career starting a new job is another major cause of stress in modern life. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed in our first days on a job as we learn what is expected of us in our new role.

Remember, you can’t expect to know everything right from the start, so don’t be afraid to ask questions or get help when you need it. If you find yourself getting overwhelmed, take a short walk or find another quick stress reliever. Here are some other tips for starting a new job that will hopefully help you feel a little more at ease.

5) Workplace stressors

One quarter of workers say their job is their biggest stressor. In addition to new job stress, other common causes of stress in the workplace include fear of being fired, heavy workloads, poor management and a lack of control over your work activities. Workplace stress can creep into our life outside of work and negatively affect our health, so it’s important to keep it in check.

Managing your time at work efficiently and learning to prioritize your tasks are just two ways to handle workplace stress. Often it helps to delegate work if you’re feeling overwhelmed, such as when you’re getting ready for a big presentation or preparing a key business report. During this time you may find it useful to get help from a professional service such as CopyCrafter.

6) Financial problems

Financial worries are one of the most common causes of stress. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), 76% of Americans say money is a major cause of stress. Here are some tips from the APA for dealing with financial stress and difficult economic times:

  1. Identify your financial stressors and come up with a plan to manage your finances more efficiently.

  2. Examine how you deal with financial stress – address any unhealthy behaviors you may be engaging in, such as gambling or drinking, as a way to relieve money stress.

  3. Use challenging financial times as a catalyst for positive changes.

7) Moving to a new home

Moving is another of life’s stressful events. First, there’s finding the right place. Then there’s the packing and unpacking, finding new schools, shops and other services, along with any financial stressors. In addition to all of these logistical considerations there is also the emotional stress of moving, especially if you’ve been in a place for a long time and you’re having to start fresh in a new neighborhood, city or even country.

Researching the new area, hiring professional movers, and relying on friends and family for help are all good ways to deal with the stress of moving. Make sure you plan everything ahead of time so that things go smoothly. Once you’ve moved in, introduce yourself to your neighbors and start looking for ways to get involved in your new community.

8) Chronic illness or injury

Long-term health conditions can cause stress for both those affected and their loved ones. In addition to life’s everyday stresses, you may have the added stress of managing chronic pain, increased financial burdens or dealing with limitations caused by your illness.

Find out as much as you can about your illness or injury and its treatment. You may have to adjust your expectations depending on your situation. Take good care of yourself – get enough sleep, eat well and exercise if you are able. Avoid situations that cause you more stress and focus on the activities and individuals that make you feel the happiest.

9) Retirement

As stressful as many people find work it seems they’d be excited to reach retirement, but retiring can also been a stressful transition to make. Often people struggle with the question of “Who am I?” after decades of defining themselves in relation to their careers.

Give yourself time to adjust and relish in the fact that you have an opportunity to reinvent yourself. It can also be disturbing to no longer have the routines you were so used to, so look for ways to stay active and get involved in activities that will help structure your day.

10) Transitioning to adulthood

Stress isn’t just limited to adults. Your teen years are a time of big changes, which can be hard to handle. There are many things teens stress about, including peer pressure, navigating romantic relationships for the first time, and dealing with the physical changes they are experiencing. Other major causes of stress in students include academic pressures, busy schedules, and poor sleeping and eating habits.

To help lower stress levels, make sure your son or daughter is getting 8.5 to 9.25 hours of sleep a night and they keep to a regular sleep schedule. Students should avoid convenience foods high in sugar, fat and caffeine, and instead try to eat a diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and lean protein to give them lasting energy. Teens can also lower stress by exercising, spending time with friends and focusing on the positives in their life.

10 Most Stressful Life Events - Thrive Global (2024)


What are the ten most stressful life events? ›

According to the research, the top ten most stressful events in our lives today are:
  • The death of a family member or friend.
  • Financial challenges.
  • Issues at work.
  • Change in a relationship.
  • Divorce.
  • Exams & studying.
  • Buying a house.
  • Reading/watching the news.
Oct 31, 2022

What are the top 10 causes of stress? ›

What causes stress?
  • Feel under lots of pressure.
  • Face big changes in your life.
  • Are worried about something.
  • Don't have much or any control over the outcome of a situation.
  • Have responsibilities that you find overwhelming.
  • Don't have enough work, activities or change in your life.
  • Experience discrimination, hate or abuse.

What life event has the highest rating of stress? ›

The top five most stressful life events include:
  • Death of a loved one.
  • Divorce.
  • Moving.
  • Major illness or injury.
  • Job loss.
Jul 2, 2015

What is the most stressful situation in the world to be in? ›

Death of a close family member

The loss of a loved one is often difficult to comprehend and cope with. The death of a close family member, such as a sibling, parent, or child is considered one of the most stressful life events.

What decade of life is most stressful? ›

NEW YORK — Are you nearing your mid-30s? You may want to think about a vacation. A new study finds the average American feels the most stressed at 36 years-old.

What major is the most stressful? ›

10 degrees that lead to the most stressful jobs:
  • Bachelor of Surgery. Medicine is well-known as one of the, if not the hardest degree in the world. ...
  • Bachelor 0f Nursing. ...
  • Bachelor of Culinary Arts. ...
  • Bachelor of Economics. ...
  • Bachelor of Electrical Engineering. ...
  • Bachelor of Law. ...
  • Bachelor in Finance. ...
  • Bachelor in Aviation.
Apr 21, 2023

What is the #1 cause of stress? ›

Financial Problems

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), money is the top cause of stress in the United States.

What are the 6 main stress? ›

There are six main areas that can lead to work-related stress if they are not managed properly. These are: demands, control, support, relationships, role and change. For example, workers may say that they: are not able to cope with the demands of their jobs.

What is the #1 cause of stress in Americans? ›

According to the Center for Disease Control/National Institute on Occupational Safety & Health, the workplace is the number one cause of life stress. The American Institute of Stress reports 120,000 people die every year as a direct result of work-related stress.

What are extremely stressful situations? ›

We focus on events that are threats to one's social status, self-esteem, identity, or physical well-being, such as divorce, the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, being arrested, retirement, or being diagnosed with a serious illness.

What are the stressful changes in life? ›

The Stress of Life Change

Family – death of a loved one, family conflict. Financial – buying a house, losing a job, a child in college. Health – yours or a loved one's acute or chronic illness, or injury from an accident.

What does 45% of people say the most stressful thing in their life? ›

The survey, conducted by OnePoll, found 45% of respondents say moving is by far the most stressful event in life, followed by going through a break-up or divorce (44%), and getting married (33%). The Top Ten most stressful events in life is as follows: 1. Moving.

What is on average the #1 most stressful significant life event? ›

Death has a way of creating mental, emotional, and physical hardships like no other. This is why the loss of a partner and the attempted suicide of a loved one rank so highly among stressful life events. And, it's why the loss of a close friend ranks within the top ten stressors, as well.

What are five emotional signs of stress? ›

If you are stressed, you might feel:
  • Irritable, angry, impatient or wound up.
  • Over-burdened or overwhelmed.
  • Anxious, nervous or afraid.
  • Like your thoughts are racing and you can't switch off.
  • Unable to enjoy yourself.
  • Depressed.
  • Uninterested in life.
  • Like you've lost your sense of humour.

What life events cause anxiety? ›

A big event or a buildup of smaller stressful life situations may trigger excessive anxiety — for example, a death in the family, work stress or ongoing worry about finances. Personality. People with certain personality types are more prone to anxiety disorders than others are.

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