Some of the Main Causes of Stress are Overwork and Fatigue

When looking for the main causes of stress in the U.S. we do not have far to look. Overwork and fatigue are clearly major players. Some of the underlying mechanisms of overwork and fatigue often come from:

  • being a perfectionist,
  • having unrealistic expectations,
  • pushing too hard,
  • being an over achiever,
  • trying to control the outcome of events,
  • lack of patience, or balance,
  • being completely work-centric and failing to give adequate time to family and personal relationships, or
  • lack of trust in “Divine Providence”.

Overworking in America is culturally pervasive

The 2004 Overwork in America study by the Families and Work Institute ( came to the conclusion that 1/3 of all U.S. employees can be viewed as being chronically overworked.

The study noted that employees who are overworked are more likely to make mistakes, feel angry, resentful or depressed. Overworked employees are also more likely to experience health problems and not take care of themselves well.

Our bodies have certain legitimate physical needs

  • if we stop breathing, the body stops living after just a few minutes.
  • if we have no water or fluid replacement the body stops living after a week or two.
  • if we stop sleeping and resting life becomes painful and eventually the body also ceases to function.

Most of us don’t go to those extremes. However, chronically ignoring the limitations and needs or our bodies for food, rest, and play can be one of the main causes of stress. Over time we can become dulled to the body’s signal of where our healthy limits are.

Avoid the habit of pushing too hard with insufficient rest

This habit can result in:

  • Increased physical pain and health problems
  • Increased fear, anxiety, depression or anger
  • Increased friction and discord in our relationships
  • Decreased creativity and productivity in our work
  • Increased mistakes and errors in our work
  • Premature aging and a decreased joy in life.

In my experience, getting enough sleep for stress relief can make the difference between experiencing a situation as an interesting challenge or an oppressive problem.

Getting enough rest and basic self-care neutralizes some of the main causes of stress

This might mean:

Be patient. Try keeping work in perspective. "Rome wasn’t built in a day."

We must take personal responsibility for achieving balance in our lives. No one else will do this for us. The demands of work will never stop. The purpose of corporations and businesses is to make a profit. Do not expect them to look after your well being.

Nurturing loving relationships, reducing relationship and family stress, trusting in God, and appreciating the miraculous gift of life can also help us to re-balance our lives and minimize overwork as one of the main causes of stress.

Explore more of the Biggest Causes of Stress, or

Return to Gentle-Stress-Relief home page.

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