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1. Working too hard without breaks.

This applies to almost any time scale. That is, stress can be caused by working for many months without a holiday and/or by working too many days without resting (e.g., on Sunday). Stress can occur even throughout the day by your failing to take a short restful break every 90 minutes or so.

2. Insufficient or abnormal sleep.

Americans now sleep one hour less than they did 100 years ago. Many Americans stay up late watching television, get up early, and have a long commute. According to sleep experts, people simply are not getting sufficient sleep. In addition, they often have erratic sleep schedules with late nights and much less sleep on the weekends. The "Monday morning blues" are very real and are not just due to a person's dread of returning to work.

3. Major life stressors (e.g., death of a loved one, divorce, job loss).

Even major positive changes (e.g., job change) can be stressful because the nervous system may still react as if there is a crisis

4. Minor hassles.

Studies have shown that "minor" hassles on a daily basis without countering them with stress-reduction techniques may have even more deleterious effects than major stressors because they occur frequently and are additive.

5. Physical illness, particularly if chronic.

Surgery or hospitalization can also be stressful.

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