Why and What of Stress?

Stress has become a part of life or most people who work. For some it crops up once in a while, whereas others live with an everyday at work. Everyone has to experience stress sometime or the other. Therefore, it would be better if we equip ourselves to handle it better.

All executives experience stress, severe or mild and while they do not admit it openly, they show it in any case by becoming irritated or withdrawn, or by showing some other ailments. And when this happens, their job performance suffers and they do become less capable of performing the job assigned to them. This is the direct result of maintaining secrecy about stress. Also the secrecy about stress prevents them from managing it effectively. You do not attempt to improve a situation when you deny its existence, don’t you?

What is Stress?

It is a feeling of being unable to cope with anxiety, discomfort and the demands of a particular situation.

The term stress is used in at least two contexts. In the first place it refers to the minor experience of:

1) A feeling of being unable to cope with the demands of a particular situation.
2) Anxiety, discomfort, apprehension because of the inability to cope.

Secondly the term stress can also be used to denote the factors which cause the above reactions.

Stress is a powerful force which can either do a lot of good or cause extensive harm. One more important fact we would like to mention here is that stress is mental i.e. it is always in our minds. Stress starts in the head. Events do not always cause stress, how you interpret and react to these events causes stress.

Lastly, a word of caution: Stress is harmful and it hurts when you make it a way of life. The long term effect of stress has been linked to heart disease, ulcers and cancer. So once again we lay emphasis on the fact that we would benefit a lot if we equip ourselves to handle stress in an effective way.

The Causes of Stress:

What causes stress? Just about anything and everything. Here we will discuss the work-related stress. This includes work situations, personal habits, people, change and imagination.

Work Situations:

The type of work which person does has a lot to do with the person’s general stress level. Researchers have come up with a list of high stress occupations. Among them are nurse, musician, lab technician, computer programmer, and public relation to name a few. Other studies have identified secretarial work as high stress area.

Personal Habits:

These can also lead to stress in your work and life. Smoking, eating too much sugar or salt, getting overtired, being pessimistic, worrying about your career, dwelling on past failures using negative self talk can all cause stress.

Another major stress causer is the attempt of being a perfectionist or the cent percent factor. Many of us try too hard for perfection and are disappointed if we fall short. You may be just one percent off the mark. You ignore the ninety nine percent correct. You dwell on that one percent, and are upset because you were not perfect.

The people around you also cause stress. Conflict, confrontation, blaming you, spreading rumors, backstabbing, not fulfilling agreements, not giving recognition for a ob well done, all cause stress.

The only thing constant in life is change. The moment you adjust yourself to the changed environment, another change rolls in. New bosses or colleagues, mergers, promotions, new offices, new policies, directions or procedures can cause the stress to rise.

Imagination can cause plenty of stress, certainly more than it should, for example, believing others are making more money than you are. Other ways to invite stress is anticipating problems that never happen, thinking of bad possible outcomes rather than good ones.