Stress-Understanding Stress-What Is Stress

Understanding Stress

Stress has been named "the invisible disease". It is a common disease which may at some point affect you, your organisation, and also any of the people within it. So you can not afford to ignore it or it could turn round and bite you in the ass so to speak.

What Is Stress

On many occasions, all of us experience stress in one way or another. beneficail stress can help drive some of us to achieve our dreams, but harmful stress can drive a few of us to despair and torment. A force which is that powerful should be handled with respect.

The Definition Of Stress

Stress in individuals is defined as any interference that can disturb a persons mental health and physical wellbeing. It occurs when the body is required to perform outside it's normal comfort zone. The results of stress can e detremental to individuals, families, society and organisations, which can suffer from "organisational stress".

Symptoms Of Stress

  •  Blood supply to muscles increases.
  • Adrenal glands produce more adrenaline.
  • Sweat glands increase sweat production to cool body.
  • Heart rate increases.
  • Pupils dialate.
  • Rate of breathing increases in lungs and can lead to shortness of breath.
  • Hypothalamus activates adrenal glands to release adrenaline and cortisol into bloodstream.

The Effects on The Body

 When the body is placed under physchological or physical stress, it leads to an increase in the production of hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones produce marked changes in blodd pressure levels, metabolism, heart rate and physical activity. Although this physical reaction may help you to function more effectively when you are under pressure in short periods of time, it can have serious damage to the body in the long term.

The Effects On Society

 The societal costs of stress are already high, and are increasing rapidly. In return society bears the costs of public services such as health care for those made ill by stress, pensions for early retirement due to stress, and disability benefits for accidents occurring because of stress. In addition to this, stress on mant occasions makes people irratable, and this effects the quality of everyones lives.

The Effects on Companies

Stress costs industry and businesses over $150 billion a year in the US alone and well over $500 billion worldwide, through reduced levels of performance by those affected by stress and through absenteeism from those made ill by stress. In the UK it is believed that 60% of all absenteeism is caused by stress related disorders. Anything that can reduce the long term damaging effects of stress makes workers happier thus making companies richer through higher production output.

The Effects On Emotions

Those who suffer from stress are more likely to endulge in destructive behaviour, which can have a high cost to employers, themselves and to society. Typical symptoms such as mood swings and erratic behaviour may alienate them from colleagues, friends and even family. In some cases this may create a vicious circle of decreasing confidence, leading to more serious emotional problems, such as depression

The Effects On Families

 Stress can break up homes and families. The high divorce rates in the West  are due partly to the rapid increase of stress in the workplace, especially where both partners are working full time. It is difficult to be supportive or find the energy if work is very difficult or you are afraid you may lose your job. When children are involved, stress can cause a conflict relating to childcare and careers. Although we do not yet fully understand the long term impact of seperation or divorce on children, we know that it is not the best way to creat a generation of stress free individuals. This requires a very good balance of the demands of work and home.

The Effects On Decisions

 Suffering from any level of stress can rapidly cause individuals the ability to make sound decisions, especially if their self confidence fails. This affects health, family and careers alike, since stress is one area of life inveitably affects others. Someone suffering from stress may not notice physical signs of illness, attributing them to the side effects of stress. Faulty decisions made in the workplace or home can lead to arguments or accidents, financial loss or even the loss of ones job.

Points To Remember

  •  Suffering from stress should not be considered as a weakness.
  • Stress is infectious. It is stressful to live and work with people who are suffering from stress.
  • There is no solution guaranteeing a stress free life, but there are techniques for minimising stress.
  • Stress is produced from high demands in life combined with high constraints and little support from colleagues and family.
  • Stress can be a KILLER. The Japanese have an officially recognised condition called Karoshi, death from stress caused from too much work.

Understanding Stress


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