The relationship between stress and disease is now well established, but was not always recognised. Hans Selye describes stress as the “nonspecific response of the body to any demand “. It is non-specific because, any number of stressors can produce the same general non-individualised response as a defence. Stress could be a combination of personal, professional / organizational and individual factors.
A few facts about stress:
1. Each individual has an optimal stress level
2. Maintaining high levels of can be harmful
All stress is not bad – Stress can be good or bad
Good stress can lead to glow-up and bad stress leads to burnout.
Consequences of good stress – Eustress
- Good concentration
- Plenty of energy
- Cheerful disposition
- Regular attendance
- High Achievement
Consequences of bad stress
- Poor concentration
- Low energy
- Not cheerful
- Irregular attendance
- Low achievement levels
Some amount of stress is necessary e.g. without stress players of football or cricket cannot bring out the best performance.
Reactions to stress
Hans Selye mentions the General adaptation syndrome which has 3 stages
1. Alarm reaction stage – This stage is associated with the flight or fight response.
2. Resistance stage – the individual undergoes chronic hormonal and neurological changes in order to adapt to stress. When the stressor is removed the body returns to normal.
If the resistance stage continues for too long of a period without pauses to offset the effects of stress, this can lead to the exhaustion stage. Signs of the resistance stage include: irritability, frustration, poor concentration
3. Exhaustion stage
This stage is the result of prolonged or chronic stress.. Signs of exhaustion include:
- decreased stress tolerance
The physical effects of this stage also weaken your immune system and put you at risk for stress-related illnesses.
Coping techniques to reduce stress :
- Identify the stressors and try to develop techniques to overcome these stressors. Yoga is a good technique to learn.
- Get Social support – friends, relatives
- Start Physical activities including jogging, swimming, walking, etc.
- Try to get some Intellectual stimulation – attending conferences, seminars, writing / reading professional literature, etc.
- Entertainment – going to movies, eating out, etc.
- Pursue hobbies unrelated to work
- Develop positive outlook
- Develop a sense of humour
- Become assertive – e.g. Learn to say NO
Finally a point to remember
Tough times never last but Tough people do.