What Is Stress?
'Stress' can mean different things to different people, and there are a lot of definitions of stress. The Health and Safety Executive describe stress as 'The adverse reaction people have to pressures or other types of demand placed on them'.
It can occur when pressure exceeds our perceived ability to cope. The matter of perception is a very important one, as it implies that we may be able to interpret things differently, in a more helpful way. It follows too that we have some control over how we react, and stress management is often about finding ways to do just that, and thinking and behaving in a different way.
Furthermore, it means that it's not just external pressures - like work overload - that lead to stress. It's often a case of whether you believe that you can cope with a situation that you perceive as important or threatening. If you believe that you can cope, or that you can handle it if things don't go the way you planned, you're less likely to become stressed. (Easy to say, but more difficult to achieve sometimes, for sure!). The way we interpret and perceive things comes from our beliefs, (about ourselves, others and the world), and the beliefs we have can sometimes be the problem, and help to put unwanted pressure on us. Beliefs such as 'I should do this' 'I must achieve that' can be unhelpful, especially when they relate to situations over which we don't have ultimate control, and can lead to stress. What we need to do is find beliefs that are more helpful, more flexible, that don't put unnecessary pressure on us. This isn't to say that negative life events and difficult situations can just be 'perceived' away. But we have found that stress is very often something that we do to ourselves, and we put ourselves under pressure unnecessarily.
Stress can come from a number of different sources, both external and internal. It can affect us at different times in our lives, and we can be more susceptible to it depending on other factors (e.g. what else is going on in our lives at the time). It can be a life event or situation, or perhaps a thought, memory, feeling or emotion that provokes a stress reaction in us. We are more likely to be susceptible to stress if we are facing a number of challenges at any one time. Challenge though can be good for us, as it can motivate and energise us, and give us a sense of purpose. Not having this sense of purpose can be just as stressful though as too much challenge, or too many challenging situations. Stress can impact on us physically, mentally, emotionally and behaviourally, and we can find ourselves in a 'vicious cycle', where each area feeds one off the other, our resources are depleted and our ability to cope reduces.
At Stress Management Plus we're interested in supporting individuals to be resilient, and to be able to manage pressure and prevent stress through their own devices, tapping into our innate resources and resourcefulness. Within an organisation, having resilient staff is going to be helpful in terms both of business performance and staff morale. We work mainly with groups and individuals in a collaborative way to promote wellbeing and resilience, and to prevent stress.
For further information on how we can support you/your organisation, please call 0118 3283246 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are suffering from high levels of stress, we would recommend contacting a medical professional.