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Mastering Stress

If there is one word that characterizes today's world, it's stress: job stress, role stress, stressful relationships, life stress!  The primary sources of stress in our lives are:

external events

conflicts in relationships

internal pressures and expectations

life crises

Often, the events themselves are not as important in determining stress levels as our emotional reaction to them.  In fact, stress is more than just an event; it consists of the event (called the stressor) plus how we feel about the situation, How we interpret it, and what we do to cope with it.

Managing Stress:
  Stress management is a juggling act; most people can handle one or twosources of stress well, perhaps even three.  effectively coping with stress can cause an exhilaration known as eustress.  But when there are too many stressors, or they continue for too long, you can begin to experience distress.

This occurs when...

you don't feel in control
you see few or no options for handling the situation
stress is prolonged
there are too many simultaneous stressors.

Experts estimate that 50-80% of all physical illness is stressrelated.  In fact, stress is the #1 health problem among Americans age 20-65.  Stress affects body metabolism in much the same way as physical exertion -- with rapid heartbeat, rising blood pressure, and shortness of breath.  Under chronic stress, these reactions can cause high blood pressure, ulcer, elevated cholesterol levels, and heart disease.

Job Stress:
  Job stress is an increasingly serious problem for both employers and employees; it now accounts for 10% of all worker's compensation claim.  Although technological and environmental factors such as computer terminals, noise levels, and fluorescent lighting contribute to job stress, the primary culprits appear to be psychological factors such as lack of appreciation, job instability, social isolation, and vague job descriptions  High job demand, low control over the work, and lack of decision-making power are a losing combination that creates job stress.