Stress Management

Stress Management – Understanding Stress

Stress is something we must all endure. The key to combating stress lies in getting to the root cause of it, confronting the source and, finally, controlling it once and for all.

Unfortunately, that's just not as easy as it sounds, as most people already know.

Stress is not a new issue. In fact, it's been around since the very beginning of time and been studied for hundreds of years. Despite this, there seems there is no quick fix or single answer when it comes to combating this frustrating, time-wasting, motivation killer.

Defining Stress

Because stress is generally comprised of many things, such experiences, responses, expectations, and circumstances, it is nearly impossible to attach to it a single definition. Pair this with the fact that different people experience different stressors and that stress effects every individually differently and it becomes nearly impossible to sum stress up in a single attempt.

This explains why researchers of stress have come up with a wide variety of definitions, even solutions, for stress.

Amidst all the stress talk, one thing is for certain and that is that stress can be damaging. Ironically enough, this is not always the message, as some consider stress to be a positive thing.

Just more conflicting information on an already confusing subject? Not really.

You see, Hans Selye, one of the earliest and most recognized researchers of stress concluded in 1956 that "stress is not necessarily something bad – it all depends on how you take it. The stress of exhilarating, creative successful work is beneficial, while that of failure, humiliation or infection is detrimental."

Selye believed that the biochemical effects of stress would be experienced irrespective of whether the situation was positive or negative.

Since then, ideas have moved on. In particular, the biochemical and long-term effects of stress have rarely been observed in positive situations.

Stress Today

Today, researchers believe that stress is a "condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize."

A short way of saying this is to say that people feel stressed when they "feel out of control". People feel little stress when they have the time, experience and resources to manage a situation. They feel great stress when they think they can't handle the demands put upon them.

Stress is therefore a negative experience. And it is not an inevitable consequence of an event: It depends a lot on people's perceptions of a situation and their real ability to cope with it.

Combating Stress

Aware of the negative effects stress can have on our lives, specifically on our professional lives, the team at Mind Tools called on Dr. Susan Mitchie, Stress Specialist at the Center for Outcomes Research and Effectiveness, Department of Psychology, University College London, to assist in compiling a single reliable resource that can be used to understand stress, recognize the symptoms, pinpoint the sources, manage it, reduce it and perhaps most importantly, recover from it.

The result: Mind Tools' Stress Management Masterclass, a clear, concise, comprehensive resource on stress.

And, in its nearly 200 pages, the Stress Management Masterclass shows participants how to:

  • Understand Stress
  • Pin-Point the Sources of Stress in Your Life
  • Cope with Work Overload
  • Survive Problem Jobs
  • Work Successfully With Powerful People
  • Reduce Co-Worker and Team Stress
  • Manage Performance Stress
  • Reduce Stress With Rational Thinking
  • Build Defenses Against Stress, and
  • Avoid or Recover From Burnout

And, much like the other products offered by Mind Tools, the Stress Management Masterclass is complete with resources, exercises, tried and true tips and techniques, all aimed at combating stress once and for all.

And who couldn't use help with that?

More than this, the Stress Management Masterclass can be counted on to help users overcome work overload and bring joy and fulfillment back to their professional lives.

This practical course shows you how to win control of your job and career, build positive relationships with powerful people and co-workers and thrive under intense pressure. Click here to find out more about Mind Tools' Stress Management Masterclass .


Stress can cause severe health problems and, in extreme cases, can cause death. While these stress management techniques have been shown to have a positive effect on reducing stress, they are for guidance only, and readers should take the advice of suitably qualified health professionals if they have any concerns over stress-related illnesses or if stress is causing significant or persistent unhappiness. Health professionals should also be consulted before any major change in diet or levels of exercise.

 Stress Management - Self ConfidenceClick here to Learn how to Manage Stress with Mindtools