Shubhra P Gaur

Hans Selye-2nd year student at University of Prague…I will always
remember the first lesson of Dr Von Jaksch
 I was deeply impressed by the logic of his interrogation and

precision of his observations, based on many years of experience …awe inspiring spectacle…a correct diagnosis of so many different cases without the use of instruments or chemical examination  After the initial amazement .. I had a sudden thought..why had the Prof not said anything regarding the obvious…all patients…had something in common..they looked sick..indisposed, looked tired, had loss of appetite ,didn’t feel like going to work , preferred to lie down rather than stand.. Today we say they show non specific manifestations of disease.

 He found that patients with widely differing diseases looked the same .What of it’ WITH THIS  Selye began his lifetime of study in stress .Selye approached his Physiology prof enthusiastically for permission to work on his ideas .just sick…  Analogy drawn by Prof seemed to fail…  True… fat people looked fat but why did people with widely differing diseases look same? ..he laughed  And said ‘If a person is sick naturally he looks sick.... If you look at a fat person you can say he is fat.

 He also clarified that situations producing such nonspecific response need not be necessarily unpleasant. .Selye’s definition after years of research  Stress is the nonspecific response of the body to any demand. even the pleasant one will elicit the same physiological reaction.

1984)  Stress is the result of an interaction between the person and the environment which forces on a person a demand. a constraint or an opportunity for behaviour. Monahan & Hekeler.1987) . internal demands or both tax or exceed the internal resources of the individual. (Bailey & Bhagat. (Farmer.What is stress?some definitions  Stress consists of any event in which the environmental demands. social system or tissue system.

Human beings differ in these inherent characteristics.Two analogies from Physics and Hooke’s Law Hooke’s law: 1.tensility. Load is the external force    Stress is the ratio of the external force (created by load) to the area over which the force is applied Strain is the resultant deformation in the object If metals breakdown under constant overload how about individuals? 2.strength.   If a certain amount of force is applied to an iron wire it remains unaffected-same amount of force if applied to silk thread it breaks Capacity of an object to withstand stress depends on the inherent characteristics: toughnesss. .

Important points  Both pleasant and unpleasant events can cause stress  Distress  Eustress  Both under or over stimulation may cause stress  Hypo  hyper  It is people’s perception that makes the event stressful  People differ in the ways they can take stress. .

.Some terms we will use…  The term stressors is used to denote events or properties of events (stimuli) that are encountered by individuals. strains and coping responses.  The term outcomes to denote the consequences of strain at both the individual and organizational level  the term stress to denote the overall process incorporating stressors.  The term strain is used to denote the individual's emotional. physiological and behavioural responses to stressors.


Sources of stress:stressors-1  Physiological  Intrapsychic-peculiar  Type A  Aggressively involved in personality related excessive anger or depression proneness.  Authoritarian personality  Irrational thinking a chronic incessant struggle to achieve more and more in less and less time and if needed against all odds .

etc • Daily hassles • Competition with colleagues • Dual careers • Transfer & relocation • Qualitative and quantitative work overload • Role related stressors • Decision making • Relationships within the organization • Power in relation to responsibility • Career development • Organizational interface with self and family • Stressors specific to working women .old age.Sources of stress:stressors-2 home Home-job interface work • Life cycle stressschool-retirement • Relocation due to any reason • Lifestyle stress • Major life stressmarriage.child birth. death of loved one.

Some stressors are pure examples of psychologically threatening events  They have the stress value not because of the objective ability to harm but because the person perceives them as threatening  Individuals differ in their ability to cope with perceived stressors  Since they are dependent on personal appraisal they are not equally threatening for all persons  The physiological systems used and affected by psychological stressors are the same as the ones affected by the physiological stressors .


dejection & pervasive pessimistic outlook . physiological arousal accompanying apprehension.bottle.Consequences of stress-1  Physiological  Hypertension-angina and heart attacks  Immune system -viral. rheumatoid arthritis. feelings of guilt & worthlessness. guilt and sense of impending disaster  Anger-express.distort  Depression-self devaluation.  Laughing. bonding improved the immunity  Emotional  Anxiety-unpleasant emotional state. writing.

Consequences of stress-2  Behavioural: on relationships  Arguments & fights over trivial matters  Overdependence  Uncommunicativeness  Unreasonableness  Withdrawal of love  Lack of interest in or over interest in sex  Cognitive  Greater attention on negative aspects of life  Inability to concentrate  Overemphasis on self than on the task  Problems of retrieval/recall from memory  Reduced response to incidental data  Narrowing span of attention .

commonly known as a heart attack. because the blood flow to the heart muscle is insufficient to provide the additional oxygen required.Heart Diseases  There are two main types of heart disease  angina pectoris. A heart attack results from a blockage of an artery supplying the heart with blood. usually after physical exertion. . commonly known as angina (less serious) it results in chest pains. A narrowed artery is more easily blocked by a deposit or blood clot.  and myocardial infarction.


Coping refers to behaviour by which an individual attempts to deal with stress and in the process is able to relieve himself of the ill effects of stressors. .

2. Avoidance : Emotion-focussed Problem is directly tackled 1. Binging Read more Collect more information Solves the problem Relieves anxiety.Coping strategies: functional/dysfunctional Approach: Problem.focussed 1. Worry 1-2 Important in initial stages and severe stress . fear. Turn to alcohol Have a brainstorming 4. Go off to sleep Take expert advice 3. Take leave on some pretext Call a meeting 2. Smoking/taking drugs session 5. 3. 6. 4. 5.

Costs & benefits Approach  Expensive in terms of time Avoidance  May seem to be less expensive and energy required  The net effective value is greater in terms of time and energy consumption initially but  May finally drain a person’s coping resources .

information and skills .What makes a person choose emotion focussed coping?  Low confidence  Low self efficacy  Lack of sufficient knowledge.

 AWARENESS of our bodily response and gradual control by moving to problem focussed coping is the answer to avoid frequent stimulation of the ANS  This leads to speedier return of the normal body equilibrium  Identify your Achilles heel .Stress reactivity  We may be remarkably resilient to stress and may be expert problem solvers and copers yet our physiological and psychological balance may end up being negatively impacted because of the automatic reactions which get triggered.

This avoids frustration Take a break for activities that one enjoys Companionship of persons /even pets Music Talking to a trusted person/counsellor /even writing helps Relaxation Exercises .Magic tips…  Identify factors that lie within one’s control      and those which are not so that the effort of the individual does not go waste.


Too little or too much stress is harmful An optimal level of stress (varies from individual to individual is good and necessary. . Facts 1.Myths and Facts about stress-1 Myths 1. 2. One must try to maximize eustress and minimize distress. Stress is always harmful to individuals. 2. Stress always results from unpleasant situations or experiences. Stress can be due to both types of events.

Stress is an inevitable part of life-manifested universally.Myths and Facts about stress-2 Myths 3.. 4. Even minor irritants or daily hassles can cause . 4. 5. A cumulative effect is similar in nature to that caused by major traumatic events. . Stress arises only from major events –pleasant or unpleasant. Stress is dependent on individual’s cognitive appraisal of events.Stress is a phenomenon of the western world. Events in themselves are either stressful or not so. Facts 3. 5.

Facts 6. Issues may be different. Stress does not affect people of young age. There are ways to counteract the debilitating effects of stress. 7. It tends to cut across all demographic variables. high socioeconomic strata. 7.Myths and Facts about stress-3 Myths 6.etc . All stress leads to diseases.

Kool. stress in Asia is on the rise and India ranks tenth on the list with a rating of 6.Reasons for more emphasis:  According to a report of PERC. 1993. Byrum Robinson. a Hong Kong based Consultancy. Cartwright a& Cooper. 2001  Legal battles and consequent compensation .1994  Studies in Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) clearly demonstrate that the immune system is affected by neural processes that in turn are influenced by mental processes.1 on a 10 point rating scale. 1997 and Lunde-Jensen.

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