Stress is the mental strain that comes from our conflict
with the external environment which can lead to either physical or mental
pressures or both. Being in a society where everything is so fast-paced, we
already are stressed by having to keep up with the pace we are living in. However,
not all stress is bad, but we have to differentiate the good stress from the
Stress refers to the strain from the conflict between our external
environment and us, leading to emotional and physical pressure. In our fast
paced world, it is impossible to live without stress, whether you are a student
or a working adult. There is both positive and negative stress, depending on
each individuals unique perception of the tension between the two forces. Not
all stress is bad. For example, positive stress, also known as eustress, can
help an individual to function at optimal effectiveness and efficiency.
Hence, it is evident that some form of positive stress can
add more color and vibrancy to our lives. The presence of a deadline, for
example, can push us to make the most of our time and produce greater efficiency.
It is important to keep this in mind, as stress management refers to using
stress to our advantage, and not on eradicating the presence of stress in our
On the other hand, negative stress can result in mental and
physical strain. The individual will experience symptoms such as tensions,
headaches, irritability and in extreme cases, heart palpitations. Hence, whilst
some stress may be seen as a motivating force, it is important to manage stress
levels so that it does not have an adverse impact on your health and
Part of managing your stress levels include learning about
how stress can affect you emotionally and physically, as well as how to
identify if you are performing at your optimal stress level (OSL) or if you are
experiencing negative stress. This knowledge will help you to identify when you
need to take a break, or perhaps seek professional help. It is also your first
step towards developing techniques to managing your stress levels.
Modern day stresses can take the form of monetary needs, or
emotional frictions. Competition at work and an increased workload can also
cause greater levels of stress. How do you identify if you are suffering from
excessive stress? Psychological symptoms commonly experienced include insomnia,
headaches and an inability to focus. Physical symptoms take the form of heart
palpitations, breathlessness, excessive sweating and stomachaches.
What causes stress? There are many different causes of
stress, and that which causes stress is also known as a stressor. Common
lifestyle stressors include performance, threat, and bereavement stressors, to
name a few. Performance stressors are triggered when an individual is placed in
a situation where he feels a need to excel. This could be during performance appraisals,
lunch with the boss, or giving a speech. Threat stressors are usually when the
current situation poses a dangerous threat, such as an economic downturn, or
from an accident. Lastly, bereavement stressors occur when there is a sense of
loss such as the death of a loved one, or a prized possession.
Thus, there are various stressors, and even more varied
methods and techniques of dealing with stress and turning it to our advantages.
In order to do so, we must learn to tell when we have crossed the line from
positive to negative stress.