Work-Related Stress and its Management
Peter S. Carlson
Dr. Peter H. Antoniou
December 6, 2012
This paper will discuss the topic of work-related stress and its management. It will present a general introduction or definition of stress and will discuss several subtopics related to work stress. This paper will present several subtopics including a model of stress known as the General Adaptation Syndrome, the causes of stress, the consequences of stress, and how to manage work-related stress. A solution for the problem of work-related stress will be presented. This paper will present a solution that entails how to cope with stress, and how to eliminate, or at least reduce, the amount of work-related stress. In general, this paper will present what stress is, what causes work-related stress, what the consequences of stress are, and how to deal with stress in the workplace.
Work-Related Stress and its Management
What is stress? Stress is generally defined as “an adaptive response to a situation that is perceived as challenging or threatening to the person’s well-being.” Stress is also a physiological and psychological condition that prepares an individual to adapt to an environment that is hostile or threatening. Although stress is usually thought of as a negative experience, there is actually another type of stress that is necessary and beneficial. So there are really two types of stress – distress and eustress. Distress is what is commonly known as a negative experience. It is the amount of difference between healthy and unhealthy physiological, psychological, and behavioral functioning. On the other hand, eustress activates and motivates an individual to accomplish and succeed in challenging goals in life. In other words, eustress is a necessary part of one’s life. For example, if an employee is working on an important and challenging project at work, he or she will certainly have some stress. However, this type of stress could be eustress. This employee is motivated to accomplish the goal and also realizes that the stakes are high. The pressure of getting the job done right and on time will cause this person to have eustress. This “good” type of stress will activate and motivate the employee to get the job done and do his or her best on it. In general, distress can be thought of as “bad stress” and eustress can be thought of as “good stress” (Glinow & McShane, 2012, p. 83-84). This paper will be discussing distress in the workplace and how to cope with it. Stress is a general term that could apply to other environments in life; however, this paper will focus on work-related stress or “occupational stress.”
An important model of stress that explains the stress experience in more detail is known as the General Adaptation Syndrome. Stress is how an individual responds to a stressor. A stressor is something real or imagined that causes stress (Wikipedia, 2012). Stressors can be physical or emotional events that are perceived as threatening to an individual (The Free Dictionary, 2008). Acute stressors affect someone in the short-term and chronic stressors affect someone in the long-term. The General Adaptation Syndrome is a model that explains the stress experience of an individual over a period of time. This model consists of three stages – Alarm, Resistance, and Exhaustion (the third stage could be Exhaustion or Recovery). The first stage, Alarm, consists of two phases – Shock Phase and Antishock Phase. In the Shock Phase, an event or situation occurs that shocks the individual. In the Antishock Phase, a person will respond to the stressor or threat once he or she realizes what the stressor is. In this phase, the person is in a state of alarm. The person’s level of resistance to this stressor drops below normal (Wikipedia, 2012). The immune system is also weakened in this stage which can make an individual more prone to sickness (The Free Dictionary, 2008). The second stage, Resistance, is...
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