Stress and Stress Management
Dear students we often
say “I am under stress ?”
or “ I feel stressed” why
do we say so ?
lets try to understand in today’s class what actually stress means and how
to manage it
What is Stress
The common expression for stress is ‘tension’ One is said to be tense, when there is some
anxiety, some fear of whether the desirable things may happen, whether something may go
wrong, etc. It is a state of discomfort felt in the mind and experienced by the body. When there is
tension, the body may become weak.
In management literature, ‘Stress’ is defined as a response of the human body to a felt need.
When one is hungry and there is an urge to eat food, the body is in a state of stress, which
disappears when the need is fulfilled. This definition suggests that stress is a desirable condition,
making one move towards fulfillment of needs. This is partly true. Stress occurs also when the
need arises out of fear and the urge is to run and escape. This may sometimes, be not possible.
In that case, there is no movement, the need remains unfulfilled and the stress condition does not
Stress is identified as of two kinds. One is called EuStress, which is the condition in which there is
drive and effort to fulfill the needs. Motivation is high. Achievement is seen as possible. The
situation is challenging. Stress disappears when the need is fulfilled. There is success. The other
is Distress, which is the condition when there is a sense of helplessness in being able to achieve.
The feeling is of frustration. There is no success. May be, there is no attempt even, because
success is seen as impossible. The stress condition remains.
If one were to chart the level of stress and the level of effort put in to work, it would be an inverted
parabola. EuStress would be in the ascending left side of the parabola. The challenge would be
maximum at the hump. The latter half on the right side represents Distress. The problems of
stress are caused by Distress, not by EuStress.
EuStress is necessary for the person to be fully alert, for all his faculties to come into play to face
the situation. For example, a goalkeeper in football or hockey, will be totally relaxed when the ball
is at the other end of the ground, but becomes extremely alert as the ball moved towards him. His
body stiffens, the eyes begin to bulge, focusing on the ball and the movement of the players,
picking up the slightest of movements and every nerve and muscle ready to respond to those
movements. That is EuStress, without which the goalkeeper cannot be at his best. So also,
Eustress is experienced by the batsman in cricket when the bowler is on the run, and by the
tennis player when the ball is about to be served at the other end.