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Strategies for stress management in the organization

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Strategies for Managing Stress in the Workplace

Employees and managers of any organization experience stress. The stress and the problems for its management both in individual and organizational terms have become in recent years the subject of exceptional scientific and applied interest.

It is completely justified, especially given the wide range of possibilities of the methodological basis for research - the theory of mental stress. Work-related stress can result in many unpleasant forms, both for individuals and for the organization itself.

In this aspect, the study of stress in any organization is of mutual interest - and for those working in it, and for managing the processes in the organization, pursuing its high efficiency.

Strategies for Managing Stress in the Workplace: Cope with stress for managers

This topic is already present in all Western university textbooks in Organizational Behavior, Organizational Psychology, and Management. 

Stress is a problem of modern organizations

Stress became a problem for modern organizations in the 1980s. In the European requirements for work and work, organizational stress became an independent and significant social problem after 1992.

Organizational stress as a societal problem should be distinguished from other related concepts such as workplace harm and harmful working conditions. The topic of stress occupies an increasingly wide place in the research of many scientists.

To develop the problem of stress management, we need to make a brief retrospective of the problem of the nature of stress.

History of the term "stress"

The word "stress" means pressure, deformation, tension. This term was first used in psychology and medicine by the Canadian physician Hans Cellier in the mid-20th century. He talks about stress whenever the body responds to stimuli from the outside or inside with a reaction of activity.

Dr. Cellier deals primarily with the body's reactions or so-called biological stress. His research marked the beginning of the development of a problem that would gradually become an object of interest not only for medicine but also for psychology and sociology.

They became the basis for the further development of the theory of mental stress. To begin with, however, we will trace the problem of biological stress.

Biological stress

Of interest to us are the reactions of the organism when the conditions of its existence change. These reactions will further be related to mental stress. We will find that when we often get into conflicts daily, we work in conditions of time shortage, when we do not do our job successfully, when a loved one is ill, etc., the same reactions of the body appear, but their type and nature depends on the individual.

In one person they will be pronounced and disturbing, while in another they will be barely perceptible. Thus, Hans Cellier found that the factors that cause biological stress (stressors) are different, but the body responds uniformly to each of them.

Even in different people, the biological reaction is standard, ie. is not specific. This effort of the human body to adapt to constantly changing conditions, such as a sudden change in ambient temperature, cold, injury to the body, burns, frostbite, loss of large amounts of blood, situations requiring extreme physical exertion, etc. n., is nothing but a desire for adaptation, i.e. for survival and adequacy to the environment.

Namely, and this is what Celie calls the set of the observed uniform reactions of the organism "general adaptation syndrome", ie. the effort of the organism, as a whole, to adapt to the changing external conditions (Celie, 1982).

Celie finds that the body responds by activating the autonomic nervous system, increasing the work of endocrine glands, increasing heart rate, raising blood pressure, etc., which is a sign of the body's preparation to meet the challenges. These physiological reactions are present whenever the individual is exposed to such influences.

The body's stress response is important

The body's stress response is something useful and vital. Nature created man in such a way that it endowed him with the ability to survive abrupt changes in the natural environment in which he exists. In the Stone Age, when the achievements of civilization were imminent, and primitive man was daily exposed to the danger of being attacked by animals or the like, of injuring himself, of starving, of freezing, or of being exposed to very high temperatures, and so on. , his body has automatically adapted to all these stimuli.

The reaction to any of these stimuli was the same. It was determined by the peculiarities of the mechanism that controls and regulates the body's processes. This mechanism is the autonomic nervous system. It is outside the central nervous system and consists of two functionally separated parts called the sympathetic and parasympathetic (vagus).

Activation of the sympathetic nervous system is associated with the activity of the individual and leads to increased metabolism. The frequency and strength of contraction of the heart muscle increases, the amount of blood sent to the internal organs increases.

The irrigation of the working skeletal muscles and the heart muscle increases and the irrigation of the digestive organs decreases. The bronchi dilate to increase oxygen flow. Increases the secretion of sweat glands. The pupils dilate.

The activity of the gastrointestinal tract is greatly reduced. When the parasympathetic nerve is activated, the overall metabolism decreases, the frequency, and strength of the heart contraction decrease, respectively the amount of transported blood decreases. The bronchi contract.

Only the activity of the pancreas increases, the gastrointestinal tract is activated. Cellier's theory is not accepted unanimously in the scientific community because it takes into account only biological factors, without paying attention to mental processes. R. Lazarus changes the approach to stress analysis.

If Cellier, in developing the "general adaptation syndrome," focuses on the nonspecificity of reactions, Lazarus proves that mixing physiological and mental levels leads to a misunderstanding of stress.

The same physiological reaction can occur both in connection with the physiological impact of the body and in connection with the impact of psychological factors, such as the loss of a loved one, conflicts in the family and at work, etc. in this sense, mental stress does not always lead to expected reactions.

In this theory, stress is studied in the context of a two-way, dynamic, ever-changing interaction between the individual and the environment (Lazarus, 1966; Lazarus, 1991). 

Mental stress

The system-forming factor in the study of mental stress is the subjective assessment of the degree of the extremity of the situation and the ability of the individual to cope with it.

Lazarus views assessment as a cognitive mediator of the stress response that mediates the requirements of the environment and the hierarchy of the individual (Lazaras, 1970). or if the individual assesses that a certain situation is dangerous for him and he does not have the opportunity to cope with it, a physiological and mental reaction, defined as mental stress, occurs.

The physiological components of this reaction are the same as in the biological stress described by Cellier. The mental components of this reaction are associated with the appearance of anxiety, worry, depressive experiences, loneliness, and more. how a situation is assessed and the own resources for dealing with it are significantly influenced by personal characteristics, the most important being the individual experience in dealing with such situations.

If we want to rationalize the explanation of mental stress and the resulting changes in the body, we can say that when a person is under the influence of strong emotional stimuli, the primitive mechanism in the human body is activated.

The organism prepares for survival, although nothing threatens it directly. Physical activity is the most direct way to deal with the effects of mental stress.

An essential point in the theory of mental stress is the problem of the process of coping with stress. Coping is defined as cognitive and behavioral efforts to minimize the negative consequences for the individual and manage the inconsistencies of the relationship "person-environment". coping is about effort, not an outcome.

In this regard, in recent years, the classifications of coping models have increasingly relied on the classification given by Lazarus and my collaborators (Lazarus and Folkman 1984). They define stress management strategies as:

Problem-focused coping with stress

These are active strategies for dealing with stress. They are aimed at seeking information about the problem, planning actions and activities to achieve a positive result.

This type of coping is successful in assessing the situation as controllable. If the situation is perceived and assessed as uncontrollable, the second type of coping is usually present.

Emotion-focused coping with stress

These are passive strategies for dealing with stress. Efforts are focused on controlling emotions - escape in the realm of fantasy, distancing oneself from the situation, emphasizing the positive (seeking positive meaning in the situation), unloading (reducing tension by expressing emotions, use of alcohol, cigarettes, etc., physical exercises, autogenic training, meditation, etc.), self-isolation, self-blame. Read more: Emotions management

Mixed methods

It is also possible to deal with stress in a mixed way, focusing on both the problem and the emotion. This strategy is linked to the search for social support.

Model of J. Ivankevich and M. Matson on work stress

To clarify the interaction between the work environment and man, we will use suggestions from J. Ivancevich and M. Matson's model of work stress.

The proposed model shows the relationship between stressors, stress, and its consequences as an impact on work efficiency and mental comfort of individuals.

In the current model, 4 categories of stressors are considered, ie, factors that cause mental stress in organizations:

Physical environmental stressors: light, noise, temperature, polluted air, climatic features, physical fields.

Individual stressors

Role conflicts - the incompatibility between the various roles that a person has - the role assigned to the organization and the role outside it;

Role uncertainty and ambiguity - occurs in case of insufficient experience or case of ambiguity resulting from the inconsistency of role requirements coming from different sources;

Workload - quantitative or classification; the quantitative overload concerns the situations in which many actions have to be performed, and the qualification overload - the situations in which insufficient competence to deal with the obligations is assessed;

Responsibility for people.

Group stressors

Group stressors are disturbed relationships in the group in which the individual functions in the organization. It is believed and proven in many empirical studies that good relationships in the working group are a key prerequisite for human well-being and high productivity (Cooper, 1973).

V. Iliev connects the good relations in the cadet divisions with the higher mental readiness for flying activity in the cadets. Among the preconditions for disrupting the relations in the working group are the misunderstandings regarding the status levels and the role obligations.

Organizational stressors

Organizational stressors are insufficient participation or respect for the opinion of the individual in making organizational decisions or the need to constantly make decisions; characteristic organizational structure.

Some studies show that job dissatisfaction and stress are at significantly higher levels, and coping with work is at a lower level than bureaucratic, inflexible organizations, while in lighter, flexible organizations there is an opposite trend (Donnelly, J. H., & Ivancevich, J. M, 1975).

The negative consequences of work stress, when it is not properly managed, in the proposed model are classified according to the idea of ​​Cox (Cox 1978).

Subjective effects - anxiety, aggression, apathy, loneliness, depression, fatigue, low self-esteem, irritability.

Behavioral effects - alcoholism, drug abuse, emotional irritability, overeating, increasing smoking, impulsive behavior.

Cognitive effects - inability to make decisions, low concentration, hypersensitivity to criticism, mental blockage.

Physiological and health effects - increase in blood sugar, increase in heart rate and blood pressure, dry mouth, sweating, dilation of the pupils, hot and cold waves, heart attacks, constipation, disorder, and more.

Organizational effects - low productivity, dissatisfaction with work, reduced organizational loyalty and performance, alienation of individuals from each other in the workgroup, delays in work, absence from work.

The consequences of work stress

Ivankevich and Matson emphasize that when examining the consequences of work stress, we must keep in mind the following points:

There is a connection between stressors at work and the physiological, mental, and emotional changes in the individual.

Response to stressors can be measured through self-assessment, performance appraisal, and biochemical tests.

There is no universal list of stressors. Each organization has its own, unique chain of such.

Individual differences are those that explain why some stressors unbalance one individual while challenging another.

A significant place in the proposed model is occupied by the moderators of the relationship between stressors and the consequences of work stress. A moderator is a condition or characteristic that qualifies the relationship between two variables. The effect can be to strengthen or weaken the connection. The main characteristic of the variables serving as moderators is their function as homogenizers of a set, by forming homogeneous subgroups.

Predicting the behavior of individuals in the subgroup

The psychological homogeneity of the individuals in a certain subgroup is greater than the homogeneity of the whole population. This allows easier prediction of the behavior of individuals in the subgroup.

All mental, physiological and demographic features that are known to have a homogenizing effect can be used as variable moderators. In the proposed model 2 groups of moderators are considered.

The first concerns demographic characteristics, such as gender, age, education, health status. The second group of moderators is cognitive-effective. These include social support, type A behavior, and important life changes.

The concept of social support has been introduced in psychology, sociology, and medicine in recent years in connection with the developed theory of stress and overcoming stressful effects of a social nature. It expresses the observed connection between stressful situations, social relationships, mental health, physical health of the people involved in them.

Relationship between social cohesion and adaptation to the environment

Research conducted in different environments - schools, barracks, etc., shows a positive relationship between social cohesion and adaptation to the environment. It is these relationships that reduce stress and contribute to the mental well-being of individuals, in psychology is defined as "social support".

Social support does not work by itself, but depends on its adequate perception by individuals, ie. its impact is mediated by individual characteristics. Emotional support. Includes expression of concern, sympathy, empathy.

This type of support is considered to be central to others and has the strongest impact on people's mental well-being and physical health. Information support.

Defined as support through management. It is the provision of timely information and advice to the environment and oneself, in which the individual can make better decisions and be more appropriate to the situation.

Susceptibility to stress from humans

In the 1950s, medical researchers M. Friedman and R. Rosenman discovered that there was a significant relationship between behavioral characteristics and cardiovascular disease.

They describe a behavioral form that they call "type A behavior," which is highly stress-related and related to people's susceptibility to stress.

By "type A behavior" they mean a behavioral-emotional complex that is observed in people who are aggressively involved in a constant struggle for more and more achievements in a shorter time, regardless of other people's resistance and obstacles.

People with such a behavioral complex are characterized as follows:

  • They are in a state of chronic struggle, striving to achieve as many things as possible in a very short time;
  • They show aggression, impatience, fighting spirit, competitiveness, strong incentive to compete;
  • They speak harshly and explosively, they are impatient in the face of impending events;
  • When they have managerial functions, they constantly put pressure on their subordinates;
  • They are impatient, they hate waiting;
  • They rarely find time to rest;
  • They self-assess by the number of achievements;

The importance of managers' evaluation

Usually, they need to evaluate their superiors, not their colleagues. Criticism of managers is particularly painful.

The opposite type A behavioral complex is type B behavior. People with "type B behavior" are exempt from the characteristics of "type A behavior."

They have a healthy balance between personal ambitions and the reaction to public expectations and demands. Important life changes in an individual plan are related to the loss of a loved one, the change in family status, change of job, change of home, etc. In such events, a person becomes more vulnerable to stress.

As a reaction caused by the perceived and assessed imbalance between the requirements of the situation and the ability to respond to these requirements, stress can be functional and dysfunctional. Given that the perceived requirements are far below the capabilities of the individual, stress does not arise.

Moreover, the accepted requirements may not be a sufficient incentive to achieve an appropriate achievement of the activity.

Given the accepted requirements, moderately exceeding the assessed capabilities of the individual, this imbalance can serve as a motive for increasing the activity, to mobilize additional psychophysiological resources in meeting the challenges. In this situation, stress is functional.

An imbalance between the requirements of the situation and the capabilities of the individual

However, when the perceived imbalance between the requirements of the situation and the capabilities of the individual is so great that the individual sees a threat to his physical health or mental harm, the resulting stress is dysfunctional.

The negative consequences of work stress are the symptoms that can be used to judge the nature of the individual response. In this regard, the purpose of stress management is to use it as a natural and productive force.

The task of stress management is, depending on the situation, to create conditions for its manipulation to those levels that are functional for individuals and help to increase the efficiency of their activities, without any psychophysiological damage to them. In this regard, 3 states of the problem are possible.

First, given that stress is functional, stress management involves activities to channel activity to increase achievement.

Second, given that stress is dysfunctional, stress management involves efforts to reduce it to a level that is tolerated by individuals.

Third, given that the abilities of individuals exceed the requirements of the situation, the task may be related to increasing the level of stress to the point where the desired achievement of the activity will be obtained (Prince II 1985).

The place of stress in organizational life

Stress is a psychological concept that describes a person's condition when he is under pressure. Stress is a person's reaction to a critical situation. Several factors make stress possible in an organization. 

They could be grouped as follows:

Factors related to the work environment, power relations, and communication in an organizational context;

Factors arising from individual differences between people working together in groups and organizations. 

The importance and relative weight of work and organizations as a stressor

The importance and relative weight of work and organizations as a stressor is constantly increasing. Personal and psychological causes as a source of stress today recede into the background. New advanced technologies, new management initiatives, total quality management, etc. Industrial factors and organizational reasons greatly increase the stress of work.

The social dependence of stress has become so great, especially in developed countries, that legal and social institutions are forced to update labor legislation. In the laws and regulations of some countries, the legal term "workplace stress" appears, analogous to the more common concept of harmful work.

Stress in an organizational and traditional environment. Stress is an inevitable moment and a natural product of the interaction of every healthy and mature person with the work environment. Stress is a means of dealing with uncertainty and risk.

Both characteristics are natural social characteristics inherent in the enterprise and organizations to a greater extent than in the household, family, and informal groups. Stress in the organizational and work environment has some independent and extreme forms of manifestation such as the so-called. the phenomenon of "burnout".

The phenomenon: "burnout" occurs after prolonged exposure to stressors. It occurs when the following set of symptoms coexists:

  • Prolonged action of stressors;
  • Emotional exhaustion and loss of interest in work;
  • Feeling helpless and powerless to change anything in your work;
  • Depersonalization and frustration.

Professional burnout

Stress in the form of burnout is a reaction in people who until recently valued their work very highly. Banrout is present when the individual feels closed in his organizational and professional role as trapped.

Burnout stress is most common in large bureaucratic organizations. It is typical of people who think they can't change anything in the organization. It is also typical for people who are not competent enough for a certain type of activity.

Burnout is more common in organizations that do not have mechanisms in place to promote the best employees. In organizational behavior today are analyzed specifically the so-called. "Burnout professions". In them, the phenomenon occurs much more often than the others.

They often coincide with the so-called risky professions. Burning professions are medicine, brokerage, the profession of financial analysts, pilots, and air traffic controllers. The main causes of organizational stress are rooted in the fact that organizational behavior is role behavior. Man is a performer of a certain social role, ie. of a system of certain expectations of others to him.

Stress is caused by some manifestations of role incompatibility. The incompatibility between the roles can be resolved positively or negatively depending on the person's personal qualities. A social role could become a source of stress in different ways. Each of them determines the uniqueness of the specific type of organizational stress.

The dichotomy of roles is the first most common mechanism. A dichotomy of roles is evident when one cannot assert the following judgments about oneself:

  • "I can predict what others will expect from me tomorrow"
  • "I am aware of what is required and expected of my work"
  • "There are procedures in my work to deal with any emergency"
  • "I have enough information to work in the best way I can."

Role duality

Role duality is exacerbated by the increasing uncertainty of work and the "blurring" of work responsibilities. It increases in terms of teamwork, which increases the need to develop special qualities and habits for teamwork.

The second mechanism by which organizational stress arises is the change of roles. This is the most common case when starting a new job. To avoid and reduce stress in such cases, it is important to get to know, introduce to the organization and gradually take on a new role.

The vague new environment causes some people more stress and even more trauma than others. Studies show that about 30-40% of employees are stressed when changing roles. In organizational behavior, the term predisposition to role innovation has recently become necessary to compare the behavior of individuals when changing roles.

Combining the role of the person in the organization with external roles is in itself a source of stress. Roles that are related to activities on behalf of the organization and their presentation to the outside world have a higher level of potential stress.

The roles performed constantly in changing external conditions are of the highest degree of stress. Third, the mechanisms of stress are manifested in role conflict. It usually arises as an extreme incompatibility between the expectations and requirements of the role in the organization and the family and private life.

Role conflicts in employees

Organizational behavior assumes that the employee is in a situation of role conflict, which can be a source of stress if he responds with "I completely agree" or "I completely disagree" to the following statements:

  • "My work and my family are two completely separate areas"
  • "What they demand of me at work and what they demand of me in the family are two very different things."
  • "My family expects things from me that differ from my understanding."

These and other similar questions in the studies are designed to clarify the degree of interpenetration between roles. The lack of such mutual penetration is a sign of role conflict. Read more: Conflict management.

In any organization, the most common stressors are related to the characteristics of the situation, which are decisive in the decision-making process. Among these stressors in organizational decision making are the following:

  • Pressure time lack of time and congestion;
  • The peculiarities of the formal and informal power relations in the organization, ie. insufficient power combined with the responsibilities that the individual has;
  • The type of organizational culture with its characteristic elements.

The stress of making a decision

Decision-making stress is a characteristic form of managerial stress. The first special studies of managerial stress began in the last few years. According to them, this manifestation of stress in decision-making has the following characteristic features in behavior:

  • Definiteness of thinking;
  • Feeling of lack of a proper solution to the problem and showing this feeling;
  • Misinterpretation of new information;
  • Tendency to make an instant decision without sufficient consideration and to prefer such a decision if there is another possibility.

Coping with organizational stress

Coping with organizational stress is possible through managerial influence and personal self-management and self-improvement.

To realize them, it is necessary to know those personal factors on which coping with stress depends. In general, the difference between people regarding stress is expressed through the concept of the so-called. stress thresholds. It is a subjective characteristic that describes the threshold of individual sensitivity to stressors.

People have different internal resources to deal with stressful situations. The stress threshold depends primarily on the following personal factors: temperament, self-esteem, experience, individual differences, etc. A very important factor related to the behavior of stress, the locus of control. The internal locus of control is a stressor.

The attitude to stress is related to the theory of distinguishing the so-called. type A and type B individuals. Recently, various strategies for dealing with stress have been proposed, which are part of the so-called stress management. These strategies are based on the following 3:

  • Avoidance
  • Escape
  • Adaptation.

The organization must help employees

The organization could help its members cope with stress by paying attention to the development of the communication skills of managers. Read more: Attitude management.

Second, there are administrative approaches to mitigating stressors that are related to how organizational positions are designed. Finally, the organization could apply various social support techniques to people in positions who are deprived of opportunities for full social contact.

They look for ways to balance communication in the workplace and in leisure time. The purpose of the various strategies for dealing with stress could be formulated as follows:

  • Self-harmonization
  • Social integration
  • Ability to meet the changes and requirements of everyday life.

Three stress management strategies for managers

People fall into organizational stress not because of what they do, but because of what they don't do and just think about it. The essence of stress reactions shows that managers have 3 options for stress management strategies.

The first concerns the manipulation of the accepted and current requirements of the environment.

The second concerns actions to alleviate the dysfunctional responses to stress in subordinates.

The third possibility is related to the assessment and subsequent results of the perceived and current capabilities of subordinates.

The stress management procedure begins when the manager assesses that the individual level of stress is not at the optimal point. Stress management can also rely on the individual capabilities of subordinates - perceived and current ones, to perform specific tasks.

Strategies are aimed at changing their capabilities through training, qualification, and training or improving self-confidence in the process of performing tasks.

The use of these strategies requires from the manager a clear idea of ​​the current capabilities of subordinates, an idea of ​​the capabilities needed to perform the specific task, and the mismatch that exists between them.

His actions are aimed at correcting the possibilities in the direction necessary for the purpose. This is done through courses, training, retraining, etc. in carrying out these actions, the manager should answer at least the following 3 questions:

  • Do subordinates have the necessary skills and individual abilities to respond to the requirements of the specific situation?
  • How realistic is the relationship between the training situation and what the individual employee will encounter in the real situation?
  • Is there another way to complete the tasks and achieve similar results?

Strategy for changing personal perception

An essential strategy for changing the personal perception of personal opportunities to respond to the situation is the individual work with each subordinate. This is the most difficult but most fruitful strategy.

This approach does not necessarily lead to a change in the current capabilities of subordinates but reduces the level of stress since there is a more realistic assessment of their capabilities, which increases the willingness to act in the specific situation.

Managers can indirectly influence individual opportunities to meet the requirements of a variety of tasks by focusing on physical health. Medical research is clear, a healthy person can better meet the physiological and mental effects of stress than an unhealthy one.

The concept of a healthy body as a stress balance is not, and many organizations implement programs to improve the physical health of the people who work in them. The emphasis on physical training in organizations where stressful situations are expected is fully justified and helps to better meet the challenges.

Managers should help to improve the conditions and manner of conducting physical training in these organizations.

The manager must help his subordinates to manage individual stress responses

To maintain the required level of achievement from subordinates, the manager must be willing to help his subordinates manage individual stress responses appropriately to overcome inappropriate behavioral, physiological, and psychological responses. Inappropriate coping with stress and behaviors related to avoiding certain actions are observed by the manager. Read more: Manager or Leader: What are the differences and similarities

On this basis, he is able through a system of incentives and coercion to regulate the behavior of subordinates. Ie managers serve as a link in the feedback of each individual regarding the expected behavior.

A possible approach to changing the behavior of subordinates is the personal example of managers. The use of a psychorelaxation technique can make a significant contribution to coping with dysfunctional stress. These include meditation, autogenic training, music therapy, sports, and more.

The meaning of using these techniques is that it reduces the excitement in the brain, respectively - anxiety as a mental factor. In case of severe signs of high anxiety or depression, the manager should seek professional help from psychologists and psychiatrists.

In emergencies, when intolerable levels of stress are perceived, debriefing is essential to preserve people's mental health. It is a supportive, individualized, psychologically protective process of communication between individuals in a small group with a group leader, which provides clarity and comprehensive expression of individuals' experiences of the disaster.


The debriefing is usually conducted by the immediate supervisor with the help of a psychologist as soon as possible, immediately after the event. Such an approach helps individuals develop the ability to deal with the consequences of a situation.

The aim is to reconstruct what happened to conclude the future work of the group in the direction of increasing its effectiveness. At the same time, the accumulated emotions and internal conflicts, both group and individual, must be released.

After the debriefing, the feeling of anger and mistrust generally disappears because the individual member of the group hears others thinking about what happened. Questionnaires disappear, everything becomes clear, and with them, anxiety, self-blame, and inferior experiences disappear.

One of the strategies that are always in sight for managers is social support. People reduce their current level of stress when they receive social support. This technique is especially important and vital in the period of the initial organizational socialization of employees.

The power of social support as a buffer against stress has been proven in local military conflicts in recent years. Social support is of particular scientific interest for many researchers in the field of military psychology. 


Optimism ensures a happy existence and long life. In one study, one hundred healthy young men were divided into pessimists and optimists based on the answers they filled out in a questionnaire. Their health was monitored for the next two decades.

At about age 45, most pessimists showed signs of chronic illness, including heart attacks and arthritis. At the same age, optimists suffered much less from these health problems and remained in better health in their later years. An optimistic outlook can help you regain your health, even if you suffer from a serious illness.


These findings do not deny the vital role of pessimism. When adequate, pessimism can help you reduce stress and avoid costly mistakes, as pessimists are often more able than optimists to look at reality clearly and directly.

If the cost of a failure can be significant, such as the decision to say or do something that can ruin an important relationship, a good strategy is to switch to a pessimistic wave, considering the worst possible outcome.

Self-blame for failure

When things are not going well and your explanations of the reasons are not limited to the specific situation, you blame yourself and perceive each failure as another in a chronicle of obstacles, your point of view is overly pessimistic and your stress level is likely to remain high. Pessimism, a major source of over-stress, arises from irrational thinking.

To control stress and make sure that critical situations can be managed through positive behavior, change your attitude towards the way you look at unexpected obstacles, mistakes, and disappointments. Don't fall victim to your biography.

The history of past obstacles should not predetermine future failures - it is up to you not to allow it. Examine each situation as objectively as possible, preferably when you feel rested and relaxed. Look for rational and optimistic explanations.

Setting clearly defined goals

Setting clearly defined goals turns out to be useful. When you have to deal with unexpected things or find yourself in an extreme situation, it becomes much easier to decide which of your other responsibilities you could immediately reject, postpone or prefer.

Sometimes we are to blame for our mental chatter: we undermine our self-confidence and our self-esteem by engaging in internal conversations focused solely on our mistakes. By doing so, we significantly increase stress.

Even people who look confident and relaxed can suffer from high levels of stress from anxiety. Such worries may be constantly swirling in your head or suddenly coming to mind - usually in the early hours of the day - making you feel scared and depressed.

All stressful events provoke a reaction from the affected person. This is usually a feeling of insecurity, expressed in nervousness, depression, hopelessness, helplessness.

These sensations increase or decrease depending on a person's ability to cope with them. We do not differ in the causes of stress, but in the way, we react to them and the ability to cope and overcome them.

Positive aspects of stress

Most of us try to avoid stress, but there are quite a few people who are happy to look for the challenges of the environment. They gladly accept the confrontation and cope well with stressful situations in everyday life. In his book Stress Without Distress, Hans Cellier, an endocrinologist who developed the theory of stress, proves these potentially positive aspects of stress.

Cellie distinguishes between stress and the failure of intentions and hopes, followed by the collapse (psychophysiological) of the individual, which is painful, and other types of stress, such as environmental challenges.

The excitement that stress brings us makes our deeds and lives more interesting, successes no more desirable and joyful. Stress is necessary, but not so great, to cause distress.

Imagine an exam in which some of the students submit their exam papers early. If we have tested students on how they feel about stress in stressful situations, we will see that those with a test covering a high degree of tension and anxiety, in this case, experience the event painful.

They have not finished their exams yet and seeing that some are already finished, they start blaming themselves that they are not ready yet: “I don't understand this problem! I will never finish on time! How did they end up? ”

These are the most common self-accusations, which further increase nervousness and anxiety. In contrast, students with a measured low rate of anxiety and nervousness pay little attention to who submitted their exam papers when.

They usually say to themselves, "Anyone who finished so early probably didn't deal with the problems."

And in most cases they are right. In both the cases described, with the speakers and with the students, the attention is focused on one's personality and the situation that everyone is facing is personalized.

Naturally, these are individuals who have shown high levels of nervousness and tension during pre-testing.

Other people try to resolve the situation in the best possible way for them, judging what happened more objectively.

Another factor influencing the process of coping with stress

Another important factor influencing the process of coping with stress is the nature, amount, and timing of the available information. Particularly suitable for characterizing the importance of this factor is the saying: "He who is warned is armed."

The information is like a guide that gives passengers an idea of ​​what to expect. The more information we have about the nature of the stressful situation: when it will occur, how long it will last, what are the preliminary symptoms, etc.; the more likely we are to find ways and means to prevent or reduce the consequences. Accurate determination of the occurrence of a stressful situation contributes especially much to the emotional state of an individual.

The more accurate his predictions, the less likely he is to be stressed or succumb to unnecessary feelings.

For example, the training of astronauts includes training for actions according to a preliminary plan in the event of all possible extreme situations. In this way, each of the emergencies is reduced in the performance of routine operations. Stress most often occurs when there are no preconceived thought structures or action plans.


Stress is a concept that describes the mental state of a person formed as a result of all kinds of pressure to which life puts him. The concept of stress is a terminology introduced by Hans Cellier and has already received sufficient attention and development in the literature.

The presence of stress is practically inevitable in any work environment and many of its elements are a natural product of the interaction of a healthy human personality with the environment. However, in their extreme forms, described in the specialized literature as "distress", this phenomenon leads to the accumulation of tension and to more or less damage in the emotional and mental sphere and even in the physiology of the individual.

There is usually more than one cause of stress, but many studies prioritize "rupture," the role incompatibility between work life and the rest of a person's life. Stress management in the organization is an element of the management process.

This is a problem that directly corresponds to the effectiveness of people's activities on the one hand, and the other hand to their health and well-being as individuals. Closing one's eyes to this problem is nothing but a sign of low management culture and questionable morals. The fastest way to reduce stress is to change your attitude towards the current stressful situation.

As the Roman author, Epictetus says: "Man is upset not by things themselves, but by his point of view about them." Shakespeare paraphrased this sentence in Hamlet's words: "There is nothing, good or bad, that has not been made by our thinking."

Philosophers and physiologists have agreed for centuries that more often than not, our perception of events, rather than the events themselves, causes excessive stress.

One of the most popular tips is: "Relax. Be calm. Do not worry." This is often easier said than done. Many people complain that they do not know how to relax. The word "workaholics" may be a good way to describe this type - they are so absorbed in their work that even their vacations are stressful.

Relaxation of the mind is a key element of the process of physical relaxation. Some of us relax through strength training, others through active hobbies, and still others through meditation or active relaxation exercises.

Questions and Answers

Q1: Why is stress management important in the organization?

A1: Stress management is essential in the organization because prolonged and unmanaged stress can have detrimental effects on employees' physical and mental health, leading to decreased productivity, increased absenteeism, and higher turnover rates. By prioritizing stress management, organizations can create a healthier and more supportive work environment, enhancing employee well-being and overall organizational performance.

Q2: What are common sources of stress in the workplace?

A2: Common sources of stress in the workplace include heavy workloads, tight deadlines, excessive responsibilities, unclear expectations, lack of control over one's work, conflicting demands, interpersonal conflicts, role ambiguity, and fear of job insecurity.

Q3: How can organizations create a stress-aware culture?

A3: Organizations can create a stress-aware culture by fostering open communication and encouraging employees to share their stress-related concerns without fear of judgment. Providing training and workshops on stress management techniques can help employees identify and cope with stress effectively. Additionally, promoting work-life balance and offering resources like counseling services can contribute to a stress-aware and supportive work culture.

Q4: What role does leadership play in stress management?

A4: Leadership plays a critical role in stress management. Supportive and empathetic leaders who lead by example can reduce stress levels by providing clear expectations, recognizing and appreciating employee efforts, and offering assistance when employees face challenges. Transparent communication about organizational changes and involving employees in decision-making processes can also alleviate stress caused by uncertainty.

Q5: What are proactive strategies for stress prevention?

A5: Proactive stress prevention strategies involve addressing stress triggers before they escalate. Conducting regular workload assessments to ensure reasonable demands on employees, providing adequate resources and support to handle job demands, and offering stress management training can help prevent stress from reaching unhealthy levels.

Q6: How can organizations support employees in dealing with stress?

A6: Organizations can support employees in dealing with stress by offering flexible work arrangements, such as remote work or flexible hours, to facilitate better work-life balance. Providing access to wellness programs, such as yoga or meditation classes, promoting physical activities, and encouraging regular breaks can also help employees manage stress more effectively.

Q7: What are effective stress reduction techniques for employees?

A7: Effective stress reduction techniques for employees include mindfulness and meditation exercises to promote relaxation, deep breathing exercises to manage stress responses, engaging in physical activities like yoga or exercise to release tension, pursuing hobbies or creative outlets as a form of stress relief, and seeking social support from colleagues and friends to share and cope with stressors.

Q8: How can teams collaborate to manage stress collectively?

A8: Teams can collaborate to manage stress collectively by fostering open communication and creating a supportive atmosphere where team members can express their stressors and challenges. Distributing tasks and sharing responsibilities can prevent individual overload, and team members can provide assistance and support to each other during high-pressure periods.

Q9: How can organizations measure the effectiveness of stress management strategies?

A9: Organizations can measure the effectiveness of stress management strategies through various means. Employee surveys and feedback sessions can gauge employees' perceptions of stress levels and their experiences with stress management initiatives. Tracking absenteeism rates and productivity levels can also provide insights into the impact of stress management efforts. Additionally, conducting focus groups or one-on-one interviews with employees can offer qualitative feedback on the effectiveness of implemented strategies.

Q10: What are the long-term benefits of effective stress management in the organization?

A10: The long-term benefits of effective stress management in the organization are numerous. It can lead to improved employee well-being and job satisfaction, resulting in higher retention rates and lower turnover. Reduced stress levels can enhance overall productivity and performance, leading to increased efficiency and effectiveness. Moreover, fostering a stress-aware and supportive work culture can contribute to a positive organizational climate and reputation, attracting and retaining top talent.

About the author

Charlotte Bergeron, Writer at Business Value-Oriented Principles

Charlotte Bergeron is a lecturer in organizational management and has more than 15 years of management experience in private organizations. Dr. Charlotte Bergeron studies the behavioral characteristics of employees and managers in organizations.

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