Tuesday, July 11, 2006

stress management : Understanding Stress & Stress Management

This section of stress.mindtools.com helps you understand what stress is.

It defines stress and then explains the fundamental mechanisms behind it. Next, it shows you the effects that stress has on your health and on your performance. Finally, it introduces you to the different approaches to stress management used on this site.
This section helps you to understand the current state of research into stress. We look at this so that you understand how soundly some of these ideas have been examined.

It also introduces you to the fundamental principles behind stress management. While the techniques on this site cover the most common sources of stress, a good understanding of the fundamentals will help you to adapt these tools and create new ones to handle unique situations.

Explaining the fundamentals...

Much research has been conducted into stress over the last hundred years. Some of the theories are settled and accepted; others are still being researched and debated. This section helps you understand some of the key concepts and theories from current psychological research. These are the foundation on which this site and the tools and techniques within it have been designed.

We start by defining stress. We then look at the underlying mechanisms that cause it.

Stress and its impact on you...

Next, we look at the nature of stress and consider the relationships between stress and health, and between stress and work performance.

We see how stress can have very negative effects on your short- and long-term health, performance and career success, as well as on your personal happiness. This emphasizes the importance of good stress management.

Introducing stress management

Finally, we look at the three types of approach to managing stress:

action oriented (reducing stress by taking action);
perception oriented (dealing with attitudes and emotional responses to stress);
and survival oriented (living and coping with stresses that cannot be otherwise resolved).
The concepts introduced here lie behind the tools and techniques that you will encounter elsewhere on the site, helping you to manage stress constructively.

Note: This site focuses on the sort of stress people can expect to experience as a normal part of a business or public service career. It does not consider in any depth the intense stress experienced in life-threatening situations. Nor does it look at handling the effects of, for example, Depression or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. These are very real issues; however, they are outside the scope of this site.

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