Stress and stress management
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Stress is an ambiguous term which is used variously to describe the situation, object or person causing stress, the feelings and physical responses elicited in the individual, and the resultant outcomes, whether these are behavioural, cognitive or physiological (Hayward, 1998). It is perhaps useful here to distinguish between stressors, stress responses and stress which this deÞnition refers to. Stressors are the events that an individual perceives as endangering his or her physical or psychological well-being. They may be internal (e.g. pain), external (e.g. changes in the environment such as heat, crowding or noise) or social (e.g. delivering a speech). Stress responses refers to the reactions to such events and may include bodily changes that prepare for emergency (the Þght-or-ßight response) as well as such psychological reactions as anxiety, anger and aggression, apathy and depression, and cognitive impairment. Stress is a state that occurs when people encounter events that they perceive as endangering their
physical or psychological well-being. This may result, for example, when an individual feels that the demands placed upon them exceed their perceived ability to deal effectively with them. In summary, stress is a state caused by stressors, resulting in the production of stress responses designed to cope effectively with an unpleasant situation.