Mrs Francoise LOTERY
DipM, D.Hyp, MNCH (Acc), MASC (Ad.Psy.), MASC (NLP), BSY (Sp.Psy), UKCHO Reg,

What is Hypnosis ? A Brief History What is Stress ? FAQs Life Coaching

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     Tranquility, click to view larger copy

  • What is Stress ?

    The word "stress" has become a household word and thankfully there is now more awareness and understanding of its impact on our lives.

    Stress is " a feeling of tension or pressure experienced when an individual feels that the DEMANDS placed on them exceed the RESOURCES the individual has personally to meet them " (Peter Goodwin, ASM, 1992).
    Demands or stressors are factors we perceive to cause us stress: events, situations and/or people.
    Demands can be
    internal: our own needs, expectations, standards and past history
    and/or
    external: others people's needs and expectations, changes and events that can affect our lives.
    Resources can be
    internal: our abilities, skills, knowledge, experience and values
    and/or
    external: partners, friends, family, money or anything we might need to meet demands (any material or equipment).

    We cope with stress through actions and thoughts, chronic stress sets in when we feel that our resources are inadequate to meet the demands we are constantly faced with.
    Although stressors are real in everyday life for all of us, the stress we feel as a result depends, to a large extent, on our perception of the demands and our abilities to cope.
    When faced with the same stressors individuals react differently and what is stressful for one person might not be so for another one.
    This can lead to painful misunderstandings when the person happily coping with certain stressors considers the other person unable to cope as being "weak".
    This is a misconception; our individual ability to cope or not, is personal to each of us (just like our DNA !) it is not a reflection of a strength or weakness in our character !
    While an acceptable level of ordinary stress is beneficial as it motivates us to change, to improve and to create, extreme and continuous stress can lead to both physical and emotional problems.
    The biggest danger with excessive stress is that by trying and often managing for a time to cope with increased demands we fail to realize that we have reached our own "threshold" of stress until something goes haywire in our bodies and/or minds.

    Extreme stress can be either excess positive stress (when there are too many demands) or excess negative stress (little or no demands).
    Both are equally dangerous as they potentially can lead to distress and end up creating malfunctions in body and mind.
    You can work out the positive stress in the past 12 months of your life ("positive" here does not mean constructive but accumulation of stressors) by adding the points in the Holmes & Rahe Scale (1967) as given below:

    POSITIVE STRESS

    1. Death of a spouse.........................................................................100
    2. Divorce..........................................................................................73
    3. Marital separation...........................................................................65
    4. Jail term........................................................................................63
    5. Death of a close family member.......................................................63
    6. Personal injury or illness.................................................................53
    7. Marriage........................................................................................50
    8. Fired at work..................................................................................47
    9. Marital reconciliation.......................................................................45
    10. Retirement.....................................................................................45
    11. Change in health of family member...................................................44
    12. Pregnancy.....................................................................................40
    13. Sexual difficulties............................................................................39
    14. Gain of a new family member...........................................................39
    15. Business adjustment......................................................................39
    16. Death of a close friend.....................................................................37
    17. Change of work...............................................................................36
    18. Mortgage over £50,000....................................................................31
    19. Foreclosure of mortgage..................................................................30
    20. Son or daughter leaving home..........................................................29
    21. Trouble with in-laws.........................................................................29
    22. Outstanding personal achievement...................................................28
    23. Trouble with boss...........................................................................23
    24. Change in work hours.....................................................................20
    25. Change in residence.......................................................................20
    26. Change in social activities...............................................................18
    27. Mortgage or loan less than £50,000..................................................17
    28. Vacation........................................................................................13
    29. Christmas......................................................................................12
    30. Minor violations of the law................................................................11

    The score will give you an idea of how stressed you might be as well as the probability of developing an illness, becoming severely depressed or sustaining an injury within 6 months

    300 points or more, the probability is 80%

    between 150 - 299 points, it is 51%

    below 150 points, it falls to 37%

    However DO remember that everyone's reaction to stress is individual and that you could score 300 + points and still be perfectly healthy just as you could score below 150 points and become unwell.

    Negative stress which means too little stress and no stimuli can create boredom and apathy caused by lack of mental and physical activity. It can be as damaging for the body and mind as positive stress. Some of the reasons why you might experience negative stress are listed below as described by Peter Goodwin, founder of the Association of Stress Management:

    NEGATIVE STRESS

    1. 28 days confinement due to illness.
    2. 28 days after being admitted to a mental institution.
    3. 28 days after being jailed.
    4. 28 days after retirement/redundancy, stress will arise if no new activity is begun.
    5. Family grows up and leaves home, stress arises if no new activity is begun.
    6. Move to a new country, breaking up existing social contacts and friends.
    7. 28 days of unemployment, stress arises if no new activity is begun.
    8. More than 28 days of holiday at one time without interest or activity.
    9. Old age, resulting in death of friends or family in peer group.
    10. 28 days after bankruptcy.
    11. Executive gives up work for marriage.
    12. Premature end to athletic career due to injury.
    13. 28 days after being kidnapped !

    Source: Peter Goodwin. (ASM)

    Click here for a list of The Effects of Stress

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