How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
Causes of Stress
Stress affects us all. If you can spot the symptoms, you can manage them.
A perceived threat will lead a person to feel stressed. This can include physical threats, social threats, financial threat, and so on. In particular it will be worse when the person feels they have no response that can reduce the threat, as this affects the need for a sense of control.
Generally speaking, any threat to needs is likely to lead to stress being experienced.
Threat can lead to fear, which again leads to stress. Fear leads to imagined outcomes, which are the real source of stress.
When there is a gap between what we do and what we think, then we experience cognitive dissonance, which is felt as stress. Thus, if I think I am a nice person then do something that hurts someone else, I will experience dissonance and stress.
Dissonance also occurs when we cannot meet our commitments. We believe we are honest and committed, but when circumstances prevent us from meeting our promises we are faced with the possibility of being perceived as dishonest or incapable (ie. a social threat).
There are many causes of stress in life including:
The UK's Health and Safety Executive lists six key stress factors:
Other stress indicators at work include:
Along these lines, Beehr and Newman (1978) identified more than 150 variables involved in stress, with emphasis on the working context.
Watch out for your own stress, and help others reduce theirs. In general, remember that stress is caused by perception, which may not accurately reflect reality.
If you are using stress to persuade, watch for these symptoms as indication of your success. Beware of over-stressing people and creating a fight-or-Flight reaction.
Beehr, T.A. and Newman, J.E. (1978). Job stress, employee health, and organizational effectiveness: A facet analysis, model, and literature review. Personnel Psychology, 31, 4, 665-699
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