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Introduction

All human beings encounter stress in their lives, though stress may manifest in different forms. It may be as a result of an encounter with traffic jam, tight deadline on an important project, disagreement with partner, or worrisome illness. For medical experts, such incidents are referred to as stimuli-that is an automatic physical reaction to a challenging event or a challenge that would demand a person to undergo a change (Gross & Kinnison, 2014).

Whether specific stimuli an individual is confronting may be a worrisome illness or financial challenge, each actual or potential threat prompts a flow of stress hormones that generate a coordinated physiological reaction. Some of the reactions include quickening of breath rates and sweating (Iyengar, 2001).

Summary in a Nutshell

Stress may also be considered to be a form of non-specific reaction or response that is superimposed through various manifestations of insulting factors impinging on an individual and regards it as a condition through which the natural homeostasis of human body is distressed. In human being stress occurs when there is a significant discrepancy between the apparent demands and the perceived abilities of an individual in a given circumstance while the expected outcome is considered imperative. It is not necessarily the environment as such, but an organism perception of a given environment of event that causes stress (Greenfield, 2014).

Physiologically, human’s left hemisphere of the brain functions as an analyzer through which worries occur, while the right hemisphere is designed as an integrator upon which components of a skill are assimilated into a complex whole. Both hemispheres usually operate in tandem when a person is calmed (not distressed). However, once distressed, left hemisphere acting as an analyzer tend to dominate, distorting one’s psychological and physical performance.

Physically, stress may be impacted in the occurrence of coronary heart disease, triggers certain class of cancer, while leading to other forms of ailments such as skin rashes, stomach ulcers, asthma, migraine, and heightened vulnerability to infections.

The psychological impacts of stress are equally damaging. The increased irritability, anxiety, poor concentration, sleeplessness and aggressive behaviors are associated to accidents and conflict both at workplace and home. People under stressed are in most cases prone to alcoholism, excessive smoking and high consumption of caffeine (Farmer, 2014).

 

Experiencing prolonged stress will also increase the chances of severe mental health ailments, which include disabling anxiety incidents and depression, as well as substance abuse.

Any person can experience stress from any event or environment such as workplace, relationship or conflict. Individual may experience stress from a workplace, this may depend on the demand of a task, working environment in which they are working, as well as their proneness that may be aggravated by issues outside the task at hand  (Grossman & Porth, 2014).

Reducing or eliminating sources of stress can be attained through improvement of physical working environment, redesigning working schedules and developing more flexible working shifts and other arrangements, such as duty sharing, flexible working hours and providing recreation facilities. Adjustment in personnel rules and policies such as improved communication policies may also be of significant help, just as it would be for strategic planning to facilitate better decision-making opportunities and autonomy among the staff at all levels. Such as encouraging staffs to review and suggest amendments to the system practices to ease stress (Anisman, 2014).

The strategies of stress prevention should as well entail the designing of a supportive work climate and ethos, through which staff may feel at ease to share their opinion concerning stress they may be experiencing without fear of intimidation but assured that, will be assisted in dealing with their issues. In this case organizations are required to design more open communication means and strongly discourage conducts that would lead to stress, such as working late hours, carrying work home and other unhealthy competition behaviors (Sarafino et al., 2014).

Coping Strategies and Interventions

Notwithstanding the causes of workplace stress, there is no denying its existence as a significant problem of the contemporary working environment. Considering the extensiveness of stress at workplace, there are calls for a clear managing mechanisms such that the long terms negative impacts of obstinate stress can be avoided (Garvis, 2014).

There are different methods to managing stress. One of the approaches is based on identifying the root of stress in the organization and structures of the workplace and to establish the solution based on redesigning those structures. Another approach is to identify stress based on the responses of different personalities and seek the solutions that are based on therapeutic interventions (Keogh, 2014).

Most organization may have different purposes for desiring to implement stress managing initiatives. Such motif would be a strategy of reducing the cost of operation that the organization may be incurring due to stress related staff turnover, illness and absenteeism.

Whatever the motif, the issue of workplace related stress cannot be wished away, and it is important for initiatives to be undertaken to ensure a healthy working environment for the employees. 

The determinants of Stress

Stress does not affect all people in the same way. There exist a range of social and environmental determinants within individuals that determine ones susceptibility and managing capacity in relation to the nature of stressor (In Edelman et al., 2014).

Social support and personality differences are significant factors in establishing how well people handle stress.

Social Support

Social support is a factor that can cushion the impact of stress that a person encounters. Social support may be referred to as the resources that are obtained from a personal social relationship. Lack of social support from friends, family or coworkers may lead to stress. It is believed that social support develops health benefits notwithstanding the levels of stress experienced by an individual (In Edelman et al., 2014).

In addition, social support serves to reduce the significance of the perceptions that an event is stressful. When it comes to assessing potential cause of stress, the accessibility of informational, emotional and instrumental support may significantly impact a person’s perception of a stressor. Social support tends to improve one’s confidence in the capacity to deal with event that would otherwise be a stressor.

Informational supports provide alternative strategies for tackling a given task, or reduce the perceived magnitude of the problem by evaluating it on the basis of alternative strategy obtained from new information. On the other hand, instrumental supports provide the strategies to resolve a challenge or stopping it from further escalation (Freeman, 2014).

Personality Differences

Depending on personality differences, individual may view an event or a situation as a function of the connection between a challenge characteristic and the feature of, and resources accessible to handle the challenge. A well-established viewpoint on personality factors and their connections to stress are the differences between type A and Type B personality. According to this classification, type A personality is characterized by aggressiveness, ambitiousness and eagerness to attain their desired objectives on time, they are also known for self-absorption and of the tendency to be hostile and cynical. To the contrary, the type B personality is characterized by more relaxed behaviors and is less competitive.

Based on these types of personality, a person displaying type A personality are prone to a significantly increased risk of encountering the deleterious impacts of stress, more so in respect to heart-related diseases. It has been argued that a person manifesting type A personality is more likely take a more challenging task, often overreacting, and for these reasons is more exposed to stress and other related conditions such a cardiovascular disease.

Under type A personality, is a group of individual who are regarded as hot reactors. This refers to individuals who, when encountering a challenge of daily life, experience an extreme rise of blood pressure, leading to stress. Those individuals, who do not manifest these retaliations to stressors, are known to be less at risk for the flagging impacts of stress (Freeman, 2014).  

Controversies

There are several disquiets that have been raised regarding the interactive approaches in defining stress. Such concerns include the dependence on the measure of the perceived cause of stress that overlook the significance of objective relations of the cause of stress.

Furthermore, if intrapsychic stress managing approaches such a denial is in operation, a victim’s report of perceived stress tends to obscure the seriousness of the environmental conditions. The scale of the perceived stress may be unreliable since they are reflection of the levels to which stress is associated to a given situation. 

Finally, there is a controversy that exists on whether the levels of association between the apparent measures of stress and physical or psychological health results are exaggerated considering the overlaps between the two. This challenge is aggravated by an overdependence on self-report scales of both perceived health and perceived degree of stress (Diamond, 2014).

The Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner

PWPs are an important sector of the UK’s commitment to reduce disability, relieve stress and reconstruct lives. The Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner (PWP) was specifically established to provide low intensity interventions. The PWPs work closely with high Intensity Therapists inside a stepped care working model of delivering service that ensures patients are receiving the least troublesome intervention treatment, frequent checking and the opportunity to upgrade to a higher intensity treatment wherever required.

Both groups of practitioners constitute part of the health workforce, which is seeking to deliver more than 5000 therapists by the end of 2015.

In the initial stages, the roles were described as Low Intensity Workers’ and though this was merely an operating title to highlight the nature of interventions provided, it was wrongly assumed to suggest a lower experienced than High Intensity Practitioners (Videbeck, 2014).

However, it was later agreed that PWP was a more accurate title given that it recognized that practitioners functioning psychologically within a framework that was based on mental behavioral therapy principles, interacting with individuals earlier in their undertaking of mental health challenge to advance their wellbeing and by doing so, they also acquire qualification of practitioner as outlined by the National Health Service Career Framework (Carr, 2014).

The PWPs act like coaches in that they have the role of supporter and educators. They help people to apply evidence driven Low Intensity interventions, but at all times allowing the patients to implement the recommended therapy, making them experts in their own restoration process.

The PWPs members are explicitly skilled and educated in both general and specific therapeutic intervention approaches, so they may know how to initiate, develop and sustain therapeutic unions with their patients. Further, they are able to be responsive and to handle potential and real ruptures in such unions (Hassed & Chambers, 2014).

Conclusion

All human beings encounter stress in their lives, though stress may manifest in different forms. Stress may also be considered to be a form of non-specific reaction or response that is superimposed through various manifestations of insulting factors impinging on an individual and regards it as a condition through which the natural homeostasis of human body is distressed.

Though, there are various factors that lead to stress, there are equal means of managing it. The impact of this condition can be detrimental to one’s mental health if not put under check. It is more a matter of perception an individual have on an event or a situation, rather than on the nature of the challenge. All in all it better prevention that cure.

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