1.1. What is stress?
Work-related stress is the reaction people may have when experiencing intense pressure at work over a period of time. Many people are motivated by the challenges and difficulties that normally occur with work demands. Meeting those challenges and overcoming can lead to satisfaction. However, when pressure at work becomes excessive and prolonged, however, people may perceive a threat to their well-being or interests and then experience such unpleasant emotions as fear, anger or anxiety.
Job stress can be defined as the harmful physical and emotional responses that occur when the requirements of the job do not match the capabilities, resources, or needs of the worker. Job stress can lead to poor health and even injury. Stress is a negative and unpleasant condition, which may be experienced when a person perceives that s/he is unable to meet the demands and pressures that are placed upon them. Unacceptable levels of stress may be associated with a range of adverse effects both physiological and psychological.
The concept of stress is often confused with challenge, but these concepts are not the same. Challenge energizes us psychologically and physically. It motivates us to learn new skills. When a challenge is met, we feel relaxed and satisfied. Challenge is an important ingredient for healthy and productive work. The importance of challenge in our work lives is probably what people are referring to when they say 'a little bit of stress is good for you”. However challenge is different to stress that can have important negative effects on physical and mental health, and to the healthy performance of organisations.