Stress Management

Stress in actuality does not exist. There is a common misconception that “stress” is a real thing and a real experience. People refer to stress as a feeling or a state that they want to avoid or in some way manage better. In fact, stress can be defined as being made up of two things stressors and strain.



Stressors are life events, circumstances or situations that may impact you in some way. For example, your baby is unwell, you are planning a wedding, your parent passed away, you are moving house. You will notice that stressors can be situations in life that you could categorise as either positive or negative. Whether it is negative or positive is likely defined by your way of being in the world (see worried well).



Negative “stress” or strain is the way you respond to the stressor. The response you have to any particular event is likely to be as unique as you are. Commonly people report distress in response to situations that they see as negative or bad, such as losing a loved one or a high level of demand on them in the workplace. Distress can be characterised as difficulty adapting to the stressors in life. When you are feeling completely overwhelmed in life you can often experience feelings, sensations and emotions associated with anxiety and depression.


Stress doesn’t always have to be bad.


At reasonable levels, it serves as a useful tool for functioning in life. This can be referred to as positive stress.


Positive “stress”


You are likely to report eustress (which literally means good stress) when you perceive circumstances to be positive. For example, competing in an event or getting pregnant (if these events were chosen and desired by you). The key factor is that the stressor serves to increase your ability to function and as a result you are likely to experience feeling, sensations and emotions related to happiness.



Stressors help us achieve in life


Performance in life usually requires us to be motivated and have the energy and drive to complete the tasks required of us. The presence of stressors in life help us to get out of bed in the morning.
However, where there are too many stressors or particular stressors are more difficult for us to manage with our existing resources then we risk our psychological wellbeing. That it, we are much more likely to experience distress.


Psychological distress that leads to depression and anxiety tends to be amplified by the following three factors:

  • High workload or many stressors / more psychologically impactful stressors.
  • Poor social support (when you do not have a network they can rely on to help them deal with challenging life events).
  • Low autonomy (when you do not have a lot of power to change the stressors or take action to lessen their impact on you).


Of course, where the above factors are present and in good supply then people typically have a solid place to work from when dealing with stressors in life. Therefore, it may be helpful to think about how to support yourself in dealing with stressors, improving social support and looking for ways to


If having a high workload or many stressors in your life is creating distress in your life, then we may be able to offer our support. You may wish to review the stressors in your life and also notice the impact of these stressors on your health, whether positive or negative. This will enable you to have an accurate picture of what is happening in your life and become aware of the impact on your psychological well-being.

Present Moment psychologists can assist you to find ways to have those stressors impact you less and help you find ways to cope with the strain.

Leave a Reply