Table of Content:-

Meaning of Stress
Work stress meaning: Work stress or job stress involves a series of workers’ responses when he is required to meet demands that do not match their knowledge, skills or abilities and test their capacity to cope with these stresses. These demands may either be quantitative demands, which are related to time or the amount of work, cognitive demands associated with the complexity of the work and emotional demands which require the person to show empathy at work. There may be physical demands as well related to stationary loads.

Stress is a reaction of an individual to the troubling factor of his surrounding. Stress is a flexible reaction to an external condition and leads to physiological, emotional and behavioural variations. Stressors are physiological or mental demands that arise from the surroundings and lead to stress. Stressors produce tension or the possibility for tension when an individual feels that any particular demand is far greater than his ability.

Definition of Stress

According to Davis, “Stress is a condition of strain on one’s emotions, thought processes and physical conditions”.

According to Steinberg and Titzmann, “Stress can be defined as an underload or overload of matter, energy or information input to, or output from, a living system”.

According to Fred Luthans, “Stress is an adaptive response to an external situation that results in physical, psychological and/or behavioural deviations for organisational participants”.

According to Beehr and Newman, “Stress is a condition arising from the interaction of people and their jobs and characterised by changes within people that force them to deviate from their normal functioning”.

Nature of Stress

1) Simple Anxiety or Nervous Tension:

Stress is not represented by restlessness or nervousness. People displaying these behaviours need not necessarily be under any stress. In the same way, stressed people may not show restlessness or nervousness.

2) Not Always be Damaging:

People are often under stress, but they do not show any sign of exertion. Everyday jobs of life involve stress, but they may be harmless.

3) Not Always due to Overwork:

It is not necessary that the people who are under the grip of stress always over-burdened by the work. Sometimes, scarcity of work can also lead to stress.

4) Stress cannot be avoided:

It is a well-known fact that stress is a part and parcel of life and there is no available means to prevent the occurrence of stress. Nevertheless, it would be wise for an individual to stay away from the counteractive responses of stress.

5) Biological Response Mechanism:

Stress is the body’s natural reaction mechanism. The human body has its own limitations, i.e., it has a restricted capacity to cope with stressors. The demands of the workplace exert pressure on people and excessive stress affects the employee’s capacity to deal with stress.

STRESS - Meaning, Definition, Nature, Types of stress

Different Types of Stress

Depending on features, stress can be classified as follows:

1) Eustress:

Eustress is an optimistic and active reaction to stress which helps in the development of people. It helps in energising and inspiring the individuals so that they can achieve their respective aims, brings about considerable changes in their surroundings and deal with the difficulties of life. It also helps people to formulate new and innovative ways of managing their work. So, this type of stress is essential for the survival and well-being of human beings.

Eustress signifies the favourable level of stress in an individual. Under this level, the individual’s performance is at the highest degree of excellence. Stress below this level leads to boredom in an individual and he feels demotivated and indifferent toward work. 

When someone works in a very low-stress environment and keeps on experiencing dullness while working, then that individual is bound to get deviated from work both emotionally as well as personally. 

The emotional breakdown will ultimately result in the occurrence of casual errors, negligence in performance and distraction from work. The physical breakdown will be denoted by lethargy and habitual absence from work which finally leads to turnover. 

2) Distress:

Distress is a pessimistic and inactive reaction to stress. It indicates the tremendous level of stress in a person which negatively affects his performance and productivity. Mistakes will reoccur consistently, wrong decisions will be taken and the individual has to bear many problems like sleeplessness, stomach-related problems, and mental or emotional illnesses.

 Distress is of two types:  Acute & Chronic Stress

i) Acute Stress: Short-term stressor leads to acute stress. It evolves all of a sudden, is extremely sharp and vanishes rapidly. 

For example, if a person is going on an evening walk, then all of a sudden, a big and shabby dog leaps out of the bushes, making a growling sound with its exposed teeth, this may lead to acute stress. Acute stress can be full of excitement and stimulation when given in small doses, but if it comes in large doses, it may become irritating

ii) Chronic Stress: This stress is the long-term stress resulting from prolonged irritating problems. This type of stress keeps coming back with the passage of days and years. Chronic stress can be due to ever-increasing credit card debts, long-term health ailments, emotionally exhausting relationships, or an exhausting job. Chronic stress results from unavoidable demands and pressures that go on continuously.

The drawback of chronic stress is pessimistic as some people become habitual to them, give up hope, and stop trying to find solutions to the problems. The individual is surrounded by feelings of impassiveness hopelessness, and fear, due to the reduction of natural and psychological resources. Chronic stress can b fatal as people may decide to end their life or it may lead to a heart attack or emotional outburst.


1. Explain the meaning and nature of stress.
2. Discuss the work stress meaning in detail.

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