Managing Stress

a) Individual Approaches

Physical exercise, Nutrition, Relaxation/sleep, Managing routine/time schedules, Social support network, Cognitive therapy etc.

b) Organizational Approach

Training, Use of realistic goals setting, improved organizational communication, Providing employee sabbaticals, improved personnel selection and job placement

General Adaptation Syndrome Model (GAS)

Hans Selye (1907 - 1982) was a Canadian endocrinologist, first to give a scientific explanation for biological stress. He explained his stress model based on physiology and psychology as general adaptation syndrome (GAS). His model states that an event that threatens an organism's well being leads to a three-stage bodily response. The alarm stage, resistance stage and exhaustion stage.

a) The alarm stage:

The first stage mobilizes or arouses the body, preparing for defensive action. A number of physiological and chemical reactions, such as the secretion of adrenaline increase in respiration, heart rate, and blood pressure are experienced. These changes take place in order to pump more blood for muscular activity, which helps the body reduce the severity of any injury receive.

b) Resistance Stage:

It is also called the adoption stage of the GAS. For example, a laboratory animal in the resistance stage may have greater ability to resist extreme cold, but it becomes more vulnerable to bacterial infections.

c) Exhaustion Stage:

If the stressor is not adequately resisted, the final phase, the exhaustion stage takes place. At this stage, our resistance weakens and we lose our adaptive quality, creating pathological changes that result in disease e.g. , ulcers, heart disease etc.

Psychoneuroimmunology of Stress

It is the study of how the brain, nervous system, and the immune system impact each other. Application includes how stress leads to illness and how chronic inflammation can lead to cardiovascular problem and cancer.

Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI), is an important, relatively new field that lends solid research to our understanding of the mind-body connection. It studies the connection between psychological processes and the nervous and immune system of the body. It refers to the study of the interactions among behavioral, neural and endocrine, immunologic processes of adaptation.

The field grew from the work of Russian psychologist Ivan Pavlov and his classical conditioning model. Pavlov was able to condition dogs to salivate when they heard the ring of a bell by ringing a bell when they were given food.

In 1974, Robert Alder conducted the first experiments showing that the brain directly influence the immune system by using classical conditioning in rats.