CPD & Supervision
What is Stress
What is Stress?
Stress arises when individuals perceive
that they cannot adequately cope with
the demands being made on them or with
threats to their well-being. R.S. Lazarus
… a perceptual phenomenon arising from a
comparison between the demand on the
person and his or her ability to cope. An
imbalance in this mechanism, when coping
is important, gives rise to the experience
of stress, and to the stress response. T.
Cox (1978).
Stress results from an imbalance
between demands and resources. R.S.
Lazarus and S. Folkman (1984).
Stress is the psychological, physiological
and behavioural response by an individual
when they perceive a lack of equilibrium
between the demands placed upon them
and their ability to meet those
demands, which, over a period of time,
leads to ill-health. S. Palmer (1989).
A simple definition that can be used is:
Stress occurs when pressure exceeds
your perceived ability to cope.
Exercise One
Working in pairs or small
groups, discuss:
What causes stress for you
at work?
Consider everyday stresses
and chronic stresses (what
has been the biggest cause
of stress over the last 12
How do you know when you
are stress?
Think about what physical,
emotional and behavioural
symptoms you experience.
Exercise Two
Identifying your stressed
• Working in twos or small
groups discuss:
What are your early warning
signs of stress?
What is the first thing you
What are your of long term
stress symptoms?
Coping with stress
How do you usually handle
How effective are your coping
behaviours, do they reduce or
eliminate stress?
Have you used coping
strategies in the past but no
longer use?
Exercise Three
Changing situations
• Choose one of your stress
causes and discuss how this
situation might be changed
or improved.
ie loss – seeking support,
journaling, finding enjoyable
the coping strategies you have
used in the past and would like
to use again.
three new coping strategies.
How will you use these
How will these techniques
affect your stress levels
What changes will you
expect to occur?
How could you use this
information with your