Stress: it’s what happens when you’re up against a critical deadline; when you’re preparing for an important presentation; when you’re negotiating prices with a tough but important customer. It’s the daily wear and tear on the mind and body throughout one’s entire lifespan and,’s not all bad.

There is distress, or bad stress, that occurs when excessive demands are placed upon the mind and body eventually causing illness and/or disease. There is also eustress, or good stress, that is essential for the growth and development of human nature. The optimal level of stress lies somewhere between the two. It is necessary to have some stress in life for challenge and growth.


Stress is derived from the mind, body and/or environment. The mind produces stress through anxiety, depression, and frustration. The body produces its own form of stress through reactions to caffeine and certain drugs. Pollution, overcrowding, and noise are examples of environmental stress.


An individual's personality ultimately determines how a person will react to stress, and the most popular theory about personality divides people into A, B, and C Types. Type A personalities are described as very hurried, time-urgent, anxious, impatient, aggressive, and competitive. Type B personalities are seen as slow to react, calm, patient, passive, and disliking competition. Type C personalities are those whose lifestyles seem to include both Type A and Type B traits and characteristics.

While Type A individuals are at a high risk of developing heart disease, Type Bs are more likely to suffer from ulcers, since they tend to keep so much inside.

Another theory, “Locus of Control” refers to the ability to control the direction of one’s lifestyle. Individuals experiencing an Internal Locus of Control feel that success is a result of their own hard work and dedication.

Those with an External Locus of Control believe that success is a matter of luck, being at the right place at the right time, knowing the right people, and various other outside forces.


There are many different causes that contribute to stress at the workplace. Some of these are excessive work-related traveling and time zone difference, work overload and underload, frustration, conflicts with co-workers and supervisors, lack of communication, and uninvited change. If these causes are not identified and prevented early on, symptoms of job burnout may eventually affect all aspects of an individual’s life.


Stress can affect you physically, mentally and behaviorally. You may experience physical problems such as heart disease, ulcers, asthma, migraine headaches, and even cancer. Mentally, stress causes anxiety, depression, frustration, memory loss, and difficulties in concentration and decision-making. Your behavior may suffer from eating and sleeping disorders, increased smoking, weight gain or loss, decreased productivity, and excessive absenteeism and tardiness.


The following are proven stress management strategies and techniques for relieving the effects of stress and establishing an inner peace within yourself:

1. AVOIDANCE - This is an easy one. Avoidance involves "deliberately avoiding" any stressful situation that does not concern you. If the situation is none of your business, stay out of it.

2. RETHINKING - This concept originates from the analogy "You are what you think." Since this is true, it would be beneficial on your part to "rethink" matters when encoutering stressful situations before reacting. This includes learning how not to provoke a potentially stressful situation. For example, if you know that making a derogatory comment about a certain family member will cause an argument with your spouse, rethink it out and refrain from making the comment.

3. EXERCISE - Exercise is the body’s natural mechanism for eliminating the harmful effects of stress. It can actually detoxify the body, buffer the mind and body against stress, and slow down the aging process. To effectively manage stress, exercise must be non-competitive, practiced regularly, and be of sufficient intensity and duration. You will want to consult your doctor if in doubt.

4. NUTRITION - The food we eat can play a major role in the effects of stress. Fats, sugar, salt, and caffeine are most harmful. Use these carefully and with moderation.

5. RELAXATION - As a stress management tool, relaxation decreases the daily wear and tear of your mind and body and helps you develop self-control over future stressful encounters and events. The ability to relax is an important aspect of being able to change stressful situation into more positive ones.

6. MUSIC - Maybe music can soothe the wildest beast. Research proves that music has a physical and mental effect on the mind and body resulting in a decrease in blood pressure and heart pulse. A relatively new method of stress management combines music with environmental sounds, such as ocean waves. This tends to promote a tranquil effect on your whole being.

7. LAUGHTER - A good sense of humor may well be one of the best ways to relieve the harmful effects of stress. Laughing elicits the release of endorphins, the body’s own natural pain killer. The release of these endorphins cause the feeling of euphoria that one encounters in humorous situations. Forcing yourself to laugh or smile, tricks your subconscious mind and will eventually become a habit if prolonged over a period of time. So, keep laughing... It's extremely healthy!

8. TIME MANAGEMENT - The enemy of time management is “procrastination.” To successfully manage your time make a “to-do list” of all the events and activities that you must perform in a given day (at this step do not be concerned with order). Then, rank the events and activities in order of importance, remembering to do the hectic tasks first when your energy is high, and the less important tasks at the end of the day when your energy is low. Keep in mind that you should allow about 25% of this time for interruptions.

9. VISUAL IMAGERY - With visual imagery, you substitute actual experience with scenes from your imagination. Your mind and body both tend to react to these imagined scenes as if they were real, calming you down and allowing yourself to become more and more relaxed. Imagine you are experiencing a warm, comfortable, safe and pleasant place, and enjoy it in your imagination. With practice and used correctly, visual imagery has been shown to relax the mind and body by decreasing blood pressure and slowing down heart pulse. By imagining pleasant scenes, you can actually feel the changing levels of stress in your body diminish.

10. STOP WORRYING - This prayer is the best technique for eliminating worry. "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference." What this saying is, don't worry about things that you have no control over. As the prayer states, change those things that you can, accept those that you can't (or get sick), and have the wisdom to know the difference. It's all about "choice." Choose not to worry.

Stress is obviously caused by many factors and affects every individual in a different way. What one person may find stressful, another may see as a challenge. Stress seems to be a phenomena that affects individuals differently and without discrimination. The secret to managing stress lies in our ability to be able to identify and manage our own stressful thresholds.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Al Infande is the Director of Human Resources at AeroThrust Corporation, a jet engine overhaul and maintenance facility in Miami, Florida. For over 15 years, he has served as a university professor where he teaches courses in Human Resources Management, Education, and Psychology. Dr. Infande has earned several Ph.D.s in the areas of Organizational Psychology, Counseling Psychology, and Human Resources Development. He has developed and delivered an array of seminars and workshops for both academicians and corporate executives. During his career, he has written several publications in the areas of Adult Education, Training and Development, and Stress Management.