on Stress: Part 5
Influencing Our Perception of Stress
do some people perceive a situation as stressful when others don't? Even within
ourselves, why are we stressed one day but not another by the same situation?
has been defined as "a condition that occurs when an individual perceives
the demands of a situation as exceeding (his/her) resources". The way we
see both demands and resources will influence our individual responses to a situation.
Factors that affect our perceptions include things related to the event (e.g.
controllability, predictability, duration & intensity of the stressor), and
personal factors (e.g. early experience, optimistic/ pessimistic personality traits,
irritability, inadequate sleep).
for example, an emergency hospital admission. This is more stressful than a planned
one because it is less controllable and predictable (variations related to the
some people will find the same emergency admission much more stressful than others
(individual variations). People whose previous experiences with the health care
system have been positive and who tend to be optimistic are more likely to feel
that they have the resources to deal effectively with the situation. Those whose
early experiences of doctor's visits were painful, or those who tend toward pessimism,
may feel sure that the hospital admission will lead to pain and deteriorating
health. If they've also been having trouble sleeping and are feeling irritable,
they are likely to be hypersensitive to even minor symptoms.
that we know more about factors causing stress, what do we do about it? Watch
next week for ways of managing stress!