Modern life is full of stress. Stress on individuals ranges from personal day-to-day life to their organizational activities. Urbanisation, industrialisation, and increase in scale of operations in the society are causing increasing stresses. Different psychologists and physiologists have defined stress differently. In simple words, stress refers to pressures or tensions people feel in life. As living human makes constant demands, so it produces pressures, i.e., stress. Stress is, therefore, a natural and unavoidable feature of human life.
According to Stoner and Wankel
Stress is the tension and pressure that result when an individual views a situation as presenting a demand that threatens to exceed his capabilities and resources.
According to Selye
Stress is the-non-specific response of the body to any demand made upon it.
According to Ivancevich and Matteson
Stress is an adaptive response, mediated by individual characteristics and/or psychological processes, that is, a consequence of any external action, situation, or event that places special physical and/or psychological demands upon a person.
According to Beehr and Newman
Job stress is a condition arising from the interaction of people and their jobs and characterized by changes within people that force them to deviate from their normal functioning.
Features/Characteristics of Stress
1. Stress may result into any kind-of deviation—physical, psychological, or behavioural-in the person. This deviation is from the usual state of affairs. From this point of view, stress is different than anxiety which operates solely in the emotional and psychological sphere. Thus, stress may be accompanied by anxiety but it is more comprehensive than the latter.
2. Stress maybe result of Individual’s Interaction with environmental stimuli. Such stimuli may be in any form: interpersonal interaction, event, and so on. The impact of the stimuli produces deviation In the Individual.
3. It is not necessary that stress is always dysfunctional. On the contrary, there may be some stresses, called eustresses, like stress for creative work, entrepreneurial activities, keen competition etc. which stimulate better productivity. It is only the dysfunctional stress, called distress, which is bad and must be overcome.
4. Stress can be either temporary or long term, mild or severe, depending mostly on how long its causes continue, how powerful they are, and: how strong the individual’s powers are. If stress is temporary and mild, most people can handle it or, at least, recover from its effects rather quickly. Similarly, persons who have strong power for tolerating stress can cope with stress more quickly.