OBExtra 1

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4 Apr 2011
MHR 505
Week 6
OBXtra 1 Stress and Well-Being at Work
Workplace Stress
Workplace stress is the number one issue affecting the bottom line directly
The top two contributors to absenteeism and/or health costs in the workplace are
stress and other mental health disorders
Business leaders today recognize that they have a moral and corporate obligation to
address health issues in the workplace and that creating a healthy work
environment is a true win-win approach for employees and employers
What is Stress?
Stress (or the stress response) is the unconscious preparation to fight or flee that a
person experiences when faced with any demand
It is any action or situation that upsets a body’s normal equilibrium
Stressor or demand, can be precipitated by a person or event that triggers a stress
The experience of stress is:
Individual what stresses one person doesnt necessarily stress another
person; the same stressful events may lead to distress and strain for one
person and to excitement and healthy results for another
Variable the more experience one has with a particular situation the less
stressed he is
Cumulative prolonged periods of stress can produce overloading or a
decreased capacity to resist or tolerate future stress of any kind
The Consequences of Stress
Stress can be good or bad
The consequence of healthy, normal stress is called eustress meaning euphoria and
Healthy amounts of eustress are desirable because they improve performance by
arousing a person to action
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MHR 505
Week 6
Yerks-Dodson Law
Regular distribution
Stress can lead to improved performance up to an optimum point (peak of
Beyond the optimum point, further stress or arousal can have a detrimental
effect on performance
Physiological Response
Some people have difficulty sleeping, others experience muscle pain, others get
tension headaches, others get backaches, and still others come down with a cold
Most significant medical illnesses are heart disease and stroke, peptic ulcers and
Stress response begins with the release of chemical messengers, primarily
adrenaline, into the blood stream
The messengers activate the sympathetic nervous system and endocrine (hormone)
These two systems work together and trigger four mind-body changes to prepare the
person for fight or flight:
1.The redirection of the blood to the brain and large-muscle groups and
away from the skin, internal organs, and extremities
2.Increased alertness by way of improved vision, hearing, and other sensory
processes through the activation of the brain stem
3.The release of glucose and fatty acids into the bloodstream to sustain the
body during the stressful event
4.Depression of the immune system, as well as restorative and emergent
processes (such as digestion)
This set of four changes shifts the person from a neutral or naturally defensive
posture to an offensive posture
This response can be very functional in preparing a person to deal with legitimate
emergencies and to achieve peak performance
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