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STRESS

STRESS

STRESS

Stress is now considered "THE illness of the century". Resulting from everyday strains, it could be the cause of many illnesses (hypertension, depression, burnout etc.) and work absenteeism.

STRESS

Stress is now considered "THE illness of the century". Resulting from everyday strains, it could be the cause of many illnesses (hypertension, depression, burnout etc.) and work absenteeism. 

1 - What is stress?

It was a Canadian researcher Hans Selye, who first described stress or "general syndrome of adaptation".
There are many definitions and interpretations of the word "stress". 

Stress is defined as:

  • A situation experienced by the organism and which requires an adaptation; this situation can be pleasant or not, physical, psychological, chemical, or emotional.
  • ​The reaction of the organism (which is a non-specific response to the situation experienced); this reaction is biological or psychological; it is common to any soliciting factor and, at the same time, unique to each individual.


​There are two kinds of stress:

  • "Positive" stress: this represents an "optimal stimulation zone" and allows physical and mental performances;
  • "Negative" stress: located on either side of the "optimum range"; this generates anxiety, anguish, nervousness, irritability, etc.  


2 - What can be stress factors?

Stress factors are numerous and not always avoidable.

  • Shocks: these can be emotional (mourning, brutal separation, disappearance, etc.) or physical (assault, accident, injury, etc.);
  • Lifechanges: these have a psychological or social nature and require the individual to adapt to their new "domain"; for example: the passages from childhood to adolescence and then to adulthood, entry into working life, birth of a child, moving, etc.;
  • Hypo- or hyperstimulation: the subject is either neglected (emotional loneliness, etc.) or overstretched (large workloads, personal or professional conflicts);
  • Events: happy or not, foreseeable or not, they can be stress generators (meeting, job interview, wedding, etc.);
  • Environment: noise, pollution, neighbours, etc. can also be seen as stressful situations.


3 - What are the signs of stress?

Stress can manifest itself in various forms:  

  • Tension,
  • Anguish,
  • Anxiety,
  • Knot in the stomach,
  • Loss of appetite,
  • Nausea,
  • Abdominal cramps etc.


The signs of stress vary among individuals, and alter nervous and hormonal balances. This is why it is important to know the factors promoting stress and the best ways of managing it.

If you think you suffer from stress-related symptoms, it is important to see a doctor for a full evaluation. They will be able to determine if the symptoms are actually related to stress and implement a suitable solution.

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