Stressor: Meaning and Its Management

What is a life really without change? Wherever there are changes, there are crises and stress along with them. Stress is a physiological, emotional, behavioral, and cognitive response your body displays when you experience a threatening, disturbing event. When our environment does not assemble our demands, we are most likely to experience stress (Lazarus and Folkman 1984).

What is the Meaning of Stressor?

A stressor is essentially any agent that causes stress to an individual, whether it is chemical or biological, an environmental condition, an external stimulus, or anything else. Psychologically, a stressor could be an event or environmental condition that demands or challenges the individual, which is not possible to fulfil in normal circumstances. It could threaten an individual's safety.

Types of Stressor

Based on the sources, stressors can be classified as −

  • Environmental stressors − e.g., unfavourable temperature, unpleasant sound or noise, excessive light, etc.

  • Regular stressors − e.g., traffic congestion, financial loss, money problem, every day’s quarrel, etc.

  • Changing events − e.g., someone’s death in family, divorce, etc.

  • Workplace stressors − e.g., rude boss, unachievable target, unfriendly work environment, too much work pressure, etc.

  • Chemical stressors − e.g., cigarette, alcohol, drugs, etc.

  • Social stressors − e.g., societal and family demands.

It is no wonder that stress is bound to arrive when we go through unpleasant trouble, but also there are positive life adjustments to be dealt with. Experiencing a major event is like throwing a rock into a pond: there will be a big splash while the rock itself is gone. Nevertheless, what is left behind will be the ripples in the water that came from the impact of the rock. Such ripples are known as daily hassles in life. This is why stress management techniques are important for every layperson to help reduce his appraisal of daily hassles.

Strategies to Manage the Stressors

To deal with stressful events in life, it is mandatory to embrace some coping strategies, which can support best for stress. Such coping strategies are stress management techniques. Given the nature of the stressor, it cannot be controlled very well; rather, it can be managed to its optimal level. Each phase in one's life may not be controllable, but our reactions to it are certainly manageable.

Here are some tactics that have helped numerous people, evident through research, in managing their stress.

  • Problem-focused strategy −  A strategy useful in stress management to end stressors themselves. When one's actions are such that it eliminates the source of stress or reduces its influence, it is called a problem-focused strategy. For example, an employee can speak up with his manager or ask him directly to reduce the amount of work given when fed with an abundance of work within a short period.

  • Go for therapy − Often, when the stress is chronic or severe, it is recommended to show it to a professional who can assess anxieties and work on cognitive processes. The therapist provides various therapy techniques; one very good stress management is cognitive behavior therapy, i.e., CBT. The therapist will reduce stressors in CBT by correcting beliefs and cognitive errors. The pattern of perceiving a situation has a lot to do with how stressful one can be. Thus, if patterns can be corrected, then involuntary thoughts can be changed, which is the main goal of CBT.

  • Adequate sleep − It is scientifically proven that the relationship between stress and sleep is completely reciprocal. This means that inadequate sleep can lead to experiencing stressors, and stressors can lead to impaired sleep. On the other hand, lack of sleep leads to various physiological symptoms, which can become a source of stress. There is high evidence that sleep deprivation can lead to excessive production of cortisol (the hormone responsible for stress released from the adrenal glands). Epidemiology research suggests that a reasonable 7-8 hours of sleep is mandated to function the psychological and physiological system properly

  • Yoga and meditation − Relaxing the muscles and mind is the proper antidote to stress. Relaxation and anxiety are opposing emotions, and one cannot experience both simultaneously. Therefore, yoga and mediational techniques used for relaxation are immensely helpful in easing anxiety. Various techniques in meditation are diaphragmatic breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, and meditation exercises. It may not reflect instant results, but it helps your mind focus on important things and omit further nervousness in the long term. Proper meditation and yoga change the brain waves to include more alpha and theta waves (indicating deep relaxation). In addition, meditation and yoga also assist with proper blood pressure, which helps reduce stressful events.

  • Avoid overconsumption of caffeine − People, when stressed, opt for ways to eliminate their anxieties. One way they think to reduce their anxiety is often relying on caffeine exhaustion. Little did they know caffeine is responsible for the secretion of cortisol (stress hormone) when consumed more than usual. It is evident and sensible to avoid overconsumption of caffeine when a particular stressor occurs.

  • Journalising thoughts − The satisfactory way to abolish anxieties is always noting them down on a piece of paper or simply on your digital screen. Doing so helps to peel off all negative vibes from the body, keeping the mind very pleasant and quiet.


It concludes that managing stress stands its best way to eliminate the stressors in life. Certainly, it is a disaster to experience horrible crises, but the only way to overcome them is to keep practicing these stress management techniques. Other than these techniques, one can start a facility to build a proper schedule, eat healthy daily, find ways to control anger, and try not to overthink.

Updated on: 25-Nov-2022


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