Richard Lazarus and Susan Folkman suggested in 1984 that stress can be thought of as resulting from an ―imbalance between demands and resources‖ or as occurring when ―pressure exceeds one’s perceived ability to cope‖. Stress management was developed and premised on the idea that stress is not a direct response to a stressor but rather one’s resources and ability to cope mediate the stress response and are amenable to change, thus allowing stress to be controllable.
Among the many stressors mentioned by employees, these are the most common:
•The way employees are treated by their bosses/supervisors or company
•Lack of job security
•Coworkers who don’t do their fair share
•Not enough control over assignments
•Inadequate pay or benefits
•Too much work
•Uncomfortable physical conditions
•Coworkers making careless mistakes
•Dealing with rude customers
•Lack of cooperation
•How the company treats coworkers
In order to develop an effective stress management programme it is first necessary to identify the factors that are central to a person controlling his/her stress, and to identify the intervention methods which effectively target these factors. Lazarus and Folkman’s interpretation of stress focuses on the transaction between people and their external environment (known as the Transactional Model). The model contends that stress may not be a stressor if the person does not perceive the stressor as a threat but rather as positive or even challenging. Also, if the person possesses or can use adequate coping skills, then stress may not actually be a result or develop because of the stressor. The model proposes that people can be taught to manage their stress and cope with their stressors. They may learn to change their perspective of the stressor and provide them with the ability and confidence to improve their lives and handle all of types of stressors.
Health realization/innate health model
The health realization/innate health model of stress is also founded on the idea that stress does not necessarily follow the presence of a potential stressor. Instead of focusing on the individual’s appraisal of so-called stressors in relation to his or her own coping skills (as the transactional model does), the health realization model focuses on the nature of thought, stating that it is ultimately a person’s thought processes that determine the response to potentially stressful external circumstances. In this model, stress results from appraising oneself and one’s circumstances through a mental filter of insecurity and negativity, whereas a feeling of well-being results from approaching the world with a “quiet mind”.
This model proposes that helping stressed individuals understand the nature of thought— especially providing them with the ability to recognize when they are in the grip of insecure thinking, disengage from it, and access natural positive feelings—will reduce their stress.