What is Stress? And How Does it Affect You?

Uncategorized Oct 26, 2021

We learnt a lot about stress in 2020. In HR we’ve likely helped leaders and employees with stressful situations, as well as dealing with our own stress. 

Being stressed typically means being or feeling under pressure, often situations or events that cause our bodies to release hormones called cortisol and adrenaline. This is the body’s automatic response.

You may have heard of fight, flight, fawn or freeze – dating back to when our ancestors were faced with danger in their environment. Nowadays we are not faced with the same dangers, but our bodies react in the same way. Whether it's events – such as having to give a presentation, telling someone they are at risk of redundancy or being chased by a dog; or situations – such as intensity of work and home, juggling childcare; or overuse of social media – all can cause a stress response in the body.

Producing a small amount of these hormones isn’t harmful to most of the population. It is often helpful in motivating you to take action. When the stress response is acute or long-term it can have a detrimental effect on the mind and body and make you unwell.

For some, it will lead to long-term health issues or burnout.


This quick assessment will enable you to identify how you personally respond to stress.

Indicate below which feeling or response you are experiencing or have experienced when stressed.

Feeling or Response

  • Overwhelmed
  • Anxious
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Increase or decrease in appetite
  • Withdrawn
  • Irritable
  • Quiet
  • Feel the need for control
  • Tendency to micro-manage
  • Headaches
  • Digestive symptoms
  • Muscle tension in neck, face, shoulders or back
  • Racing heart
  • Dizziness
  • Exhaustion
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Upset stomach
  • Increased perspiration
  • General aches and pains
  • Other

Often we don't equate these ailments or reactions as stress responses, which is why we don't address our stress levels or recognise that stress is having an adverse effect AND therefore that we need to take action to reduce or eliminate stress.

Understanding how you respond to stress will enable you to work on your resilience.

Find out more on resilience in our next blog!


50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.