Each person perceives a potential stressor differently. How a person perceives the stressor, and the amount of stress it invokes depends on your self-concept, your body's stress tolerance, your age, and your external resources. This section examines these in detail.
|In this section you will find...|
Factors that influence your perception of the stressor:
Your self-concept plays a major role in the amount of stress you experience.
1. Self-concept - This is based on various theories of personality. One is called the Theory of Interpersonal Needs. It states that each person has the following emotional needs:
|[an error occurred while processing this directive]|
Because we have these needs that only other people can meet, important people in our lives can influence who we become and how we end up feeling about ourselves. When these needs are met in healthy ways, we feel valued for being ourselves, competent, useful, admired, loved and supported. The result is a positive self-concept and self-esteem. When these needs are not met, we end up feeling worthless, empty, useless, unlovable and nasty. The result is a negative self-concept and lack of self-esteem.
Your self-concept acts as a filter, and results in your seeing the outside world the way in which you feel inside. How does this relate to stress? Good question! Poor self-concept (i.e. minimal feelings of worth toward yourself) may result in the perception that you are incapable of overcoming a challenge.
When faced with a situation that needs to be dealt with, you perceive it as threatening: STRESS! The moment a situation arises and it is perceived as a threat, to your weak sense of self-worth, you feel anxiety and fear because you're not sure whether you'll be able to handle the situation correctly, or even if you will know how to handle it at all! If you feel loved and positive about yourself, your strong feelings of self-worth and belief in your ability will give you that extra boost of strength to cope in the face of a stressor!
Positive self-concept provides you with internal resources that you can call on when dealing with a demand. It enables you to respond to stress and return to homeostasis.