Stress & Demands


Stress is also the way we respond in events where the demands on us are more than we can cope with. Demands can come from outside – things that you really do need to do e.g. work, clean your room; or from yourself - where you set your own goals and find it important to live up to them.

When a demand is placed on you, whether from others or yourself, there are different ways to react. Someone might think: “Okay, that’s fine, I can manage that really well”, yet another might think: “Oh no, that’s impossible, I will never be able to deal with it.”

So what makes people react differently to the same situation?

  1. Feeling helpless and not able to control what is going on can make stress worse
  2. Specific and general coping skills e.g. how confident you are of your driving skills before taking a driving test (specific), how good you are generally at dealing with difficult situations (general)



The healthy level of stress

Depending on whether you think an event is an issue (primary appraisal), whether you think you can cope with it (secondary appraisal), how helpless and out of control you feel, your specific and general coping abilities, different people can accept different amounts of stress. Still, we all follow the same basic pattern as seen below:


When we are bored, we tend to perform less and it can be stressful being bored and frustrated. As we become more interested in something, our performance improves and we become more energized and alert.

Therefore, the middle of this u-shaped curve is where we feel and perform our best. But if we become too stressed, our performance decreases and we become stressed and anxious.