Effects of Stress

You are currently an associate at an advertising agency where you have worked for two years. You are pursuing a promotion to the position of advertising executive. While you have expected to put in extra hours and some added responsibility as part of earning the promotion, your boss has increased your workload significantly, including some projects which had been assigned to other associates. You have more deadlines than you think you can meet plus the creative pressure of creating new and innovative material for your campaigns.

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What steps of the general adaptation syndrome will I experience?

The answer really depends on how long it takes for me to either receive the promotion or be denied the promotion. The alarm reaction stage of GAS would probably be positive because it would mobilize the body to handle the situation. However, after continued stress, the body would enter the resistance stage which entails lower body response. Lastly, if the stress continues the body would enter the exhaustion stage and could lead to depression or other psychological problems.

What emotional and cognitive effects might this stressor produce?

Both emotional and cognitive effects can negatively impact the body’s response to stress. If the body enters the exhaustion stage of GAS cognitive function can be impaired because of prolonged anxiety. Likewise, the emotional effects of stress can impair the adaptive response of the body thereby canceling out any positives from the body’s adjustment to the stress.  

If this stress continues, how might it affect my health?

If the stress continues without a resolution the adaptive response of the body will be completely depleted. This bodily state could lead to depression, chronic headaches, or other psychologically related illnesses. The exhaustion stage of GAS serves as a final firewall to stress because it impairs adaptation to the point that the task in question can no longer even be performed, and therefore relieves the stressor.   

How might I resolve this situation effectively to reduce my stress?

There are only three reasons that the boss gave me more work: either he thinks I can handle it, in which case I would rise to the challenge; or he wants to see if I can handle it, in which case I would rise to the challenge; or he does not want me to have the promotion and is trying to sabotage my advancement, in which case I would rise to the challenge. The glass is not only half full, but it will be full very soon if I have anything to say about it (i.e. optimism).

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References

Nevid, J.S., Rathus, S.A. (2005). Psychology and the challenges of life: Adjustment in the new millennium. Danvers, M.A.: Wiley.

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