The science of stress

Rick Arora has put together an infographic on the science of stress. It shows how varied the reasons causing stress can be and how the effects of stress are not just psychological but physical.

As Rick explains, cortisol, a steroid hormone, is like the sidekick of stress. Even though we know stress has a psychological component, it is the physiological component (due to cortisol) that we need to be most concerned with.

First, stress is perceived psychologically in the brain, and is then transformed into a physiological component due to the release of cortisol. A simplified explanation of this process is that once stress is taken in at the psychological level, the hypothalamus signals to the adrenal glands to release cortisol into the bloodstream. The infographic below shows the various negative effects the added cortisol levels can have on ones health.

In addition to the negative health effects, stress gets in the way of normal life and it is important that individuals and employers recognise symptoms of stress and have tools to combat stress.

Rick suggests these tools for de-stressing:

Take some deep breaths


Eat Right

Limit Alcohol

Find a Hobby

Don’t Bottle Your Emotions

Get Some Sleep

Avoid Thinking About the Past

Stress affects individuals intimately but it can also have noticeable implications to organisations in reduced productivity and increased staff absence. Companies should aim to keep an eye on warning signs and to be aware of their employee wellbeing by monitoring and absence levels and reasons. A good way to do this is to use Engage for absence reporting!