The Intertwining Complexity of Stress

Over the last five years since the inception of Stress to Strength we have been exploring the intertwining of the complexity of stress.

When people ask, “what is stress?”, we find the popular explanation by psychologist Richard Lazarus is easily understood by the person asking the question.

STRESS arises when individuals perceive that they cannot adequately cope with the demands being made on them or with threats to their well being.”

Five years on with the growing body of research in the field of quantum theory,we now have a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of stress.

This Weeks Video…

Healthy Ways to Manage Stress – 3 Energy Boosts – Dr Judy Hinwood

Over this past weekend while reading of the work of our 2018 Australian of the Year, Professor Michelle Simmons in the field of quantum physics, I was thinking about how scientists working in this area see things in a much expanded way.

The realm of quantum physics continues to expand, and it gives us greater perspective and understanding in many ways, of things in life we can find hard to understand.

Why does the same stressor stress one person while another person living or working in the same environment thrive under the same conditions?

In July 2015 Judy and I attended an extremely thought-provoking seminar at the Queensland University of Technology titled, ‘Future Ways of Thinking’. The international gathering of speakers kept touching on various aspects of stress.

As each persons’ brain is slightly different from everyone else’s, we thus respond to stressors in different ways.

Our entire brain is the interaction of the Survival brain which is the oldest part, the Emotional brain which is 150 million years old, and the Thinking brain which evolved 2 to 3 million years ago.

Stress over activates the Emotional brain and prolonged stress shrinks brain cells and brain networks.

When stress over activates the amygdala part of the emotional brain, it ‘hijacks’ it. As this happens over hard- wired (frequently used) pathways you need to retrain your brain by strengthening your prefrontal cortex,so it changes the way your brain responds to stress. We do this through focused brain exercise.

Another speaker pointed out that stress is multi-factorial, for example, bullying, time paucity, fear and illness, and these factors intertwine. That is, the causes cross over and affect multiple pathways and areas of the brain.

Thus, the ‘whole equals the sum of the parts’ principle does not apply to stress, as it is a non-reductionist entity, but is rather, complex and layered.

Currently we are field testing our Workplace Stress Management Services Program with a national organisation and we are becoming more and more aware of the complexities of stress in the workplace. We use as part of the process the Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire (COPSOQ)which is a highly insightful and actionable survey instrument and is proven to have high levels of statistical validity. It is a qualitative tool to gain insights from the organisation’s employees about their stress levels.

Part of the analysis process is having each participant complete the in-depth COPSOQ instrument which has 23 different dimensions. It measures in the qualitative areas of physical, mental, emotional and energetic wellbeing. These areas are the essence of understanding the effects of stress and its manifestations.

The Stress Management Institute® conducts training for those individuals who wish to become a qualified Stress Management Practitioner or Stress Management Facilitator and in 2018 we are launching a new short course, the Stress to Strength System Advocate. We invite you to embark on one of these exciting career courses for supporting people who are struggling to cope with stress. If you are looking for a career change, or you wish to add a Stress Management and Emotional Resilience specialty to your current career, please call us on +61 1 300 663 979 or email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The Best Stress Relief Blogs
Watch an
Video Summary
of Each BLOG
Build Emotional Resilience Training

Two Days of Unique Tools and Strategies

Read More

CLICK HERE for 2 Natural Stress Relief Guided videos

We can help.

Become a Qualified Stress Management Practitioner or Stress Management Facilitator

Download the Student Info Pack

Subscribe to our Blog