What we know from research by János Selye

Stress is the response of a living organism to strain of any nature.

Two types of response may be distinguished:

1. active response (fight);
2. passive response (flight or toleration).

Any strain causing stress is referred to as a stressor. A common characteristic of stressors is that they mobilise the emotional system activated in threatening or unpleasant situations, or the  physiological system associated with alarming responses. (Dr. John W. Manson)

Stress may accompany unpleasant or pleasant experiences. In a neutral environment, the level of physiological stress is the lowest, but is never reduced to zero (that would mean death). Pleasant and unpleasant emotional excitement is accompanied by the corresponding degree of increase in physiological stress.

Similarly, the level of stress changes depending on the amount of stimuli received by the organism from the environment; both the absence of stimuli and excessive stimulus will lead to an increase in stress, which will occasionally cause distress.

Stress is not always attributable to a harmful effect. Whether the stressor itself is pleasant or unpleasant is irrelevant: its effect exclusively depends on the level of strain placed by it on the adaptability of the organism. Distress is harmful or unpleasant stress. Distress covers a large group of unpleasant and harmful stresses.

Stress is a broader concept than distress, and also includes pleasant experiences such as joy, fulfilment and self-expression.


Our stress management methods at organisational level

Improvement of information flow and communication at the organisation

The execution of tasks to high standard requires all information that supports the execution of each task. When the required information is not available, performance will fall short of the expected standard. Lack of information and inadequate execution increase the level of stress, which will in turn cause performance to decline. The inadequate operation of communication channels and processes leads to loss of information. When information is inadequate or incomplete, the operations of the organisation will be burdened by uncertainty, anxiety and confusion, which will lead to deteriorating performance. We support our clients in optimising stress through an assessment of the system of information flow and communication at the organisation, the identification of critical areas, and the implementation of development actions.

Specification of expectations, duties, responsibilities and decision-making powers

All of us have been in a decision-making situation when we waited for one another because nobody knew whose competence the decision actually was. Or when we waited for a colleague to complete a task which we assumed was within the scope of their competence, but we were wrong and the task remained open for a long while. Or when we thought we have completed a task to the best of our knowledge, but more was expected of us. Such situations will dent enthusiasm, reduce motivation, and thereby performance as well. We support our clients in the achievement of performance targets through the definition and specification of the expectations, tasks, responsibilities and decision-making powers associated with each job.

Reduction of administrative burdens and bureaucracy

Meaningful professional work, quick response and accurate compliance with deadlines could face headwinds from excessive administrative burdens and bureaucracy, which also inhibit creativity. Increased paperwork, or a long time spent waiting for decisions will decrease motivation, which will in turn cause performance to deteriorate. The screening of administrative procedures and bureaucracy enables burdens to be reduced, and creativity and motivation to be improved. We support our clients in the planning and conduct of screening exercises, and the development and implementation of action plans

Specification and optimisation of processes

Work could be stalled if the steps of the process concerned are not explicit, or the parties involved and responsible are not specified. Everyone waits for someone else, while tension escalates and performance falls. Duplication in the execution of tasks involves a waste of time, energy and money. We assess the processes of the organisation, formulate proposals for optimisation, and implement those proposals through defined actions.

Improvement of cooperation between organisational units

When organisational units blame one another, ignore one another’s work, fail to discuss shared problems, and work in perpetual unresolved conflict, they will not be able to meet their performance targets. Through our sensitisation programme, we support clients by enabling the employees of participating organisational units in gaining a better understanding of one another’s work, and the interfaces. In discussions, employees identify the areas where they count or may count on one another, resolving together the problems arising.

Development of managerial operations

It is a commonplace that other than the assignment and execution of tasks, managers are also responsible for the inspiration of their subordinates, since subordinates need an adequate level of motivation to meet their performance targets. Managers are responsible for creating an inspiring work atmosphere, which is not a simple task given the potential differences in subordinates’ needs. We support managers in identifying the specificities of their personal operations, determining the extent to which subordinates may rely on them for motivation, and incorporating elements into their operations that help them create an inspiring workplace.

Optimisation of work-life balance

Unless the company makes use of an atypical form of employment, this problem will inevitably emerge, especially in the case of parents raising small children. However, employees who do not raise children also have a need to get away from work and devote the largest possible proportion of their time to their loved ones, hobbies, sports or any other activities outside work. Not to mention situations when absence during working hours would be required for health reasons (e.g. for medical examinations). When employees do not have enough time for themselves, their level of concentration required for work will decrease at the expense of their performance. By mapping work-life balance, we propose interventions the implementation of which will improve job satisfaction and work motivation.

Supporting a sense of safety at work

A sense of safety is one of the most basic human needs. Without it, everyone will become disillusioned and demotivated, which will influence performance at the level of both the individual and the organisation. A clear explanation of the organisation’s vision, objectives, market position and opportunities enables members of the organisation to align their personal objectives with those of the organisation, which will improve their sense of safety and their performance. We support our clients in developing the vision of their organisations, defining the strategic objectives of the organisation through the assessment of the organisation’s market position, and selecting the method to communicate the objectives defined.

Stress management techniques at the level of the individual

Commitment and acceptance workshop

An evidence-based intervention method, the primary aim of which is to strengthen the capability of living a meaningful, value-driven life, and of accepting the painful internal experiences involved.

Mindfulness-based stress reduction workshop

An evidence-based intervention method, the primary aim of which is to teach how to manage stress more effectively rather than to reduce the number of stressors.

Meditation, conflict management training

Acquisition of effective methods to manage interpersonal problems and conflicts. Also facilitates efficient information flow.

Meditation, conflict management intervention

Collaborative resolution of an interpersonal conflict between two persons, facilitation of arrival at a win-win situation.

One-to-one mindfulness session

Strengthens the ability to live in the present rather than in reminiscences of the past or in a hypothetical future.

Katathym imaginative training for individuals and groups

In one-to-one training sessions, we work with daydreams and emotionally controlled images. This is based on the human ability of visually representing emotions and of taming them and bringing them under control in that dimension, thereby reducing internal tension and stress. Applied in a group, the collective imaginative method involves the interactional elements of entering into relationships. The group is dominated by “multipersonal” transfer, which enables internal conflicts to be contemplated, and social relationships to be relieved of conflicts.

Nonverbal training

Internal tensions and stress are reduced and social skills are developed at a nonverbal level through the use of elements of art, movement and psychodrama therapy.

Animal-assisted training

The presence of animals in itself has a number of benefits for humans (e.g. alleviation of anxiety), apart from which humans, with the support of animals, will become capable of things which previously seemed unthinkable.


Acquisition and practice of individual techniques that provide support in overcoming stress more easily by changing thinking.

Autogenic training

Provides support in overcoming stress more easily through the acquisition of a combination of visualisation and breathing exercises.


This millennia-old Chinese method helps participants to create harmony in themselves at the levels of actions, thoughts and emotions. The acquisition and practice of the method also supports health promotion.

Tai Chi

Also incorporating the elements of Qigong, this Chinese martial art supports concentration and balance.


A self-massage technique rooted in ancient Chinese and Japanese traditions. It supports the promotion of physical health, the achievement of harmony, while facilitating spiritual development.
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