There is a difference between pressure and stress. Pressure can be a positive and a motivating factor, and is often essential in a job. It can help us achieve our goals and perform better. Stress occurs when this pressure becomes excessive. Stress is a natural reaction to too much unhealthy pressure.

What is stress?

Stress is your body's way of responding to any kind of demand. It can be caused by both good and bad experiences. Recent research shows that work-related stress is widespread and is not confined to particular sectors, jobs or industries. This kind of stress can negatively affect your mental health.

Work-related stress develops because a person is unable to cope with the demands being placed on them. Stress, including work-related stress, can be a significant cause of illness and is known to be linked with high levels of absence, staff turnover and other issues such as more frequent errors.

About the performance curve

The human performance curve describes how individuals function under differing degrees of pressure. When there is no pressure or incentive to fulfil a task, motivation and performance is low.

If pressures continue past the optimal performance point, effort becomes harder and performance is significantly reduced. Continued pressures often lead to ill-health and individuals being unable to function at work. This is where behavioural changes come in. Dr Michelle Vlok-Barnard believes in holistic, individually tailored and evidence-based client care, with an emphasis on wellness and the building of resilience.