Stress factor

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Dewakar Goel shares his theory of the causes of professional stress

In today’s fast paced world, our schedule is often very frenzied and we begin to feel stressed. Stress is indeed a typical disease of our time and specialists have defined it as the clash between the expectations of an individual and the reality.

The phenomenon varies from person to person and can be split into three main categories: emotional stress, psychological stress and physical stress. According to Dewaker Goel, General Manager of the Airport Authority of India, there is also a fourth type of stress directly connected with the problems of the profession that a person performs. This idea came to him for the first time in 2005 when he was writing his book “Living a stressful life with joy”, where he examined nineteen professions and the stress connected with their duties.

Among the persons there was quite a range, from prisoners to couples and housewives. “If we go beyond the clichés, we find out that a prisoner, during his detention, has some duties to carry on and, most of the times, these duties are very far from his own system of values,” he specified. Feeling the need to develop his theories under a scientific institution, Goel, at the age of 60, decided to apply, with success, for a Ph.D. under the tutelage of Sadhan Das Gupta, a professor of Applied Psychology at the University of Kolkata, and focus on five main professions: bureaucrats, teachers, nurses, lawyers and doctors.

“Stress is generated by the friction between the system of values that one has in his background and the events occurring while exercising a particular profession,” says the author, adding that “every profession has its specific sources of stress”. A bureaucrat, for example, will face several clashes between his values and his duties and the most frequent stress generator for this profession is corruption.

“As a bureaucrat, you know that if you accept the corruption mechanism you will not face any kind of harassment like frequent and unmotivated transfers or delayed promotions: you will live a stress free life. If you are an honest person, on the contrary, your system of values will obviously clash with corruption and you will face many problems: here comes the stress,” the author adds. The only way to avoid it is to change, through the profession, the procedures that can lead to a stressful situation. Stress, anyway, is not only negative and it can also help to keep a high level of concentration that can lead a person to achieve his duties.

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