Stress And The Concept Of Control

Stress is a common experience that affects us all. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including work, family, health, and relationships. While stress is a natural response to challenging or threatening situations, if it is not managed properly, it can have negative effects on our mental and physical health. One way to manage stress is through the concept of control.

What is stress?

Stress is a physical and psychological response to a situation that is perceived as threatening or challenging. It is a natural response that prepares us to cope with challenges and danger. The body responds to stress by releasing hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, which increases heart rate, blood pressure, and prepares muscles to respond quickly.

The experience of stress varies from person to person, and what may be stressful for one person may not be for another. Stress can be acute, meaning that it occurs in response to a specific event, such as a car accident or a deadline at work, or chronic, meaning that it is ongoing, such as long-term financial difficulties or a difficult relationship.

What is the concept of control?

The concept of control refers to the belief that we have the ability to influence our environment and outcomes. It is the sense that we have a choice in what happens to us, and that our actions can make a difference in our lives. The concept of control is closely related to the idea of self-efficacy, which is the belief that we have the skills and resources to achieve our goals.

There are two types of control: internal control and external control. Internal control refers to the belief that we have the power to influence our environment and outcomes through our own actions and decisions. External control refers to the belief that our environment and outcomes are determined by external factors such as luck or fate. People who have a high sense of internal control tend to cope better with stress, as they believe that they can take action to improve their situation.

How does the concept of control affect stress?

The concept of control can have a significant impact on how we experience and cope with stress. People who believe that they have a high level of control over their environment tend to have a more positive outlook on life and cope better with stress. They are more likely to see challenging situations as an opportunity for growth, and are less likely to feel overwhelmed by stress. In contrast, people who have a low sense of control are more likely to feel helpless and have a negative outlook on life.

Studies have shown that the concept of control can also affect our physical health. People who have a high sense of control tend to have lower levels of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress, and better immune function. They also have a lower risk of developing chronic health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.

How can we increase our sense of control?

There are a number of strategies that can help increase our sense of control, including:

  • Setting goals: Setting achievable goals can help increase our sense of control and self-efficacy. When we set goals for ourselves, we are more likely to take action and feel a sense of accomplishment when we achieve them.
  • Focusing on what we can control: It is important to focus on the things that we can control, rather than the things that we cannot. We can control our own actions and decisions, but we cannot control other people’s behaviour or external events.
  • Taking action: When we take action to improve our situation, we feel a sense of empowerment and control. This can be as simple as making a to-do list or taking a small step towards a larger goal.
  • Mindfulness: Mindfulness can help us cultivate a greater sense of control by helping us focus on the present moment and our own thoughts and emotions. When we are more mindful, we are less likely to feel overwhelmed by stress.
  • Exercise: Exercise can help reduce stress and increase our sense of control by releasing endorphins and improving our physical health.
  • Seeking support: Talking to friends, family, or a mental health professional can help us feel more in control by providing us with new perspectives and advice.


Stress is a natural response that can have negative effects on our mental and physical health if not managed properly. The concept of control is an important tool for managing stress, as it can help us feel empowered and reduce the negative effects of stress on our health. By setting goals, focusing on what we can control, taking action, practicing mindfulness, exercising, and seeking support, we can increase our sense of control and improve our ability to cope with stress.


1. What is the concept of control when it comes to dealing with stress?

The concept of control refers to the idea that individuals can manage their stress levels by feeling that they have control over a situation, or by actively taking steps to regain control. This sense of control can help reduce feelings of anxiety and helplessness, which are common symptoms of chronic stress.

2. How does a lack of control contribute to stress?

When individuals feel like they have no control over their environment or their circumstances, it can lead to increased stress levels. This lack of control can manifest in a range of ways – for example, feeling powerless to change a stressful work situation or feeling helpless in the face of a personal crisis.

3. What are some strategies for regaining a sense of control?

There are a number of strategies that individuals can use to regain a sense of control and manage their stress levels. These may include developing a proactive attitude towards stressors, investing time in self-care and stress management techniques (such as exercise, meditation, or therapy) and seeking support from trusted friends and family members. By taking active steps to manage stress, individuals can develop a sense of control over their circumstances and improve their overall wellbeing.


1. McEwen, B. S. (2007). Physiology and neurobiology of stress and adaptation: central role of the brain. Physiological Reviews, 87(3), 873-904. doi: 10.1152/physrev.00041.2006

2. Thayer, J. F., & Lane, R. D. (2000). A model of neurovisceral integration in emotion regulation and dysregulation. Journal of Affective Disorders, 61(3), 201-216. doi: 10.1016/s0165-0327(00)00338-4

3. Haggerty, K. (2019). The impact of control on the relationship between stress and well-being. Journal of Happiness Studies, 20(7), 2263-2276. doi: 10.1007/s10902-018-0076-2