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Stress Management. UWA Psychology and Counselling Service. Online Stress Management Modules. Find them at: www.counselling.uwa.edu.au. Course Outline. Session 1: Introduction to Stress Management What is Stress Sources of Stress Symptoms of Stress Strategies for Stress Management

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Stress Management

UWA Psychology and Counselling Service

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Online Stress Management Modules

Find them at:


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Course Outline

  • Session 1: Introduction to Stress Management

    • What is Stress

    • Sources of Stress

    • Symptoms of Stress

    • Strategies for Stress Management

    • Awareness Exercise

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Course Outline

  • Session 2: Relaxation Strategies

  • Session 3: Assertiveness

  • Session 4: Thinking Styles and Stress

  • Session 5: Exam Anxiety, Time Management

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A reaction which occurs when the actual or perceived demands made on an individual overwhelm that person’s ability or resources to cope

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Why so stressed?

  • Stress is an automatic, evolutionary response designed to help us respond to threats

  • The “fight or flight’ response is responsible for our sweaty hands, heart racing etc

  • You can run faster, hit harder, see better, hear more acutely, think faster

  • These days, threats are more ‘perceived’ than ‘real’ eg. Deadlines and time pressure vs sabre tooth tigers.

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Stress and the Body - Fight or FlightWhen brain becomes aware of a threat sympathetic nervous system releases hormones to produce these changes

Mind becomes alert

Blood clotting and blood pressure increases

Digestion slows down

Immune response decreases

Sweating increases

Blood diverts to muscles and away from major organs

Liver releases sugar for energy

Breathing rate increases

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Chronic Stress

When under stress, blood is pumped:

To the musclesfor strength and energy

Away from major functions eg. digestion, immune system,sexual function.

If no reduction in stress occurs: chronic stress

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Chronic stress causes:

  • Problems with digestion such as irritable bowel syndrome

  • Susceptibility to flu and colds

  • Lowered libido

  • Sugar cravings because our liver is still releasing sugar = poor diet

  • Fatigue and anxiety due to the mind being constantly on the alert

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  • Understressed eg. Unchallenging job = Low motivation or low mood

  • Overstressed = Disorganised thinking, lowered performance

  • Optimal = Using the mind – body arousal to achieve peak performance

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Physical environment



Major Life Events

Daily hassles


Lifestyle & Behaviour

Negative self talk

Thinking Styles

Personality traits

Common stressors

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Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

  • Diagram of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, represented as a pyramid with more primitive needs at the bottom (air, food, shelter, warmth, sleep, sex).

  • We’re all motivated by needs

  • Must meet the lower order needs first

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What can be done?

  • Awareness of your ‘Stress Signs’

  • Relaxation Techniques

  • Learn Helpful Thinking Styles

  • Time Management Techniques

  • Effective Communication & Assertiveness

  • Rest and Sleep

  • Exercise and Fun

  • Supportive nutrition

  • Social Support

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General Guidelines for Stress Management

  • Make a personal commitment to the management of stress

  • Recognise stress management as being unique for each of us

  • Be patient and take time to change

  • Use proven stress management techniques

  • Approach stress management one step at a time – smaller changes first