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Stress Management ©. What Is Stress?. Mind-body arousal or response to a stressor — adversely impacts homeostasis (the body’s equilibrium) The human stress response is always real. The impact of stress and your reaction to it depends on the frequency, intensity, and duration of the stress.

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what is stress
What Is Stress?
  • Mind-body arousal or response to a stressor — adversely impacts homeostasis (the body’s equilibrium)
  • The human stress response is always real.
  • The impact of stress and your reaction to it depends on the frequency, intensity, and duration of the stress.
how can i tell what is optimal stress for me
How Can I Tell What Is Optimal Stress for Me?
  • There is no single level of stress that is optimal for everyone.
  • What is distressing to you may be a joy to someone else, because each person is unique.
  • If you attempt to eliminate all stress, you may become unmotivated, depressed, or bored.
  • Your personal stress requirements and the amount of stress that you can tolerate before you become distressed changes with your age.
endocrinology of the stress response
Endocrinology of the Stress Response
  • Adrenal glands produce
    • Adrenalin — increased heart rate and muscular tension
    • Noradrenalin — increased vasoconstriction causing increased blood pressure
    • Cortisol — increased fat mobilization, blood glucose, serum cholesterol, and muscle wasting
    • Aldosterone — increased sodium and water retention
  • Prolonged stress results in a limiting of the supply of protein required to form white blood cells and antibodies, thus weakening the immune system.
physiological effects of stress
Physiological Effects of Stress
  • The fight or flight response is triggered not only in life-threatening situations, but whenever you experience something unexpected or something that frustrates your goals.
  • Increased hormonal secretions and cardiovascular activity occur within minutes as a result of stress, even if no physical response is required.
  • It takes hoursfor the body’s organs to rid themselves of the by-products of the stress response and during this time these organs suffer, become fatigued, or, if the stress persists, can malfunction.
physical signs and symptoms of stress
Chronic fatigue

Chronic pain

Constipation or diarrhea

Dryness of the mouth

Elevated blood pressure


Increased heart rate


Rapid breathing

Sleep disturbances

Speech difficulties

Sweaty palms

Tightness of the chest, neck, jaw, and back muscles



Weight loss or gain

Physical Signs and Symptoms of Stress
stress is linked with illness and disease
Stress Is Linked with Illness and Disease
  • Migraine headaches and most other headaches are stress-related illnesses.
  • Heart attacks and high blood pressure have been proven to be caused by increased or continuous unresolved stress (more than one in five Americans suffer from some form of cardiovascular disease, with more than 2,500 Americans dying from it each day).
  • Stress has been associated with approximately 80% of all illnesses.

Dealing with the symptoms of stress is not stress management; preventing distress is stress management.

reactions to stress
Do not ignore what distresses you, but rather determine what causes you to be distressed

Assess how you are reacting to stress (i.e., becoming distressed)

Determine in specific ways how your body responds emotionally and physiologically to stress

Become more resilient in maintaining your flexibility and balance in dealing with stressful situations

Reactions to Stress
recognize what you can change
Can you avoid or eliminate some of your stress completely?

Can you shorten your exposure to stress, even if only temporarily?

Can you impact some type of change in the stress?

Can you reduce the intensity of your emotional response to the stress?

Recognize What You Can Change
attitude makes a huge difference
Attitude Makes a Huge Difference
  • The right attitude can make you more resilient in the face of stressful situations through the meaning and value you associate with various events in your life.
  • Many events are not inherently stressful; rather you can transform any of these into something that you experience or react to as stressful.
perceptions matter a lot
Perceptions Matter a Lot!
  • Your interpretation or perception of a situation will determine the level of stress that you feel.
  • If you feel threatened by a situation, you must judge whether your capabilities and resources are sufficient to meet that threat.
  • How stressed you feel depends on how much damage you think the stressful situation will cause you.
  • Affirmations are powerful, positive thoughts and words that are stated in strong emotional and present tense terms. 
  • Affirmations help build self-confidence and eliminate negative thinking and its associated damage.
visualization or imagery
Visualization or Imagery
  • Use your imagination to re-create a situation so that is becomes less stressful.
  • Envision an event as safe, peaceful, restful, beautiful, and happy and use this imagined place as a retreat from stress.
  • Learn good habits by repeatedly rehearsing successful performances in your mind, which allows for the pre-experienced achievement of goals and greater self-confidence.
successful stress management strategies
Successful Stress Management Strategies
  • Avoid interpersonal conflicts — life does not have to be a constant battleground
  • Develop mutually supportive friendships and relationships
  • Pursue realistic, meaningful goals
  • Expect and tolerate some frustrations, sorrows, and failures
  • Accept what you cannot change and develop personalized adaptations to the change that is inevitable
  • Relaxation and sleep help stress subside
deep breathing
Deep Breathing
  • Taking 10 deep breaths is a highly effective method of relaxation
  • It is so calming that the body relaxes further (by reducing muscular tension) with each breath.
  • Slow, deep breathing will bring your heart rate and respiration back to normal.
progressive muscular relaxation
Progressive Muscular Relaxation
  • Lie on your back in a comfortable position
  • Allow your arms to rest at your sides, palms down, on the surface next to you
  • Inhale and exhale slowly and deeply
  • Focus your attention on your breathing and breathe deeply
  • Count your breaths, and say the number of the breaths as you breathe in and out
  • Tense and relax the muscles of your face
progressive muscular relaxation18
Hold this tensed position for 15 seconds and then relax the rest of your body for 30 seconds

Tense and relax the muscles of your shoulders








Imagine the remaining tension flowing out of your body

Progressive Muscular Relaxation
stress management assignment
Stress ManagementAssignment

Identify the five major stressors that you believe will be associated with your chosen career. Describe the strategies that you will plan to implement once working in this career to avoid or eliminate these stressors, shorten your exposure to these stressors, even if only temporarily, impact some type of change in these stressors, and reduce the intensity of your emotional response to these stressors. Describe the role of your attitude or perceptions in managing these stressors.