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Taking Care of Yourself in the Aftermath of Trauma: Maintaining your Balance By Bryce Hagedorn Adapted by Philip J. Lazarus. What is “Stress Management”. Knowledge of the body’s reaction This includes the mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual factors associated with stress

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Taking Care of Yourself in the Aftermath of Trauma:Maintaining your BalanceBy Bryce HagedornAdapted by Philip J. Lazarus
what is stress management
What is “Stress Management”
  • Knowledge of the body’s reaction
  • This includes the mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual factors associated with stress
  • Utilization of several coping mechanisms
  • Regular practice of relaxation techniques
  • Periodic evaluation of the effectiveness of coping skills and relaxation techniques
rapid relaxing
Rapid Relaxing

Deep Breathing

Breathe from the stomach rather than from the lungs

Breathe in slowly through the nose and out through the mouth

Breathe in to the count of 5, hold your breath for a cont of five, and then breath out slowly for another count of 5

progressive muscle relaxation
Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Tension Awareness

Where do you feel tense or stiff?

Tense Muscles to the Count of Five then Relax to the Count of Five

Repeat as needed

Wear comfortable clothing

Remove distractions

Try different muscle groups

Practice, practice, practice!

what is balance
What is Balance?
  • Assigning meaning to your stress management
  • Creating a balanced life in these areas:
    • Spirituality § Exercise/Nutrition
    • Work § Friendships
    • Leisure
    • Love relationships
  • Involves the creative use of time management, the blending of activities, and the attribution of meaning
why are we not good at balance
Why are we not good at Balance?
  • The “crisis management” mentality
    • Lack of attention to our needs
    • Crisis occurs which focuses attention
  • Lack of encouragement from “above”
  • Desperate times call for desperate measures







letting go
Letting Go…

Of these needs, which one are you most likely to “let go” of under times of distress?

  • Hierarchy of needs
  • People choose to let

go based on:

    • Priorities
    • Past experiences
    • Perceptions






letting go of leisure
Letting Go of Leisure
  • The first to go (time after work/school)
  • “All work and no fun…”
  • Results
    • Feeling deprived
    • No time to regenerate
    • Not at your “prime”
letting go of nutrition
Letting Go of Nutrition
  • “I’m too busy to eat”
  • Eating on the fly
  • The physiological demands of stress
    • “I need energy, FAST!”
    • “I need carbs, STAT!”
  • Results:
    • Weight gain/loss, high cholesterol, poor nutrients
    • Physical/emotional “crash”
letting go of exercise
Letting Go of Exercise
  • “I don’t have the time”
  • “I don’t have the energy”
  • Some people count stress as exercise
  • Results:
    • Cardiovascular disease
    • Obesity
    • Unhealthy weight loss
    • Low energy / fatigue
letting go of relationships
Letting Go of Relationships
  • “But I don’t have time to take out the garbage.”
  • Initial tolerance of family and friends
  • Healthy relationships take consistent effort
  • Always risk of rejection and misunderstanding
  • Results:
    • Loose contact with a close friend
    • Are people avoiding you?
    • Loose a love relationship
    • Divorce / Separation
    • Loneliness
letting go of spirituality
Letting Go of Spirituality
  • “I don’t have time”
  • “What’s the point?”
  • Results
    • Ethical/moral dilemma
    • Life comes to lack true “meaning”
    • “How did this happen?”

Spiritual Distress

  • Loneliness
  • Emptiness
  • Hopelessness
  • Despair
  • Difficulty loving self or others
  • Lack of meaning
  • Loss of direction or purpose

Eating to De-stress

  • Eat breakfast daily
  • Limit sweets
  • Eat crunchy foods for comfort
  • Eat six mini-meals daily (every 2-3 hours)
  • Drink at least 8-10 cups of water/day
  • Avoid smoking and alcohol, limit caffeine
  • Eat more colorful fruits and vegetables
  • Plan, PLAN, PLAN


exercise as a stress management modality
Exercise as a Stress Management Modality
  • Detoxification of stress related compounds
  • Regular exercise actually increases energy
  • Moving meditation
  • Enhanced feelings of self-esteem and self-efficacy
  • Periodic solitude and introspection
  • Opportunities for social support
  • Endorphin theories
  • Fitter to fight stress and disease
improving relationships
Improving Relationships
  • Communication
  • Being open
  • Take a risk on a new relationship
  • Reestablish contact with an old friend
  • Making time
    • Schedule
    • Prioritize
  • Get out of the house!
meeting the spiritual need
Meeting the Spiritual Need
  • Use your car for quiet reflection
    • What can you learn about yourself?
    • How am I now wiser?
  • Listen to spiritual tapes
  • Meet with others
  • Make gatherings a priority
    • Find other times
  • Set aside 10 minutes
  • Take a long-term perspective
  • Is there meaning in tragedy?
    • Perhaps even a silver lining
be creative
Be Creative
  • Combine elements to meet multiple needs:

Plan a regular evening walk (Exercise) with your significant other (Relationships) and discuss your individual, couple, and family needs and goals.

once in balance stay in balance
Once in Balance, STAY in Balance
  • Commitment – a deep involvement and commitment to an ideal greater than oneself
  • Control – reactions to events
  • Challenge – facing change as an opportunity for growth and excitement
  • Coherence – all things will work out as well as can be reasonably expected
  • Choices – engaging in consistent health behaviors all the time


staying balanced
Staying Balanced
  • Easier to repair than to rebuild
    • Improve current relationships
    • Reconnect with old friends
    • Do something nice for someone each day
    • Try to give at least 3 compliments each day
  • Count your blessings
    • Write down one blessing each morning even if things seem hopeless—it always could be worse!
  • Cut your losses and move along—especially when your hope is gone
    • Can’t change the past
trust yourself
Trust Yourself
  • You will feel better in the future
  • We tend to over-estimate the duration of an emotion when predicting how long we will feel about some event
  • Unexpected traumatic experiences (e.g., loss of a child, paralysis, being sent to a concentration camp) often have less of a long-term impact on wellbeing than people expect

Be kind to yourself

    • Give yourself time to cope
    • No “right” way to cope or feel, everyone copes differently
    • There will be an answer, let it be!