Stress Management Phil Jorn University Counseling Services 785-4014
Definition of Stress • Stress is the “wear and tear” our body and mind experience as we adjust to our environment. • When we perceive a threat, our nervous system releases hormones which increase heart rate, blood pressure and muscle tension. This is known as the fight-or-flight response. Examples- getting into an argument with your roommate, forgetting an assignment is due, giving a speech, etc.
Good and Bad Stress • What the heck is good stress? • As stress increases so does performance and efficiency, but only to a point. Beyond that point performance and efficiency decreases. • Example-going out on a date • It’s important to be aware of your stress level
How do you know you’re over stressed? There are four areas where Stress affects you: • Feelings • Thoughts • Behaviors • Physiological response
Feelings • Anxious • Irritated • Fear • Depressed • Angry • Embarrassment
Thoughts • Negative self-talk • Difficulty concentrating • Forgetfulness • Dwelling on possible negative outcomes
Behaviors • Acting impulsively • Difficulty speaking • Increased smoking or alcohol use • Change in appetite • Nervous laughter • Performance reduction
Physical • Headaches • Sleeping problems • Tight muscles and/or stomach • Fatigue • Racing heart • Sweaty, cold hands • Neck and back pain
So what can I do to be psychologically healthy? • Address the three primary factors that affect your stress: • Mind • Situation • Body
Cognitive steps that lead to Anxiety Anxiety is the result of future-oriented cognitions. (most common focus is on failure and/or rejection) There are three cognitive steps to anxiety: • Something bad might happen. (produces healthy stress) • It must not happen. (produces unhealthy stress) • It would be awful if it did. (produces unhealthy stress)
Beliefs that create unhealthy negative emotions Dogmatic demands Awfulizing Low frustration tolerance Self/other rating Beliefs that create healthy emotions Non-dogmatic preferences Evaluating badness High frustration tolerance Not globally rating self or others MIND “People are disturbed not by things, but by the views which they take of them.” Epictetus, 1st century A.D.
“I must succeed!!!!!” “If I fail this test then I’m a failure” “If I don’t succeed they won’t love me” “If I fail I won’t be able to stand it” “I always get nervous, I can’t help it.” “I want to succeed but I don’t have to.” If I fail a test that doesn’t make me a failure.” “I don’t need others approval.” “I don’t want to fail but if I do I can stand it.” “If I work hard I can challenge and reduce my anxiety.” Irrational vs. Rational Beliefs Spend time increasing awareness of your irrational beliefs. Then work at challenging and replacing them with more flexible, rational beliefs.
SITUATION • Assert yourself-Don’t be afraid to say “NO.” • Plan how to avoid, reduce or correct a problem in the future. • “I haven’t failed, I’ve found 10,000 ways that don’t work.” (Ben Franklin) • Pace yourself and schedule time to relax. • If appropriate remove or escape from the problem.
BODY • Remind yourself to breath. • Give yourself “timeouts” to relax. • Refuel through sleep & good nutrition. • Exercise regularly. • Avoid caffeine, nicotine and other stress-packed chemicals.
Ways to Cope Change your behavior Change your thinking Change your lifestyle
The Importance of Time Management • Factors Associated with College Success and Satisfaction (According to Dr. Richard Light, Director of the Harvard Seminar on Assessment) • Getting to know faculty and staff • Studying in groups • Getting Involved • Taking some major classes early • Managing time well
Steps to Better Time Management • Identify and focus on your priorities • Assess your current use of time • Work on being assertive and saying “No!” • Ground your goals in reality. • Make a “To Do” list everyday. • Don’t waste time agonizing. • Include important tasks such as sleep, eating right, exercising and relaxing.
University Counseling Services • Free and confidential counseling to Truman students • 5 Full-time professional therapists • Offer individual, couples and group counseling • Open 8-5 M-F • Plus on call 7 days a week, 24 hours a day • Willing to do presentations to any group over a wide variety of topics • Referral assistance
University Counseling Services (660) 785-4014 202 Patterson (located west of Grim Hall) http://ucs.truman.edu email@example.com THANK YOU!! ANY QUESTIONS? Remember: RELAX, BREATH, BE FLEXIBLE
Managing your stress The ABC strategy A=awareness What causes you stress and how do you react? B=balance Where’s your line between positive and negative stress? C=control What can you change?
Change your behavior Become more assertive Get organized Ventilation Humor Step away from the stressor
Assertiveness Traits of Assertive people Respect themselves and others Take responsibility for actions and choices Ask openly for what they want Not reliant on the approval of others Allows themselves to say “no.”
Organizing your life Poor organization is a primary cause of stress for most people. Prioritize activities in your life. Set achievable goals Don’t waste time making excuses
Ventilation Develop a support group of friends you trust. Writing a diary or notes can help relieve stress
Humor Great way to reduce stress Relieves muscular tension Improve breathing Pumps endorphins into the bloodstream
Take a break Reduces stress Doesn’t solve the problem Increases your ability to think logically
Change your Lifestyle Diet Smoking and drug use Exercise Sleep Leisure Relaxation