Chapter 8 Managing Stress and Wellness
Introduction • We live in a stressful world. We need to learn to handle stress and use it to our benefit rather than letting stress control us. This chapter will help us learn about stress and discover different ways to manage it.
Discuss • What is Stress? • What do you find the most “stressful” in your current life? • How does stress impact your body? Emotional state?
What is Stress? • Several authorities have defined stress: • Hans Selye – studied stress for over 40 years and defines stress as the rate of wear-and-tear within the body. • Dan Taylor – a stress management consultant in Arlington, TX defines stress as the mismatch between an individual’s coping skills and the demands of his or her environment. • The Authors – conclude that stress arises when the perceived demands of a situation exceed the perceived capabilities of meeting the demands.
Types of Stress • Selye has described and labeled 4 basic types of stress:
1. Eustress 1. Eustress – defined as good stress or short term stress that strengthens individuals for immediate physical activity, creativity, and enthusiasm.
2. Distress 2. Distress – negative or harmful stress that causes us to constantly readjust or adapt.
3. Hyperstress or Overload 3. Hyperstress or overload – occurs when stressful events pile up and stretch the limits of our adaptability.
Hypostress or Underload 4. Hypostress or underload – occurs when we’re bored, lacking stimulation, or unchallenged.
Causes of Stress • In 2008, the Associated Press commissioned a survey of 2,253 undergraduate college students, ages 18-24 and randomly chosen from 40 4-year colleges. • Results: 7 out of 10 students attributed stress to school work and grades, financial problems, relationships and dating, family problems, and extracurricular activities
Causes of Stress • Stress consists of an event, called a stressor, plus how we feel about it, how we interpret it, and what we do to cope with it. • 2 words best relate to the actual causes of stress: Change and Threat
Causes of Stress • Changes and Threats fall into 3 categories: • Anticipated life events – graduation, a job promotion, entering college, marriage, birth, etc. • Unexpected life events – a serious accident, separation, financial problems, sudden death of a loved one, etc. • Accumulating life events – includes a dead-end job, traffic, deadlines, on-going conflict, etc.
Exercise • Turn to page 385 in your book. • Complete the exercise titled “How Much Can you Take?”
Discuss • Did you already have an awareness of the amount of stress in your life, or were you surprised? • Which area presented more stress-producing events in your life?
Daily Hassles • These are irritating and frustrating incidents that occur in our everyday transactions with the environment. • R. Lazarus, et. al believed daily hassles paint a better picture of stress than major life events
Daily Hassles: Examples: Page 354 Table 8.1 Common Daily Hassles
Exercise • Turn to page 383 in your book • Complete the exercise titled “How Vulnerable Are you to Stress?”
Discuss • What areas specifically cause you the greatest amount of difficulty? • What lifestyle changes have you considered making to cope with stress or lessen stress in your life?
The Power of Our Thoughts • Dan McGee, a stress management consultant, teaches that stress is caused by the interaction between the events in a person’s environment and how he or she interpret these events. • Modern stress theory agrees that what causes us stress is not what happens, but how we perceive what happens. • If our thoughts can cause stress, they can also stop it!
In Class Exercise • Page 393 in book, titled “Irrational and Rational Self-Talk” • Please complete this exercise giving both a rational and an irrational self-talk statement for each situation. • Please put your name on this page and turn it in.
Thought Stopping • Thought stopping, developed by J. Wolpe, involves concentrating on the unwanted thoughts, and after a short time, suddenly stopping and emptying your mind.
The Effects of Stress • Selye found that the body has a 3-stage reaction to stress called the General Adaption Syndrome: • The alarm stage – recognizes stressor, fight or flight. Body reacts – increased heartbeat, perspiration, dilated pupils • The resistance stage – This is a period of recovery or stabilization, during which the individual usually adapts to stress • The exhaustion stage – if stress continues, you become more receptive to physiological reactions and behavioral changes.
Effects of Stress • 3 out of 5 visits to primary care physicians are stress related • Absenteeism and turnover in the workplace continues to rise at very high rates • 1 out of 3 Americans has thought of quitting jobs because of stress.
Physical Effects of Stress • The physical problems are your body’s natural way of telling you that there is too much stress and tension in your life. • The physical problems can range from headaches, allergies, colds, asthma, to heart problems, ulcers, colitis, impotence, etc.
Behavioral Effects of Stress • Any behavior change could be a response to stress, such as insomnia, frowning, nail biting, grinding of teeth, acts of violence, etc.
Discuss • What physical and behavioral changes do you notice in yourself when you are stressed? • What are the first indicators that your body/emotional state is being impacted by stress?
Exercise • Page 389 titled “Type A and Type B Behavior” • Please complete
Personality Types • Are you a stress seeker or a stress avoider? • How does your personality type impact the way you deal with stress?
Type A • This person is usually aggressive, irritable, is driven to succeed, impatient, a real competitor, perfectionist, feels pressure even when relaxed, etc. • This person is more prone to heart problems and other physical problems. • It is estimated that about 40% of population if Type A
Type B • This is the opposite of Type A. • These people are seldom harried, usually patient and relaxed, not easily irritated, less competitive, etc. • It is estimated that 60% of population is Type B
Type A and B • A combination of the two personality types
Negative and Defensive Coping • When we cope, we consciously think and make decisions to deal with problems. • We use Coping Mechanisms – these generally do not make the problem go away, but help us cope with our problem
Defense Mechanisms • We may use defense mechanism to help us cope. Defense Mechanisms: • Distort and deny reality • Are primarily unconscious
Common Defense Mechanisms: • Rationalization – the explanation is reasonable, rational, and realistic, but not the real reason. • Repression – the exclusion of painful, unwanted, or dangerous thoughts and impulses from the conscious mind • Denial – When we refuse to recognize or acknowledge a threatening situation • Projection – when we attribute our feelings, shortcomings, or unacceptable impulses to others
Common Defense Mechanisms: • Reaction Formation – impulses are repressed, and controlled by emphasizing their opposite behavior • Regression – we psychologically return to an earlier stage of development • Sublimation – We redirect our desires to a socially acceptable activity • Displacement – A person redirects strong feelings from one person or object to another that seems more acceptable and less threatening
Gender and Stress • Gender and Stress: Men become increasingly focused and withdrawn, while women become increasingly overwhelmed and emotionally involved. • Men: when under stress and can’t find a solution, they cope by doing something else to disengage their mind from the problem, like reading the newspaper, fixing the car, etc. • Women: When under stress, to find relief, they cope by finding someone they trust to talk with in great detail
Suggestions for Men and Women in Relationship: • Men: learn to listen without giving advice. Talking is a women’s natural and healthy way of reacting to stress. If they feel heard, their stress will lessen, even if the problem hasn’t been solved. • Women: Allow men to disengage and ponder their own problems. They will be more likely to talk when they have discovered a solution for themselves. Quiet concentration, without an immediate need to talk is a man’s natural and healthy way of reacting to stress.
Exercise • Please complete the exercise in your book, on page 395 titled “Coping with Stress”
What Affects the Way we Cope with Stress? • “Hardiness” is a characteristic that seems to distinguish people who are resistant to stress from those that are not (Kobasa).
Hardiness • Hardy people differ from others in 3 ways: • Commitment (vs. alienation) – they have deeper involvement in their jobs and other life’s activities • Control (vs. powerlessness) – They believe they can influence important events in their jobs and other life events (what is this called?) • Challenge (vs threats) – they perceive challenge as a challenge rather than a threat to their security.
Hardiness • Recent research also points to being an optimist rather than a pessimist, as being helpful in adapting to stress. • Resilient individuals “bounce back”. They use humor, positive emotions, cognitive flexibility, cognitive reappraisal, social support, and optimism (Southwick, et. Al, 2005)
Coping Choices • When confronted with stress we can: • Change environments – move, change jobs, leave relationship, etc. • Change the environment – work to improve the situation causing stress, talk to boss, get marriage therapy, etc. • Change ourselves – get individual therapy, go to school to learn a new skills, etc.
Power of Self-Talk • Albert Ellis and Aaron Beck believes it is your belief – what we say to ourselves - that causes you to feel tense, nervous, or stressed, not the event itself. Activating Event + thoughts/beliefs = Feelings
Rational versus Irrational Beliefs—self-talk • Irrational Beliefs – results in inappropriate emotions or behavior. Debilitative emotions are caused by irrational beliefs. Irrational means it cannot be scientifically verified; there is no empirical evidence or proof • Rational Beliefs – results in appropriate emotions or behavior. Can be scientifically verified. Empirical evidence or proof to support the belief.
Characteristics of Irrational/Rational Self-Talk • Irrational self-verbalizations: Are a twisted form of absolute thinking and include: • Should statements • Awefulizing statements – consistently talk about how terrible or awful something is • Overgeneralizations – we can overgeneralize based on 1 piece of evidence and ignore the rest
Disrupting Irrational Beliefs (Ellis) • Monitor your emotional reactions – try to describe what you are feeling as accurately as possible • Describe the activating event – • Record your self-talk – write down your self-talk as accurately as possible • Dispute irrational beliefs – Decide if your self-talk statements are rational or irrational and explain why. Replace irrational ones with more rational ones.
The Relaxation Response • Sit or recline comfortably, close your eyes, relax your muscles • Breathe deeply – breathe in slowly through your nose and feel your abdomen rise • Slowly exhale – some people repeat a work or mantra as they exhale • If thoughts intrude, do not dwell on them, let them pass by and return to focusing on your breathe. Doing this exercise 10 to 20 minutes every day can put you in a generally calm mode.