Stress… Think about it • Try to identify some stressors (events or situations that cause stress) you have faced or are currently facing • Describe how you feel and act when under stress • Consider the following • Behavioral changes • Changes of thinking • Physical changes • Emotional changes
What causes Stress • Stress: the response of your body and mind to being challenged or threatened. • You experience stress when situations, events, or people make demands on your body and mind. • Eustress: = Positive Stress • Positive when it helps you escape a dangerous situation, promotes personal growth, and helps you accomplish your goals. • Distress: = Negative Stress • Negative when it decreases personal growth and accomplishes your goals. • Stressor: an event or situation that causes stress. • Major life changes Ex: Graduation, Divorce • Catastrophes Ex: Hurricane Katrina, 911 • Everyday problems Ex: loosing keys, forgetting HW • Environmental problems Ex: noise/weather
Stress on your body • Alarm stage- prepares the body for action. Body releases adrenaline, which causes your heart to beat faster, breathing speeds up, and your muscles become tense. • Fight or Flight response: initial reaction of the body to stress during the alarm stage. • Resistance Stage: During this stage, your body adapts to the continued presence of the stressor. Your body uses up a lot of energy during this stage causing you to become more tired and irritable, and less able to handle any added stress. • Exhaustion stage: Your body can no longer keep up with the demands placed on it. Exhaustion occurs only if a stressor continues for a long time-usually weeks, months, or even years. • Ex: extreme stress that is beyond one’s control such as death
Warning signs of stress • Behavioral changes: • Signs: sleep problems, overeating, under eating, talking fast, withdrawing from relationships. • Changes in thinking: • Signs: unable to concentrate, negative thinking, excessive worrying, self-criticism, critical of others. • Physical Changes: • Signs: tense muscles, headache, upset stomach, shortness of breath, increased sweating, pounding heart. • Emotional Changes: • Signs: angry, irritable, impatient, nervous, increased crying
Coping with stress • It is important to distinguish between stressors that you can control and those you cannot. • Cannot control: • Natural disasters: Hurricane Katrina • Major life changes: Death of loved one • Physical environment: Where you live with and who you live with • Can Control: • Everyday problems: improving grades
Techniques for stress control • Time Management: Setting priorities, breaking down large tasks into smaller ones, making a realistic schedule, and saying no to requests that are not priorities. • Time wasters: playing video games, watching tv, talking on the phone • Mental Rehearsal: You practice an event without actually doing the event. The event takes place in your mind as you imagine yourself performing at your best. • Solo at a concert, speech, athletic performance
How would you cope? Moving Starting High School Peer Pressure Describe the situation and then discuss tips to handle the stress. • Bullying • Sports Pressure • Test Anxiety • Rejection
Reduce tension • Physical activity: by doing something physically active, you provide your body with a healthy outlet for built-up energy and it gives your mind a chance to relax. • Do something you enjoy and incorporate it into your daily routine. Ex: taking a walk, playing the drums, etc. • Relaxation: the goal of relaxation techniques is to give your mind and body a rest. When you are relaxed, you may be awake and alert, but you are not responding actively to stressors. • Examples: read a book, take a nap, listen to music, play a guitar, stretch, hot bath or shower. • Biofeedback: people learn to control one or more body functions by monitoring their body’s responses. • Example: people with asthma may be able to reduce their need for medication by learning to control their heart rates.
Change your thinking • Avoiding negative thinking: Negative thinking only increases a person’s stress level and it becomes almost impossible to succeed. • Monitor your internal conversations closely. Substitute positive thoughts for negative thoughts. Example: Instead of thinking “I’ll never be able to do this” think “ I have done things like this before” • Act as a coach while you think about an upcoming stressful event. Example: as you do a mental rehearsal, give yourself positive messages such as “you can do it” • Humor: Allows you to deal quickly with a stressor and keep it in the proper perspective. Can be an effective way to ease tension and provide relief from stress.
Build Resilience • The ability to recover or “bounce back” from extreme or prolonged stress • Take care of yourself: Eat well, exercise, get plenty of sleep • Build a support system: Strong relationships with family, friends, and others • Take action: set short-term goals • Help somebody: volunteer or help a friend • Confide in yourself: write in a journal • Go easy on yourself: Cut yourself some slack • Put things in perspective: look beyond a difficult situation to a time when things will be better. • Find a problem-free zone: A place where you are free from stress. • Stick to your routines: During a major life change, keep to a daily routine
Support • Sharing your problems can help you see them more clearly. Just describing your concerns to someone else often helps you to understand the problem better: • Parent or other adult relative • Teacher, coach, religious leader • School counselor or nurse • Sibling or friend • Counselor or specialist
Stress and Illness • Severe or prolonged stress can affect your health. • Stress can trigger certain illnesses, reduce the body’s ability to fight and illness, and make some diseases harder to control. • Examples: • Stomachaches: • Disrupts movement of food • Increase gas, diarrhea, cramps • Increase acid which leads to ulcers • Asthma attacks: air passages narrow= coughing, wheezing, and gasping for air. • Headaches: (migraines) blood vessels in head narrow=Decrease in oxygen to brain=blood vessels must open wide=throbbing
Stress and Illness • Heart Disease • Frequent or prolonged stress can cause damage to muscle fibers in the heart and damage the lining of the blood vessels= increase in blood pressure. • Decrease stress = decrease in blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder • PTSD: Physical and mental illness resulting from severe trauma. • Examples: Combat in war, living through a natural disaster, rape, physical assault, life-threatening illness • About 4% of the U.S. population is estimated to have PTSD. • Diagnosis: Flashbacks, recurrent thoughts and dreams, outbursts of anger, easily startled, little interests in daily activities, feeling cut off from others, sense of having a limited future.