Managing Stress A Balancing Act
What is Stress? • Stress is “any physical, chemical or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension” (Dr. Melissa Stopper, M.D., 2004) • A disruption of the bodies balance
Types of Stress Stress can be positive – Eustress Energy and motivation Stress can be negative – Distress/Burnout Overwhelming Poor management of life How you view the world depends on hoe you deal with stress It isn’t the event that causes the stress but your perceptions, beliefs, attitudes and opinions about the event that label and determine it to be stress.
I know I’m Stressed when… • Questions: • What’s going on with me right now? • How I feel? • Am I operating at maximum capacity? • Am I handling things that way I normally do? Let’s take a stress assessment! Stress manifests itself in several ways. But it’s always important to begin with some basic questions to help you determine whether or not you are experiencing stress. Have participants complete the stress assessment and share their thoughts/ feelings regarding it.
My Stress Type is… 6 Stress Types: • The Speed Freak • The Worry Wart • The Drifter • The Loner • The Basket Cases and Cliff Walkers Source: Richard Earle, PhD (2004) The Speed Freak is the one who says “if I give 110%, sooner or later, I will succeed.” And when you don’t experience feelings of success, satisfaction or accomplishment you push harder. The Worry Wart is the one who has difficulty turning odd their thoughts which paralyze them and creates frequents anxiety, tension headaches. This is the person who has grown more accustomed to worrying to the point of inaction. You usually spend most of your time worrying about all the possible outcomes until you end up doing nothing. The Drifter is the one who never finishes on thing before starting another. You get caught up in so many different things until you actually end up accomplishing very little. You have a list and just keep adding to it to the point of spreading yourself to thin. The Loner is the one who walks around as though all is well when it actually is not. You have difficulty with intimate relationships, feel lonely with little support for the difficulties you face in life and often either avoid or drop out of social events at the last minute. You also tend to have real difficulty in relationships due to feeling as though others would not understand your situation so you tend to avoid having them in some way. You may have relationships with co-workers but they may be superficial at best. The Basket case is the one who something is always wrong with. You have this ache or that pain or complain of being tired all the time. You can be the one to have the “whoe is me” syndrome. You also may come across as being lazy because you see and communicate to others that most activities are too much for you to do. The Cliff Walker is the one who has different health problems but actively thinks “it will never happen to me.” Usually suffer from high blood pressure, smoking, alcohol misuse, lack of exercise or proper dieting.
Identifying Stressors… • Multiple obligations/responsibilities • Lifestyle changes • Financial responsibilities • Health • Children • Relationships • Other expectations of us etc… We all experience may different responsibilities that we have to add on a daily basis that can cause us stress. Many of these responsibilities include things that we have to so and have no choice but to do, things we have to do but don’t want to do, and things we like to do but don’t get to do. All of these may cause some type of positive or negative stress. Lifestyle changes include making the decision to go back to school, having to drop out of school, change or losing a job or any change that impacts the life you live. Health refers to trauma, infections, illness, and injury. Talk about my fall last week on my way to work . Stressful for me because it was difficult for me to walk not to mention getting done all the things that I had been planning to take care of at the end of the day that now I either had to rely on someone else to take care of for me or put off for the day. Also, being pregnant or having kids slows you down and you can’t get as much done as you could if it ere just you can be just as stressful because there are loose ends that need tending to but you can’t.
Impact if Stress • Children • Increase risk of experiencing stress • Learn by observation • Self Blame • Be on the lookout • Irritability • Change in appetite, sleep patterns or behaviors • Anger • Fighting
Signs of Stress • Vary and depend on how you manage your life. • Feelings of anxiety, poor concentration, tension, increased/ decreased appetite, inability to rest well at night, irritability, inability to control anger, loss of interest in normal activities, headaches • Frequent illness, i.e. colds, etc
Balance • To bring into harmony or proportion • Set priorities • Say no when necessary • Let yourself off the hook Source: Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, 1990
When stress goes to far… • Burnout- physical or mental exhaustion • Overworked , overtaxed emotionally • Physically exhausted • Unable to cope w/ daily life • Lots of enthusiasm in life • Distress- overwhelming, chronic, • Exceeds your ability to cope well • No outlets/ release • May result in developing physical symptoms
Managing Stress Effectively • Rules to live by • Don’t over commit • Time management • Get plenty of rest and eat well • Establish a support network • Relaxation techniques • Progressive muscle relaxations • Exercise • Find what works for you • Decisions, Decisions, Decisions • Set priorities