Thursday, November 25, 2010

Stress management

It is the amelioration of stress and especially chronic stress often for the purpose of improving everyday functioning.

Stress produces numerous symptoms which vary according to persons, situations, and severity. These can include physical health decline as well as depression.

Models of stress management

In order to develop an effective stress management programme it is first necessary to identify the factors that are central to a person controlling his/her stress, and to identify the intervention methods which effectively target these factors. Lazarus and Folkman's interpretation of stress focuses on the transaction between people and their external environment (known as the Transactional Model). The model conceptualizes stress as a result of how a stressor is appraised and how a person appraises his/her resources to cope with the stressor. The model breaks the stressor-stress link by proposing that if stressors are perceived as positive or challenging rather than a threat, and if the stressed person is confident that he/she possesses adequate rather than deficient coping strategies, stress may not necessarily follow the presence of a potential stressor. The model proposes that stress can be reduced by helping stressed people change their perceptions of stressors, providing them with strategies to help them cope and improving their confidence in their ability to do so.

Health realization/innate health model

The health realization/innate health model of stress is also founded on the idea that stress does not necessarily follow the presence of a potential stressor. Instead of focusing on the individual's appraisal of so-called stressors in relation to his or her own coping skills (as the transactional model does), the health realization model focuses on the nature of thought, stating that it is ultimately a person's thought processes that determine the response to potentially stressful external circumstances. In this model, stress results from appraising oneself and one's circumstances through a mental filter of insecurity and negativity, whereas a feeling of well-being results from approaching the world with a "quiet mind," "inner wisdom," and "common sense".[4][5]

This model proposes that helping stressed individuals understand the nature of thought—especially providing them with the ability to recognize when they are in the grip of insecure thinking, disengage from it, and access natural positive feelings—will reduce their stress.

Techniques of stress management

There are several ways of coping with stress. Some techniques of time management may help a person to control stress. In the face of high demands, effective stress management involves learning to set limits and to refuse some demands that others make. The following techniques have been recently dubbed “Destressitizers” by The Journal of the Canadian Medical Association. A destressitizer is any process by which an individual can relieve stress. Techniques of stress management will vary according to the theoretical paradigm adhered to, but may include some of the following[6]:

First, recognize stress:

Stress symptoms include mental, social, and physical manifestations. These include exhaustion, loss of/increased appetite, headaches, crying, sleeplessness, and oversleeping. Escape through alcohol, drugs, or other compulsive behavior are often indications. Feelings of alarm, frustration, or apathy may accompany stress.

If you feel that stress is affecting your studies,
a first option is to seek help through your educational counseling center.

Stress Management is the ability to maintain control when situations, people, and events make excessive demands. What you can do to manage your stress?
What are some strategies?

Look around
See if there really is something you can change or control in the situation
Set realistic goals for yourself
Reduce the number of events going on in your life and you may reduce the circuit overload

Exercise in stress reduction through project management/prioritizing

Remove yourself from the stressful situation
Give yourself a break if only for a few moments daily
Don't overwhelm yourself
by fretting about your entire workload. Handle each task as it comes, or selectively deal with matters in some priority
Don't sweat the small stuff
Try to prioritize a few truly important things and let the rest slide
Learn how to best relax yourself
Meditation and breathing exercises have been proven to be very effective in controlling stress. Practice clearing your mind of disturbing thoughts.
Selectively change the way you react,
but not too much at one time. Focus on one troublesome thing and manage your reactions to it/him/her
Change the way you see your situation; seek alternative viewpoints
Stress is a reaction to events and problems, and you can lock yourself in to one way of viewing your situation. Seek an outside perspective of the situation, compare it with yours. and perhaps lessen your reaction to these conditions.
Avoid extreme reactions;
Why hate when a little dislike will do? Why generate anxiety when you can be nervous? Why rage when anger will do the job? Why be depressed when you can just be sad?
Do something for others
to help get your mind off your self
Get enough sleep
Lack of rest just aggravates stress
Work off stress
with physical activity, whether it's jogging, tennis, gardening
Avoid self-medication or escape
Alcohol and drugs can mask stress. They don't help deal with the problems
Begin to manage the effects of stress
This is a long range strategy of adapting to your situation, and the effects of stress in your life. Try to isolate and work with one "effect" at a time. Don't overwhelm yourself. for example, if you are not sleeping well, seek help on this one problem.

Try to "use" stress
If you can't remedy, nor escape from, what is bothering you,
flow with it and try to use it in a productive way

Try to be positive
Give yourself messages as to how well you can cope rather than how horrible everything is going to be. "Stress can actually help memory, provided it is short-term and not too severe. Stress causes more glucose to be delivered to the brain, which makes more energy available to neurons. This, in turn, enhances memory formation and retrieval. On the other hand, if stress is prolonged, it can impede the glucose delivery and disrupt memory." All Stressed Up, St. Paul Pioneer Press Dispatch, p. 8B, Monday, November 30, 1998

Most importantly:
if stress is putting you in an unmanageable state or interfering with your schoolwork, social and/or work life,
seek professional help at your school counseling center

1 comment:

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