Stress Management, Level of Stress, Stage of Stress

Stress Management

WHAT IS STRESS?

Stress is your mind and body’s response or reaction to a real or imagined threat, event or change.

The threat, event or change are commonly called stressors. Stressors can be internal (thoughts, beliefs, attitudes or external (loss, tragedy, change).

LEVELS OF STRESS

EUSTRESS

Eustress or positive stress occurs when your level of stress is high enough to motivate you to move into action to get things accomplished.

DISTRESS

Distress or negative stress occurs when your level of stress is either too high or too low and your body and/or mind begin to respond negatively to the stressors.

STAGES OF STRESS

ALARM STAGE

As you begin to experience a stressful event or perceive something to be stressful psychological changes occur in your body. This experience or perception disrupts your body’s normal balance and immediately your body begins to respond to the stressor(s) as effectively as possible. EXAMPLES

Cardiac - increased heart rate

Respiratory - increased respiration

Skin - decreased temperature

Hormonal - increased stimulation of adrenal genes which produce an adrenal rush.

RESISTANCE STAGE

During this stage your body tries to cope or adapt to the stressors by beginning a process of repairing any damage the stressor has caused. Your friends, family or co-workers may notice changes in you before you do so it is important to examine their feedback to make sure you do not reach overload.

EXAMPLES

Behavior indicators include: lack of enthusiasm for family, school, work or life in general, withdrawal, change in eating habits, insomnia, hypersomnia, anger, fatigue.

Cognitive Indicators include: poor problem solving, confusion, nightmares, hyper-vigilance.

RESISTANCE STAGE
MORE EXAMPLES

Emotional indicators include:

tearfulness

fear

anxiety

panic

guilt

agitation

depression

overwhelmed.

EXHAUSTION STAGE

During this stage the stressor is not being managed effectively and the body and mind are not able to repair the damage.

EXAMPLES

Digestive disorders, withdrawal, headaches, tension, insomnia, loss of temper.

STUDENT STRESS RATING SCALE

The following are events that occur in the life of a college student. Place a check in the left-hand column for each of those events that has happened to you during the last 12 months.

Death of a close family member - 100 points

Jail term - 80 points

Final year or first year in college - 63 points

Pregnancy (to you or caused by your) - 60 points

Severe personal illness or injury - 53 points

Marriage - 50 points

Any interpersonal problems - 45 points

Financial difficulties - 40 points

Death of a close friend - 40 points

Arguments with your roommate (more than every other day) - 40 points

Major disagreements with your family - 40 points’

Major change in personal habits - 30 points

Change in living environment - 30 points

Beginning or ending a job - 30 points

Problems with your boss or professor - 25 points

Outstanding personal achievement - 25 points

Failure in some course - 25 points

Final exams - 20 points

Increased or decreased dating - 20 points

Changes in working conditions - 20 points

Change in your major

Change in your sleeping habits - 18 points

Several-day vacation - 15 points

Change in eating habits - 15 points

Family reunion - 15 points

Change in recreational activities - 15 points

Minor illness or injury - 15 points

Minor violations of the law - 11 points

Score: _________________

INTERPRETING YOUR SCORE

Less than 150 points : relatively low stress level in relation to life events

150- 300 points : borderline range

Greater than 300 points : high stress in relation to life events

Note: From Girdano, D.A., Everly, G. S., Jr., & Dusek, D. E. (1990). Controlling stress and tension (3rd edition), ENnglewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.


I’M IN CONTROL - DISTRESS RELIEF STRATEGIES

Feeling good about yourselves can be an effective buffer against stress. Eliminate unnecessary worries.

Most worries are either passed on to us by another or conjured up in our imagination.

GET PHYSICAL

1. Relax neck and shoulders

2. Take a stretch

3. Get a massage

4. Exercise

GET MENTAL

5. Count to 10

6. Control your thoughts

7. Fantasize

8. Congratulate yourself

9. Ignore the problem if appropriate, after evaluation

10. Perform self maintenance

11. Talk to a counselor

GET SPIRITUAL

12. Meditate

13. Pray

14. Remember your purpose

USE YOUR BODY AND MIND TOGETHER

15. Take a break

16. Get hug therapy

17. Try progressive relaxation

18. Try yoga

19. Try aroma therapy

20. Laugh

DEVELOP NEW SKILLS

21. Prioritize daily tasks

22. Learn something

23. Practice a hobby



“What is Stress” Web Site. http//www.teachhealth.com

How to reduce and relieve stress “Web Site. http//www.family.com

“Stress Relievers” Web Site. http//www.residentassistant.com

“Massage” Downing, G. (1972). Massage Book. New York: Random House.

“Aromatherapy” Web Site. http//www/aromaweb.com/articles/wharoma.as

“Yoga” Web Site. http//www.kevala.co.uk/yoga/overview.htr


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