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Stress Management for Busy Professionals: Techniques you can use Lynne I. Wagner, Ph.D. Associate Professor Department of Medical Social Sciences Northwestern.

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Presentation on theme: "Stress Management for Busy Professionals: Techniques you can use Lynne I. Wagner, Ph.D. Associate Professor Department of Medical Social Sciences Northwestern."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Stress Management for Busy Professionals: Techniques you can use Lynne I. Wagner, Ph.D. Associate Professor Department of Medical Social Sciences Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

3 Outline of Presentation Definition of stress Definition of stress Ways stress can affect you Ways stress can affect you Identifying triggers Identifying triggers Stress management strategies Stress management strategies –Identifying and altering stress-exacerbating cognitions –Stress hardiness –Active coping strategies –Time management –Relaxation techniques

4 WHAT IS STRESS? Stress is your mind and bodys response or reaction to a real or imagined threat, event or change. Stress is your mind and bodys response or reaction to a real or imagined threat, event or change. The threat, event or change are commonly called stressors The threat, event or change are commonly called stressors Internal: thoughts, beliefs, attitudesInternal: thoughts, beliefs, attitudes External: loss, tragedy, change, job demandsExternal: loss, tragedy, change, job demands

5 NEGATIVE STRESS NEGATIVE STRESS 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. 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.

6 Perception of Stress: LOW

7 Perception of Stress: HIGH

8 1. Alarm Stage 2. Resistance Stage 3. Exhaustion Stage STAGES OF STRESS

9 AlarmResistanceExhaustion Cardiac: Increased heart rate Respiratory: decreased temperature Hormonal: increased stimulation of adrenal glands Fatigue Muscle tension Sleep difficulties Anxiety Tearfulness Agitation Feeling overwhelmed Depression Digestive disorders Hypertension Bruxism Weight gain or loss Hair loss Endocrine disorders STAGES OF STRESS: PHYSIOLOGICAL EFFECTS

10 Is All Stress Bad? Moderate levels of stress may actually improve performance and efficiency Moderate levels of stress may actually improve performance and efficiency Too little stress may result in boredom Too little stress may result in boredom Too much stress may cause an unproductive anxiety level Too much stress may cause an unproductive anxiety level

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

12 Optimal Level of Stress Yerkes-Dodson law of arousal and performance

13 Identifying Stressors Situations, activities, and relationships that cause trauma to ones physical, emotional, or psychological self

14 Stressors School School Work Work Family Family Relationships Relationships Legal Legal Finances Finances Health/illness Health/illness Environment Environment Living Situation Living Situation

15 Work-Related Stressors: NURAP Deadline-driven work environment Deadline-driven work environment Time pressures, last minute time demands Time pressures, last minute time demands Stress level consistently high and chronic Stress level consistently high and chronic Conflicts in reporting structure, competing demands Conflicts in reporting structure, competing demands Unpredictable and inconsistent work flow Unpredictable and inconsistent work flow Job security Job security Level of responsibility Level of responsibility Long hours Long hours Lack of control over work quality of colleagues Lack of control over work quality of colleagues

16 Burnout Physical - Weight gain/loss - Unexpected hair loss - Heart palpitations - High blood pressure - Headaches - GI problems - Sleep difficulties - Fatigue - Muscle aches - Bruxism Emotional - Difficulty concentrating - Mental exhaustion - Mood swings - Anxiety - Depression - Apathy - Anhedonia - Hopelessness - Helplessness - Low self-esteem

17 Identifying Triggers: When theres smoke, theres fire - Identify signs of stress - Trace your steps to identify source - Use emotions as clues -Anxiety = Threat -Anger = Injustice -Sadness = Loss - Learn your strengths and vulnerabilities - Identifying and understanding triggers is half the battle

18 "You can't always influence what others may say or do to you but you can influence how you react and respond to it." Author Unknown (seemingly smart) STRESS MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES

19 Deadline STRESSORCOGNITIONOUTCOME Ill never finish in time No one else can help Ill lose my job Anxious Overwhelmed Frustrated Helpless Deadline Ill get it done, I always do Can anyone help? I will deal with consequences IF I miss the deadline Inspired Challenged Hopeful Productive Resourceful X X Technique: Cognitive Reframing

20 Last minute request STRESSORCOGNITIONOUTCOME They always come to me at the last minute No one respects my job This was intentional Angry Anxious Overwhelmed Frustrated Helpless Last minute request Maybe they dont realize how it affects me Maybe it was out of their control I can rise to this challenge Empathic Problem-focused Hopeful Productive X X Technique: Cognitive Reframing

21 Stress Hardy Personality Research has identified a subgroup of people who are more resistant to stress and better able to cope than others Research has identified a subgroup of people who are more resistant to stress and better able to cope than others Psychologists have identified personality traits that are stress protective Psychologists have identified personality traits that are stress protective –Commitment –Control –Challenge Executives with these traits had 50% decreased risk of stress-related health problems Executives with these traits had 50% decreased risk of stress-related health problems –Susan Kobasa, Ph.D.

22 Active Coping Model STRESSOR: WORK DEADLINE UncontrollableControllable Deadline Colleagues behavior Nature of the work Manage cognitions Break down project into smaller tasks Develop realistic timeline and goals for accomplishing tasks Prioritize competing demands Enlist help of others Bolster resources by engaging in health-promoting activities Emotion-focused strategies Problem-solving strategies Examples: Cultivate compassion Express negative emotions Seek support Search for meaning

23 Photo illustration by Fredrik Broden for Newsweek Stronger, Faster, Smarter Exercise does more than build muscles and help prevent heart disease. New science shows that it also boosts brainpowerand may offer hope in the battle against Alzheimer's. Newsweek March 26, 2007 issue http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17662246/site/newsweek/ By Mary Carmichael

24 Donald Miralle / Getty Images for Newsweek Physical Therapy: Research suggests that exercise can affect the moods and even relieve depression Exercise Is a State of Mind Researchers are learning more about how physical activity affects our moods. Is sweat the hot new antidepressant? Newsweek March 26, 2007 issuehttp://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17662247/site/newsweek/ By Michael Craig Miller, M.D.

25 Avoid Maladaptive or Passive Coping Strategies Maladapative coping strategies provide temporary relief from stressor however do not solve the source of stress Maladapative coping strategies provide temporary relief from stressor however do not solve the source of stress –Excessive alcohol consumption –Nicotine use –Use of illicit drugs –Overuse of prescription medication –Over-eating Passive coping strategies Passive coping strategies –Excessive sleeping –Social withdrawal –Too much time playing Guitar Hero

26 Boost Resources: Time Management

27 Time Management Use realistic thinking strategies to address concerns about what could happen if you do not complete everything on time Use realistic thinking strategies to address concerns about what could happen if you do not complete everything on time Let go of unnecessary tasks and limit number of tasks you attempt to complete at one time Let go of unnecessary tasks and limit number of tasks you attempt to complete at one time Use Daily Activity Form to assess activities completed, planned and desired Use Daily Activity Form to assess activities completed, planned and desired Managing Your Anxiety and Worry, Craske & Barlow, 2006

28 Time Management 1. Delegating responsibility 2. Saying no 3. Stick to an agenda 4. Avoid perfectionism Managing Your Anxiety and Worry, Craske & Barlow, 2006

29 Everyone has Good and Bad Times Find your creative/thinking time and most productive times. Schedule most demanding tasks during this time. Find your creative/thinking time and most productive times. Schedule most demanding tasks during this time. Find your dead time. Schedule meetings, phone calls, and mundane stuff during it. Find your dead time. Schedule meetings, phone calls, and mundane stuff during it. Professor Randy Pausch

30 Interruptions 6-9 minutes, 4-5 minute recovery – five interruptions shoots an hour 6-9 minutes, 4-5 minute recovery – five interruptions shoots an hour You must reduce frequency and length of interruptions (turn phone calls into email) You must reduce frequency and length of interruptions (turn phone calls into email) Blurting: save-ups Blurting: save-ups E-mail noise on new mail is an interruption -> TURN IT OFF!! E-mail noise on new mail is an interruption -> TURN IT OFF!! Professor Randy Pausch

31 Cutting Things Short Im in the middle of something now… Im in the middle of something now… Start with I only have 5 minutes – you can always extend this Start with I only have 5 minutes – you can always extend this Stand up, stroll to the door, complement, thank, shake hands Stand up, stroll to the door, complement, thank, shake hands Clock-watching; on wall behind them Clock-watching; on wall behind them

32 Time Journals Its amazing what you learn! Its amazing what you learn! Monitor yourself in 15 minute increments for between 3 days and two weeks. Monitor yourself in 15 minute increments for between 3 days and two weeks. Update every ½ hour: not at end of day Update every ½ hour: not at end of day Professor Randy Pausch

33 Other Helpful tips Changing perceptions and expectations Changing perceptions and expectations Break jobs/tasks into manageable parts Break jobs/tasks into manageable parts Set reasonable/realistic goals Set reasonable/realistic goals Avoid procrastination Avoid procrastination Set boundaries Set boundaries Dont compromise your values/beliefs Dont compromise your values/beliefs Schedule me time Schedule me time

34 Avoid the fallacy that you will have more time in the future than you have now: Make Self-Care a Priority! TIME MANAGEMENT

35 Diaphragmatic Breathing and Relaxation Practice Diaphragmatic breathing Diaphragmatic breathing –Triggers the parasympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system –Practice daily for 5 minutes –Employ breathing technique in response to stress Relaxation exercises Relaxation exercises –Guided imagery –Progressive muscle relaxation

36 Relax Our brain fires electrical waves at 14 or more cycles a second. Our brain fires electrical waves at 14 or more cycles a second. These are beta waves and are great for getting tasks done, but not for learning new things. These are beta waves and are great for getting tasks done, but not for learning new things. Taking a few minutes to relax deeply slows your brain waves down. Taking a few minutes to relax deeply slows your brain waves down. These slower waves are alpha waves. These slower waves are alpha waves. They occur at between 7 and 14 cycles a second They occur at between 7 and 14 cycles a second Studies show alpha waves improve learning. Studies show alpha waves improve learning. ----OnCourse by Skip Downing

37 Strategies for Mind and Body Relaxation Yoga Yoga Meditation Meditation Mindfulness Mindfulness Diaphragmatic breathing Diaphragmatic breathing Guided imagery Guided imagery Progressive muscle relaxation Progressive muscle relaxation

38 IM IN CONTROL - DISTRESS RELIEF STRATEGIES Feeling good about yourself 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. Try progressive relaxation 17. Try yoga 18. Try aroma therapy 19. Laugh DEVELOP NEW SKILLS 20. Prioritize daily tasks 21. Learn something 22. Practice a hobby

39 Importance of Engaging in Pleasant Events Adult Pleasant Events Schedule Adult Pleasant Events Schedule

40 39 Seven Habits From The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: Restoring the Character Ethic by Stephen R. Covey, Simon and Schuster, 1989 SHARPEN THE SAW This is the habit of self-renewal, which has four elements. The first is mental, which includes reading, visualizing, planning and writing. The second is spiritual, which means value clarification and commitment, study and meditation. Third is social/emotional, which stress management includes service, empathy, synergy and intrinsic security. Finally, the physical includes exercise, nutrition and stress management.

41 RESOURCES Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook (Davis, McKay, & Eshelman) Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook (Davis, McKay, & Eshelman) Mastery of Your Anxiety and Worry, Mastery of Your Anxiety and Panic (Craske & Barlow) Mastery of Your Anxiety and Worry, Mastery of Your Anxiety and Panic (Craske & Barlow) Little Ways to Keep Calm and Carry On (Reinecke) Little Ways to Keep Calm and Carry On (Reinecke) Mind over Mood (Greenberg & Padesky) Mind over Mood (Greenberg & Padesky) www.healthjourneys.com www.healthjourneys.com www.healthjourneys.com http://stresscourse.tripod.com http://stresscourse.tripod.com http://stresscourse.tripod.com www.clevelandclinic.org/health/ www.clevelandclinic.org/health/ www.clevelandclinic.org/health/

42 RESOURCES Employee Assistance Program Employee Assistance Program –Perspectives, 800-456-6327 Group-based Stress Management programs Group-based Stress Management programs National Association of Cognitive Behavioral Therapists National Association of Cognitive Behavioral Therapists –www.nacbt.org www.nacbt.org

43 Stress Management for Busy Professionals: Techniques you can use Lynne I. Wagner, Ph.D. Associate Professor Department of Medical Social Sciences Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine


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