TYPES OF STRESS Negative stress Positive stress
Negative Stress It is a contributory factor in minor conditions, such as headaches, digestive problems, skin complaints, insomnia and ulcers. Excessive, prolonged and unrelieved stress can have a harmful effect on mental, physical and spiritual health.
Positive Stress Stress can also have a positive effect, spurring motivation and awareness, providing the stimulation to cope with challenging situations. Stress also provides the sense of urgency and alertness needed for survival when confronting threatening situations.
The Individual Everyone is different, with unique perceptions of, and reactions to, events. There is no single level of stress that is optimal for all people. Some are more sensitive owing to experiences in childhood, the influence of teachers, parents and religion etc.
Most of the stress we experience is self- generated. How we perceive life - whether an event makes us feel threatened or stimulated, encouraged or discouraged, happy or sad - depends to a large extent on how we perceive ourselves. The Individual
Self-generated stress is something of a paradox, because so many people think of external causes when they are upset. Recognising that we create most of our own upsets, is an important first step towards coping with them. The Individual
Mental Symptoms Lack of concentration Memory lapses Difficulty in making decisions Confusion Disorientation Panic attacks Symptoms of Stress
Behavioural Symptoms Appetite changes - too much or too little Eating disorders - anorexia, bulimia Increased intake of alcohol & other drugs Increased smoking Restlessness Nail biting Symptoms of Stress
Emotional Symptoms Depression Impatience Fits of rage Tearfulness Deterioration of personal hygiene and appearance Symptoms of Stress
STRESS RELATED ILLNESSES Stress is not the same as ill-health, but has been related to such illnesses as: Cardiovascular disease Immune system disease Asthma Diabetes Digestive disorders Ulcers Skin complaints Headaches and migraines Depression
Part 2 Stress at Work
Why Do We Work ? Work provides an income and fulfils a variety of other needs: - mental and physical exercise, social contact, a feeling of self- worth and competence.
FACTORS INFLUENCING WORK STRESS The drive for success Changing work patterns Working conditions Overwork Under-work Uncertainty Conflict Responsibility Relationships at work Change at work
How Do I Know If I Am Suffering From Stress? Each person handles stress differently. Some people actually seek out situations which may appear stressful to others. A major life decision, such as changing careers or buying a house, might be overwhelming for some people, while others may welcome the change. Some find sitting in traffic too much to tolerate, while others take it in stride. The key is determining your personal tolerance levels for stressful situations.
TIPS FOR REDUCING OR CONTROLLING STRESS Remember that success will not come from a half hearted effort, nor will it come overnight. It will take determination, persistence and time. Some suggestions may help immediately, but if your stress is chronic, it may require more attention and/or lifestyle changes. Determine YOUR tolerance level for stress and try to live within these limits. Learn to accept or change stressful and tense situations whenever possible.
Be realistic. If you feel overwhelmed by some activities (yours and/or your familys), learn to say NO! Eliminate an activity that is not absolutely necessary. You may be taking on more responsibility than you can or should handle. If you meet resistance, give reasons why youre making the changes. Be willing to listen to others suggestions and be ready to compromise. Shed the superman/superwoman urge. No one is perfect, so dont expect perfection from yourself or others. Ask yourself, What really needs to be done? How much can I do? Is the deadline realistic? What adjustments can I make? Dont hesitate to ask for help if you need it. Meditate. Just ten to twenty minutes of quiet reflection may bring relief from chronic stress as well as increase your tolerance to it. Use the time to listen to music, relax and try to think of pleasant things or nothing. Tips For Reducing Or Controlling Stress
Visualize. Use your imagination and picture how you can manage a stressful situation more successfully. Whether its a business presentation or moving to a new place, many people feel visual rehearsals boost self- confidence and enable them to take a more positive approach to a difficult task. Take one thing at a time. For people under tension or stress, an ordinary workload can sometimes seem unbearable. The best way to cope with this feeling of being overwhelmed is to take one task at a time. Pick one urgent task and work on it. Once you accomplish that task, choose the next one. The positive feeling of checking off tasks is very satisfying. It will motivate you to keep going. Exercise. Regular exercise is a popular way to relieve stress. Twenty to thirty minutes of physical activity benefits both the body and the mind. Tips For Reducing Or Controlling Stress
Hobbies. Take a break from your worries by doing something you enjoy. Whether its gardening or painting, schedule time to indulge your interest. Healthy life style. Good nutrition makes a difference. Limit intake of caffeine and alcohol (alcohol actually disturbs regular sleep patterns), get adequate rest, exercise, and balance work and leisure. Share your feelings. A conversation with a friend lets you know that you are not the only one having a bad day, caring for a sick child or working in a busy office. Stay in touch with friends and family. Let them provide love, support and guidance. Dont try to cope alone. Tips For Reducing Or Controlling Stress
Give in occasionally. Be flexible! If you find you are meeting constant opposition in either your personal or professional life, rethink your position or strategy. Arguing only intensifies stressful feelings. If you know you are right, stand your ground, but do so calmly and rationally. Make allowances for others opinions and be prepared to compromise. If you are willing to give in, others may meet you halfway. Not only will you reduce your stress, you may find better solutions to your problems. Go easy with criticism. You may expect too much of yourself and others. Try not to feel frustrated, let down, disappointed or even trapped when another person does not measure up. The other person may be a wife, a husband, a child or a colleague whom you are trying to change to suit yourself. Remember, everyone is unique, and has his or her own virtues, shortcomings, and right to develop as an individual. Tips For Reducing Or Controlling Stress
Where to Get Help. Help may be as close as a friend or spouse. But if you think that you or someone you know may be under more stress than just dealing with a passing difficulty, it may be helpful to talk with your doctor, spiritual advisor, or employee for professional assistance. If need be, they may even suggest you to visit with a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, or other qualified counselor. Tips For Reducing Or Controlling Stress
Ask Questions to Yourself List the things which cause stress and tension in your life. How does this stress and tension affect you, your family and your job? Can you identify the stress and tensions in your life as short or long term? Do you have a support system of friends/family that will help you make positive changes? What are your biggest obstacles to reducing stress? What are you willing to change or give up for a less stressful and tension-filled life? What have you tried already that didnt work for you? If you do not have control of a situation, can you accept it and get on with your life?
JOB STRESS Job stress can be defined as the harmful physical and emotional responses that occur when the requirements of the job do not match the capabilities, resources, or needs of the worker. Job stress can lead to poor health. Job stress is often confused with challenge, but these concepts are not the same. Challenge energizes us psychologically and physically, and it motivates us to learn new skills and master our jobs. When a challenge is met, we feel relaxed and satisfied. But job stress is different - the challenge has turned into job demands that cannot be met, relaxation has turned to exhaustion, and a sense of satisfaction has turned into feelings of stress. In short, the stage is set for illness, injury, and job failure.
Approach to job stress Balance between work and family or personal life A support network of friends and coworkers A relaxed and positive outlook Job Stress
Job conditions that may lead to stress The design of tasks. Heavy workload, infrequent rest breaks, long work hours, and shift work are stressful. So are hectic and routine tasks that have little inherent meaning, do not utilize workers' skills, and provide little sense of control. Management style. Lack of participation by workers in decision-making, poor communication in the organization, lack of family-friendly policies. Interpersonal relationships. Poor social environment and lack of support or help from coworkers and supervisors. Job Stress
Work roles. Conflicting or uncertain job expectations, too much responsibility, too many hats to wear. Career concerns. Job insecurity and lack of opportunity for growth, advancement, or promotion; rapid changes for which workers are unprepared. Environmental conditions. Unpleasant or dangerous physical conditions such as crowding, noise, air pollution. Job Conditions That May Lead To Stress
Part 3 Self - help
Statement Not all the stress we experience is generated at work !!
CAUSES OF STRESS External Stresses Internal Stresses
Causes Of Stress External Stresses - Organisational Company take over Major reorganisation Company sale / relocation Employee benefit cuts Mandatory overtime required Little input into decisions Mistake consequences severe Workloads vary Fast paced work React to changes Advancement difficult Red tape delays jobs Insufficient resources Pay below going rate Technology changes Employee benefits poor Workplace conditions Consistent poor performance
External Stresses - Major Life Events Death of a loved one Divorce / separation Injury/illness ( self / family ) Marriage Loss of job Retirement Change in financial status Change of job / work Mortgage or loan Change in responsibilities Moving house Causes Of Stress
Recognise The Problem The most important point is to recognise the source of the negative stress. This is not an admission of weakness or inability to cope! It is a way to identify the problem and plan measures to overcome it.
Stress Reduction Techniques Progressive Relaxation: Progressive relaxation of your muscles reduces pulse rate and blood pressure as well as decreasing perspiration and respiration rates. The body responds to anxiety-producing thoughts and events with muscle tension which in turn increases the anxiety. Muscle relaxation reduces tension and is incompatible with anxiety. Typically, it involves tensing individual muscle groups for several seconds and releasing the tension -- allowing the muscles to gradually relax. Deep Breathing: Proper breathing is essential for good mental and physical health. The next time you feel a surge of stress, try a few moments of deep breathing. Sit in a comfortable position and take deep, measured breaths, e.g., inhaling while counting up from 1 to 4; exhaling while counting down from 4 to 1. Do this times and you are sure to feel refreshed. Deep breathing assists in relaxation by increasing the amount of oxygen in the body.
Visualization: If you think anxious thoughts, you become tense. In order to overcome negative feelings, you can use the power of your imagination to refocus your mind on positive, healing images. Get into a comfortable position, close your eyes and visualize a scene or place that you associate with safety and relaxation. It doesn't matter what you visualize, as long as it's calming to you. As you relax your mind, your body also relaxes. Thought Stopping: Thought stopping helps you overcome excessive worry, repetitive thoughts, and negative thinking, which may take the form of self- doubt, fear, and avoidance of stressful situations. Thought stopping involves concentrating on the unwanted thoughts and after a short time, suddenly stopping and emptying your mind, by using the mental command "stop" or a loud noise to interrupt negative thinking. Then, you may use thought substitution to focus on positive thoughts and outcomes. If the thoughts can be controlled, stress levels can be significantly reduced. Stress Reduction Techniques
STRESS CONTROL A B C STRATEGY
A = AWARENESS What causes you stress? How do you react?
ABC Strategy B = BALANCE There is a fine line between positive / negative stress How much can you cope with before it becomes negative ?
C = CONTROL What can you do to help yourself combat the negative effects of stress ? ABC Strategy
STRESS MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES Change your thinking Change your behaviour Change your lifestyle
Stress Management Techniques Change your Thinking Re-framing Positive thinking
Re-framing Re-framing is a technique to change the way you look at things in order to feel better about them. There are many ways to interpret the same situation so pick the one you like. Re-framing does not change the external reality, but helps you view things in a different light and less stressfully. Stress Management Techniques
Positive Thinking Forget powerlessness, dejection, despair, failure Stress leaves us vulnerable to negative suggestion so focus on positives: Focus on your strengths Learn from the stress you are under Look for opportunities Seek out the positive - make a change. Stress Management Techniques
Change your Behaviour Be assertive Get organised Ventilation Humour Diversion and distraction Stress Management Techniques
Be Assertive Assertiveness helps to manage stressful situations, and will, in time, help to reduce their frequency. Lack of assertiveness often shows low self - esteem and low self - confidence. Extending our range of communication skills will improve our assertiveness. Change Your Behaviour
Equality and Basic Rights 1) The right to express my feelings 2) The right to express opinions/beliefs 3) The right to say Yes/No for yourself 4) Right to change your mind 5) Right to say I dont understand 6) Right to be yourself, not acting for the benefit of others 7) The right to decline responsibility for other peoples problems 8) The right to make reasonable requests to others 9) The right to set my own priorities 10) The right to be listened to, and taken seriously Change Your Behaviour
Benefits Higher self-esteem Less self-conscious Less anxious Manage stress more successfully Appreciate yourself and others more easily Feeling of self-control Change Your Behaviour
Get Organised Poor organisation is one of the most common causes of stress. Structured approaches offer security against out of the blue problems. Prioritising objectives, duties and activities makes them manageable and achievable. Dont overload your mind. Organisation will help avoid personal and professional chaos. Change Your Behaviour
Time Management Make a list What MUST be done What SHOULD be done What would you LIKE to do Cut out time wasting Learn to drop unimportant activities Say no or delegate Change Your Behaviour
Ventilation A problem shared is a problem halved Develop a support network through friends or colleagues to talk with. Its not always events that are stressful but how we perceive them. Writing a diary or notes may help release feelings but do not re-read what has been written. Change Your Behaviour
Humour Good stress - reducer Applies at home and work Relieves muscular tension Improves breathing Change Your Behaviour
Diversion And Distraction Take time out Get away from things that bother you Reduce stress level Calm down Think logically Change Your Behaviour
Benefits of Exercise Improves blood circulation Lowers blood pressure Clears the mind of worrying thoughts Improves self image Makes you feel better about yourself Increases social contact Change Your Lifestyle
Sleep Good stress reducer Difficult to cope when tired Wake refreshed after nights sleep Plenty of daytime energy Change Your Lifestyle
Leisure Gives you a break from stresses Provides outlet for relief Provides social contact Change Your Lifestyle