Take the Stress Test Do any of these apply to you?
Work Load 1.Always too much work; never able to relax 2.High Pressure periods; deadlines, test come all at once 3.One or two difficult courses take all my time; no time left for anything else 4.Efforts often seem for nothing – Dont get satisfying results
5. Seems like I have a lot more work than roommate, friends 6. I have to work harder than roommate and friends to get the same results 7. My job takes up too much time; I cant afford to cut back 8. My stress is complicated by commitments I cant get out of
If you said yes to many work stressors… …you might consider one of the following: Consult with a counselor about time management and/or priority setting Seek out a tutor or other study skills help Talk to the career center about work style
People 1.Tension with family, friends or romantic partner 2.Incompatibility with roommates habits, schedule, lifestyle 3.Change in relationship; love lost/gained new romantic partner 4.Death of a close friend or family member
5. Parents divorce, separation or conflicts. Adjustment to parents new partner. 6. Interpersonal conflict; trouble expressing needs or standing up for rights 7. Reluctant to ask for help 8. Trouble saying no
If you said yes to many people stressors… …you might consider one of the following: Talk to a friend, RA or counselor about the problem Go to a program on assertiveness training and/or conflict Take an interpersonal communication class
Mind 1.Worry about what people think? 2.More time spent thinking about what can go wrong than what can go right 3.More time spent thinking about what DID go wrong than where you can go from here 4.No time to think, always having to do
5. Motivation problems, difficulty getting started 6. Tendency to get too worked up when under pressure or in a crisis 7. Tendency to get down, dwell on how bad things are 8. Often feel guilty
If you said yes to many mind stressors… …you are experiencing a lot of internally generated stress. Information or counseling on self talk, irrational beliefs and reinterpretation might be a good place to start.
Body 1.Insufficient sleep 2.Frequent colds, sickness 3.Negative effects from caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, etc. 4.Uncomfortable chair, poor posture, excessive time hunched over book or computer.
If you said yes to many body stressors… …then try the following: -Exercise regularly -Choose healthy foods -Change your environment (lighting, space, etc.) -Reduce or eliminate caffeine, nicotine and alcohol intake -Get enough sleep
So… What can you do to alleviate excessive stress?
Become Aware of Your Stressors and Emotional and Physical Reactions - Notice when you are stressed, dont ignore it -Find out what stresses you out and what they might be telling you -Learn how it affects your body (sweats, stomach ache, etc)
Recognize what you can change Can you change your stressors by avoiding or eliminating them? Can you reduce their intensity (manage them over time instead of immediately) Can you shorten your exposure to stress (take a break, leave) Can you devote the time necessary to make a change?
Reduce the intensity of your emotional reactions Are you expecting to please everyone? Are you overreacting and viewing things as absolutely critical and urgent? Work at adopting moderate views, see stress as something you can cope with, not something that overpowers you Do not labor on the negative and/or the what ifs
Learn to moderate your physical reactions to stress Slow, deep breathing will bring your heart rate and respiration back to normal Relaxation techniques can reduce muscle tension. Medications, when prescribed by a physician can help in the short term.
Build your physical reserves. Exercise for cardiovascular fitness 3 – 4 times a week Eat well-balanced, nutritious meals Maintain your ideal weight Avoid nicotine, excessive caffeine and other stimulants Mix leisure with work. Take breaks and get away. Get enough sleep. Be consistent with your sleep schedule.
Maintain your emotional reserves Develop mutually supportive friendships/relationships. Pursue realistic goals which are meaningful to you, rather than goals other have for you that you do not share. Expect some frustrations, failures and sorrows. Always be kind and gentle with yourself – be a friend to yourself.
Eliminating Stress From Your Environment A poorly organized living space can be a major source of stress. If your environment is well organized and pleasant, then it can help to reduce stress and increase productivity. Some people under stress need a calm environment, others may enjoy the raised levels of arousal associated with the 'buzz' of a busy space.
To improve air quality: Ban smoking Open windows Use an ioniser Have plants in the room.
Bad lighting can cause eye strain and increase fatigue, as can light that is too bright, or light that shines directly into your eyes. Fluorescent lighting can also be tiring. What you may not appreciate is that the quality of light may also be important. Try experimenting with working by a window or using full spectrum bulbs in your desk lamp. You will probably find that this improves the quality of your working environment.
Decoration and Tidiness A chaotic and cluttered living or work space adds to stress. Dont be dogmatic, but keep the area you are working in free of clutter. Have calming and happy decorations.
Large amounts of background noise during the day can cause irritability, tension and headaches in addition to loss of concentration. Solutions: use of quiet rooms when concentration is needed Use earplugs Try a pleasantly assertive approach. Ask that music is turned down or that the person use headphones
It is important for people to feel that they have sufficient personal space at work and at home. Where no personal space is available, then you can establish some feeling of ownership by bringing personal objects such as small plants or photographs of loved-ones. Block off a space using furniture, sheet or divider when you need some space.
The essence of meditation is to quiet your thoughts by focusing completely on just one thing. Unlike hypnosis, which is more of a passive experience, meditation is an active process which seeks to exclude outside thoughts by concentrating all mental faculties on the subject of meditation. Keep your body relaxed. It should be in a position that you can comfortably sustain for a period of time (20 - 30 minutes is ideal).
Focus your attention on your breathing. Concentrate on breaths in and out. Count your breaths using the numbers 0 to 9. Visualize images of the numbers changing with each breath. Alternatively, visualize health and relaxation flowing into your body when you inhale, and stress or pain flowing out when you exhale.
Focusing on an object Completely focus attention on examination of an object. Look at it in immense detail for the entire meditation. Examine the shape, color differences, texture, temperature and movement of the object. Objects often used are flowers, or flowing designs. However you can use other objects equally effectively (e.g. alarm clocks, desk lamps, or even coffee mugs!)
Some people like to focus on sounds. The classic example is the Sanskrit word 'Om', meaning 'perfection'.
Create a mental image of a pleasant and relaxing place in your mind. Involve all your senses in the imagery: see the place, hear the sounds, smell the aromas, feel the temperature and the movement of the wind. Enjoy the location in your mind.