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Stress Management Tools for Success LifeCoach321, Inc.

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1 Stress Management Tools for Success LifeCoach321, Inc.
2 Timothy 3:1 BUT UNDERSTAND this, that in the last days will come (set in) perilous times of great stress and trouble [hard to deal with and hard to bear]. LifeCoach321, Inc. Stressor Cheat Sheet Trouble at Work (Problems with Boss, Demotion, Fired, Laid Off) Working Hours or Conditions New Job or Job Promotion Excess Work Problems Sleeping (Insomnia, Anxiety, Pain, Health Issues) Overscheduled (Lack of Time, Time Pressures, Time Management Issues) Vacation Plans Club/Organizational/Church/Social Activities Graduations Finances (Lack of money, inheritance, unexpected bills, etc.) Foreclosures or Bankruptcy In-Laws Marriage trouble/Marital conflict New Marriage New Love Interest Illness/Health Issues Accident Injury Death Trouble with the Law Pregnancy Bringing someone into the home (Adoption, Elderly, Extended Family) Senior Care Children leaving the nest Residence (Changes, Moves, Renovation, Building New Home) Retirement Education (Beginning or Ceasing Formal Schooling) Environmental (Commute, Work Environment, Furniture and Ergonomics, Poor Lighting, Noise, Air Quality and Pollution)

2 STRESS MANAGEMENT, Tools for Success
Agenda Understand the true cause of stress and the body’s stress response Identify your personal sources and symptoms of stress Learn the four A’s of stress management Develop a stress management plan Learn your stress relievers Worksheet: Complete “Test Your Stress IQ” STRESS MANAGEMENT, Tools for Success

3 Test Your Stress IQ (True or False)
___ Excessive stress probably decreases the rate at which one’s body uses up Vitamin C. ___ A person under stress may feel confused. ___ Overload occurs when people are able to meet the demands placed on them. ___ A person under stress is usually able to perform tasks better than usual. ___ Some degree of stress is necessary for life. ___ Stress can lead to the failure of organ systems in the body. ___ Too much or too little stimulation is stressful. ___ High blood pressure can injure the heart even though there are no obvious symptoms. ___ The stress produced by a situation depends more on the situation itself than on the person’s perception of the situation. ___ High levels of stress can worsen diseases of the skin (Acne, Eczema, Hives, Psoriasis, Skin Allergies, Warts). ___People react to social stressors. ___Constant arousal due to stress can cause a person’s blood pressure to remain at a low level. ___Stress due to overload can result from demands that occur at home. ___ A person who is adjusting to many life changes in a short period of time is less likely than usual to become ill. ___ Thinking about an unpleasant event is never as stressful as actually experiencing the event. ___ Thinking of oneself as useless and powerless can increase one’s stress level. ___ The most stressful situations are usually those over which people feel they have a great deal of control. ___ Stress may decrease the body’s ability to defense itself against disease. ___ Severe stress may cause people to have accidents. ___ One of the most common trains of the Type A personality is doing only one thing at a time. F T T F F F T F T T T F T Answers: 1. T / 2. F / 3. T / 4. F / 5. F / 6. T / 7. F /8. T / 9. T / 10. F / 11. F / 12. T / 13. F / 14. F / 15. T / 16. T / 17. T / 18. T / 19. F / 20. T T F T T F STRESS MANAGEMENT, Tools for Success

4 Your Current Stress level?
(See Handout Test: What is Your Current Stress level?) This test is a useful technique for understanding the long term stress that you're experiencing.   It looks at the major life events you have experienced during the last year, and allocates an appropriate score to each of these. These scores are then added together, giving a total that shows the amount of major stress you have experienced during the year.   This scale is useful because it helps you understand if you've got just too much going on in your life – if you show a very high score, then you should take great care to keep your life as stable and stress-free as possible. If you fail to do this, then you risk stress-related illness and burnout, as well as experiencing all of the normal unpleasantness and loss of performance that comes with high levels of stress. To use the test, work through this list of life stresses, identifying those that you have experienced in the last 12 months. Enter the number of times that the event has occurred in the last year in the ‘Number of Times’ column. Never enter more than 4 even it happened more than four times. Next, work through each row of the table multiplying this by the value in the “Mean Value” column. Write the result in the “Your Score” column. Finally, total the “Your Score” column.

5 Current Stress Level Scores
If you have a score of less than 150, you have a low likelihood (30%) of illness in the near future. If your score is over 300, you have a very high likelihood of illness (80%). Different individuals have different abilities to cope with stress. If, however, you score more than 200, then you should be aware that longer-term stress is something you need to pay careful attention to. If you score more than 300, then you should take great care, and should urgently try to minimize the amount of stress in your life. STRESS MANAGEMENT, Tools for Success

6 STRESS MANAGEMENT, Tools for Success
Defining Stress An introduction to the topic of stress “It’s not what happens to you in life, it’s how you handle it that counts” The stress response occurs when you encounter a stressor (a perceived demand on your time or resources). We all recognize situations that are stressful Loss of Job Death and Illness Lack of money Lack of time Emotional turmoil There is considerable variation in the way we respond to more routine events Some feel panicky if they have a packed calendar, while others thrive on it. Stress is not an event or a situation; it is the way we respond to an event. We tend to think of stress in negative terms, stress is a necessary and normal part of life. Without it, we become bored and lose interest in life. Too much stress however creates a state of distress. It can lead to anxiety, depression, and a feeling that life is spinning out of control. STRESS MANAGEMENT, Tools for Success

7 STRESS MANAGEMENT, Tools for Success
The 4 Stages of Feelings Excitement (Eustress) Depression (Distress) Stress Anxiety Stress exists along a continuum Positive stress graduation job promotion falling in love Every day garden variety stress heavy traffic excess work time pressure Negative stress loss of a loved one Loss of job Researchers recognized that prolonged, unmitigated exposure to everyday stressors eventually leads to many of the same health problems associated with acute distress. In other words, you don’t need to suffer a tragedy or major life setback to develop stress-related health problems. A constant supply of everyday stressors is just as harmful. STRESS MANAGEMENT, Tools for Success

8 Stage 1: Excitement or Eustress
A mostly positive state Another way of responding to a challenge When confronted with a situation for which you are well prepared, you get excited as you anticipate a good experience. Excited feelings may be closely related to stress Burst of energy Rapid heartbeat Jumpy stomach Often feelings of excitement can alternate with feelings of stress, so you find yourself going back and forth between felling thrilled about how wonderful an upcoming event is going to be and tense that it might not work out as well as you hope. For example, if you are invited to a party, you may be excited because you will enjoy the social setting. The excitement may turn into stress when you begin to worry that it will be hard not to xxxx. STRESS MANAGEMENT, Tools for Success

9 STRESS MANAGEMENT, Tools for Success
Stage 2: Stress Product of being overwhelmed; having too much to do and too little time to do it. When faced with a challenge, you may have the confidence to handle the situation if only you had more time to prepare. Concern you will fail or disappoint someone or yourself. Feel pressure and responsibility to work harder, do better, be perfect. Pressure from others Pressure from ourselves Feel tense and irritable as your head hurts and your stomach ties up in knots. PREVENTION is the best approach. At the earliest signs of excitement or stress, take steps to minimize distress. Are you taking on too many tasks? Others asking you to do too much (work or home) Doing it to yourself by taking on tasks for others Do you go from Excitement to Stress or Stress to Anxiety because you too on one too many tasks? (The straw that broke the camel’s back syndrome) STRESS MANAGEMENT, Tools for Success

10 STRESS MANAGEMENT, Tools for Success
Stage 3: Anxiety Point at which you perceive something negative or bad is about to happen and you believe you can’t do anything about it (Fear of the unknown). Anxiety triggers could be anything from: a perceived physical attack to fear of feeling embarrassed in front of others You begin to worry about it over and over until you can’t get the upcoming event out of your mind. STRESS MANAGEMENT, Tools for Success

11 Stage 4: Depression or Distress
A state where a person constantly perceives life as threatening or dangerous People lose all hope about controlling these “threats” May become lethargic Feel they will never be able to change anything They give up trying to cope and feel worthless WARNING: Seek professional help if depression lasts an excessive length of time STRESS MANAGEMENT, Tools for Success

12 Pressure and Performance
The Inverted-U relationship focuses on people’s performance of a task. When there is very little pressure on us to carry out an important task, there is little incentive for us to focus energy and attention on it. As pressure increases, we enter the “area of best performance”. Here, we are able to focus on the task and perform well – there is enough pressure on us to focus our attention but not so much that it disrupts our performance. As we become uncomfortably stressed, distractions, difficulties, anxieties and negative thinking begin to crowd our minds. These thoughts compete with performance. Concentration suffers, and focus narrows as our brain becomes overloaded. The more our brain is overloaded, the more our performance can suffer. The more our performance suffers, the more new distractions, difficulties, anxieties and negative thoughts crowd our minds. The Failure on the bottom left = Lack of Performance due to boredom The Failure on the bottom right = Lack of Quality due to anxiety and unhappiness (Too much Stress) STRESS MANAGEMENT, Tools for Success

13 STRESS MANAGEMENT, Tools for Success
The Stress Response Human body is hard-wired to respond to all stressors in the same way. Whether: Positive or negative Real or imaginary Stressors (positive or negative) Body activates the sympathetic nervous system Fight or Flight response Human body responds to stressors in the same way – only the intensity and duration may vary Our bodies can’t distinguish between imminent danger and long-term, non-life threatening annoyances. Our bodies can’t even tell that the distress we may feel, over hearing a terrible tragedy reported by the news media or reading a heart wrenching novel, won’t impact our well being. New Information to work on: The bodies stress response is not something we can change (unless we introduce chemicals into our bodies, alcohol, cigarettes, carbohydrates, caffeine, drugs, etc.). “Fight-or-Flight” – hormones are released to help survival. These hormones help us to run faster and fight harder. They increase heart rate and blood pressure, delivering more oxygen and blood sugar to power important muscles. They increase sweating in an effort to cool these muscles, and help them stay efficient. They divert blood away from the skin to the core of our bodies, reducing blood loss if we are damaged. And as well as this, these hormones focus our attention on the threat, to the exclusion of everything else. All of this significantly improves our ability to survive life-threatening events. STRESS MANAGEMENT, Tools for Success

14 The Stress Response Cont.
Immediate physiological responses to stress include: Symptoms of prolonged stress or acute distress include: Increased heart rate Rapid breathing Increased blood pressure Sweating Muscle constriction Pupil dilation Adrenaline (which increases fats in the bloodstream) Rapid blood-clotting (increases risk for stroke) Physical Hypertension Insomnia Jumpy Emotional Depression Irritability Anxious Excitable Cognitive Difficulty concentrating Behavioral Overeating Procrastinating Review your list of stressors and think about the ways you experience negative symptoms from perceived stress. In this state, we are excitable, anxious, jumpy and irritable. This reduces our ability to work effectively with other people. Think about the stressors that you wrote down on the previous worksheet and the ones you discovered in the test. Think about the current symptoms associated with those stressors. Hypertension Insomnia Depression Irritability Concentration Overeating Procrastination Laziness STRESS MANAGEMENT, Tools for Success

15 What are your Stressors?
Excitement (Eustress) Job Promotion Falling in Love Vacation Plans Social Activities Depression (Distress) Death Job Loss Injury/Illness Stress Heavy Traffic Excess Work Time Pressure Anxiety Family Relationships Over Worked Potential Job Loss Trouble with Law Parenting Marriage Finances (Lack of money, inheritance, unexpected bills, Foreclosures or Bankruptcy) Environment Residence (Changes, Moves, Renovation, Building New Home) Bringing someone into the home (Adoption, Elderly, Extended Family) Environmental (Commute, Work Environment, Furniture and Ergonomics, Poor Lighting, Noise, Air Quality and Pollution) Senior Care Children leaving the nest Retirement Education (Beginning or Ceasing Formal Schooling) STRESS MANAGEMENT, Tools for Success

16 Understand?

17 Negative Stress and Your Health
Direct Physiological Damage to Body (Long term duration and/or intensity) Heart Disease due to raised heart rate and high blood pressure Damage to immune system (we catch more colds when we are stressed) Affects headaches and irritable bowel syndrome Some links between stress and cancer Associated with mental health problems Anxiety Depression Ulcers Harmful Behavioral Effects Heavy drinking or smoking as a way of getting chemical relief from stress Cutting down on sleep – unable (insomnia) or unwilling due to schedule Not eating properly Not exercising or engaging in physical activity STRESS MANAGEMENT, Tools for Success

18 Scriptures That Help! Psalm 23 (Amplified Bible) THE LORD is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me], I shall not lack. He makes me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters. He refreshes and restores my life (my self); He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him--not for my earning it, but] for His name's sake. Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my [brimming] cup runs over. Surely or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, and through the length of my days the house of the Lord [and His presence] shall be my dwelling place. Philippians 4:8-9 (Amplified Bible) For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them]. Practice what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and model your way of living on it, and the God of peace (of untroubled, undisturbed well-being) will be with you. 1 Peter 5:7 (Amplified Bible) Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully. 2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. Matthew 6:25 (Amplified Bible) Therefore I tell you, stop being perpetually uneasy (anxious and worried) about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink; or about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life greater [in quality] than food, and the body [far above and more excellent] than clothing? Matthew 6:33-34 (Amplified Bible) But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides. So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble. Romans 10:9 (Amplified Bible) Because if you acknowledge and confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and in your heart believe (adhere to, trust in, and rely on the truth) that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

19 Learn the Four A’s of Stress Management
Activity Activity is a stress reliever Adapt Adapt to stressful situations you can’t avoid or alter by changing your thinking, actions, or feelings Alter Alter situations you can’t avoid Avoid Consider your lifestyle and situations you find stressful and avoid needless stress Stresses in our lives cannot be entirely eliminated. In fact, some stresses are positive and allow for personal growth. However it is important to limit stress when possible. There are 4 main ways to cope with stressful situations: Activity, Adapt, Alter and Avoid. STRESS MANAGEMENT, Tools for Success

20 STRESS MANAGEMENT, Tools for Success
Activity Learn to Trigger the Relaxation Response Exercising relieves stress Burn off stress hormones After exercising, muscles are tired of tensing; so they relax and you feel relaxed Audio Listen to calming music Relaxation tapes Relaxation Techniques Relaxation breathing Hot bath, sauna, hot tub Prayer STRESS MANAGEMENT, Tools for Success

21 Activity: Practical Application
Health professionals have found physical activity and relaxation breathing techniques disrupt the stress response by introducing the relaxation response. Left untreated constant everyday stress leads to continuously elevated levels of stress hormones. This can, lead to: elevated blood pressure impaired immune functions muscle tension / tension headaches a host of other symptoms Physical activity: Can relieve a tension headache - it relaxes shoulder and neck muscles Makes you feel more energetic Burns off stress hormones Strong natural painkillers called endorphins are released during exercise and may remain in the bloodstream for hours - this accounts for the tranquil relaxed feeling of well-being some people get A good way to manage stress is through physical activity: Walking / Jogging / Cycling Stuck at your desk? Squeezing rubbery items like old tennis balls, specially designed stress-reducing handgrips, or even a balloon filled with sand or birdseed can help you release stress until you can actively exercise. Pressure Point Exercises Stuff you can do at your desk (Isometric Exercises) STRESS MANAGEMENT, Tools for Success

22

23 Relaxation Breathing Technique
Two Important Benefits: It reduces the state of physical arousal associated with stress. Specifically, it reduces heart rate, blood pressure and respiration, all which combine to produce a feeling of physical calm. When practiced regularly, it allows you to “turn off” your concerns and worries. It interrupts the sequence of stressful thoughts that may replay endlessly in your mind. Practice Tips Practice at least every other day . Try it for two weeks before you judge the value as a means of controlling stress. Select an appropriate time and place. Explain the technique to family so they will be supportive. Keep a record of efforts in a notebook. Avoid practicing immediately after eating. Digestive process prevents full relaxation. The relaxation response quiets your mind and emotions as it quiets your body. You can use this technique to control stress in daily life. The more you practice, the more relaxed you will feel. Once you become proficient, you can use this technique as a substitute for stress responses. Sit quietly in a comfortable position. Close your eyes Breathe through your nose. Become aware of your breathing each time you breath out, say a positive word to yourself. (Phil 4:11) Deeply relax all your muscles, beginning with your extremities and work up to your head. Keep each area of your body relaxed. Don’t worry about achieving a deep level of relaxation. Maintain a positive attitude and permit relaxation to occur at its own pace. Expect distracting thoughts and images to occur, but when they do, ignore them and continue concentrating on your “word”. When you are relaxed, visualize yourself in a pleasant setting, at the beach, in the mountains, or in a cool forest. (Use a photo as a reference – a favorite vacation for example.) Memorize this setting and recall it at other times when you want to relax. Continue for a minimum of 5-10 minutes. STRESS MANAGEMENT, Tools for Success

24 Quick RX for Stress Additional Ways to Manage Stress
Take several slow deep breaths Restate your angry or negative thoughts using neutral or positive terms Limit caffeine and other stimulants (Carbs, sugar, etc.) Drink plenty of water Exercise to clear stress chemicals from your system Additional Ways to Manage Stress Enhance time and priority management skills Learn to be more assertive Journaling may help relieve stress (provides foundation to build effective stress management techniques) Work on communication and listening skills COMPLETE Worksheet: Stress Management Contract STRESS MANAGEMENT, Tools for Success

25 STRESS MANAGEMENT, Tools for Success
Adapt Adapt your thinking by: Looking at stress as an opportunity Focusing on the positives in your life Putting the situation in perspective How much will this matter in a year? Is this worth getting upset over? Adapt your actions by: Slowing down Talking to someone about how you feel Avoid making matters worse by smoking, drinking, overeating, etc. Seeking information and advice Making time to pursue enjoyable activities Adapt your feelings by: Practicing relaxation techniques Exercising Picturing yourself in a pleasant environment Prayer Adapt to stressful situations you can’t avoid or alter by changing your thinking, actions, or feelings. By anticipating stressors and making plans to adapt, you can reduce the intensity of your typical stress reactions thereby reducing feelings of tension and anxiety. STRESS MANAGEMENT, Tools for Success

26 STRESS MANAGEMENT, Tools for Success
Alter Alter your environment by: Communicating your feelings clearly Changing the environment Commute Work Environment (Furniture, Ergonomics, Poor Lighting) Noise Air Quality and Pollution Time and priority management Practice anticipated situations Learn to delegate List ways to reduce your current stressors by altering the situation: __________________________________ You may be able to alter some situations you can’t avoid. Environmental issues can result in the stress response as well. Remember the body reacts to stressors the same way regardless of what they are. If the body feels that it will be hurt, the stress response is activated. Another way to alter a stressful situation is to rehearse it before it occurs. Anticipate what might happen and mentally imagine what you would like to say or do. Being prepared can reduce stress. You may find it helpful to practice with someone. Delegate chores to others, don’t do them all yourself. COMPLETE Worksheet: Think of ways to reduce your current stressors by altering the situation. STRESS MANAGEMENT, Tools for Success

27 STRESS MANAGEMENT, Tools for Success
Avoid Needless Stress For Example, try to avoid: Someone who constantly irritates you Traffic by leaving for work/home earlier Taking on additional projects Co-dependency Not being able to say “No” Discussions of a controversial topic List some stressors you can avoid: __________________________________ Recognize stress-related activities. Think about your lifestyle and the situations you find stressful. COMPLETE Worksheet: Which stressors can you avoid? STRESS MANAGEMENT, Tools for Success

28 STRESS MANAGEMENT, Tools for Success
Accountability Stress Management Contract Plan ways to implement the 4 A’s during stressful situations (Activity, Adapt, Alter and Avoid) Involve a partner in developing your contract for accountability and support Stress Record To evaluate how stress affects your daily life Complete after each encounter Review over the next week noting times when you felt the urge to react negatively in response to stress What coping skills can help you respond to the stressors you encounter in daily life? STRESS MANAGEMENT, Tools for Success

29 Stress Management Contract
My Goal Is: (Be specific about the behavior you wish to change or begin. How often? How much? When?) _______________________________________________________________________________________ The Stressors I Foresee Are: I Will Manage Stress By: I Will Reward Myself With: The Type of Support I Need From Others Is: I Will Involve __________________________________________________________ In My Plan. Signed ________________________________________ Date ___________________________ STRESS MANAGEMENT, Tools for Success

30 Stress Record for (Name) ____________________________
Date _____________ Day of Week ____________________ Time of Day __________________ Is This a Typical Day? ___Yes ___ No ___ Somewhat Duration of Stress: ________________________________ Setting: __________________________________________ _________________________________________________ Triggering Event: _________________________________ ________________________________________________ Your Reaction: ___________________________________ Physical: _________________________________ Emotional: ________________________________ Behavioral: ________________________________ Intensity of Stress: Very Little Very Much Rate the intensity Identify a Better Method of Coping With This Situation ___________________________________ Date _____________ Day of Week ____________________ Time of Day __________________ Is This a Typical Day? ___Yes ___ No ___ Somewhat Duration of Stress: ________________________________ Setting: __________________________________________ _________________________________________________ Triggering Event: _________________________________ ________________________________________________ Your Reaction: ___________________________________ Physical: _________________________________ Emotional: ________________________________ Behavioral: ________________________________ Intensity of Stress: Very Little Very Much Rate the intensity Identify a Better Method of Coping With This Situation ___________________________________ Keep records of events or situations that are stressful to you. Duration of Stress: Stress reactions vary in duration. Stress can be fleeting, lasting only a matter of seconds before it dissipates or it may linger for extended periods of time before you feel calm again. Setting: Identify the setting in which your stress reaction occurred. Were you at work, driving during rush hour, or sitting in your living room watching TV? Briefly describe the setting by noting the location, the circumstance, and the people involved. Triggering Event: Determine what specific event seemed to cause your stress reaction. The triggering even can be the actions of another person, a personal thought, a new situation, or anything immediately preceding your heightened feelings of stress. Your Reaction: Feelings of stress differ greatly from person to person. Select any descriptive word(s) that best describe your physical, emotional, and behavioral reactions to stress. Identify a Better Method of Coping With This Situation: After recording your source of stress and how you reacted, evaluate your response (s). List ways you might better deal with the situation in the future. STRESS MANAGEMENT, Tools for Success

31 PEACEFUL!


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