CONTENTS What is stress The stages of stress Causes of stress External and internal factors Signs and symptoms of stress Relaxation techniques for stress relief Meetings of a partner project group in Poland
Stress is a normal physical response to events that make you feel threatened or upset your balance in some way. When you sense danger – whether it is real or imagined – the body’s defenses kick into high gear in a rapid, automatic process known as the “fight-or-flight “ reaction or the stress response. The stress response is the body’s way of protecting you. When working properly, -it helps you stay focused, energetic and alert. -it also helps to rise to meet challenges. Stress is what keeps you on your toes while different important activities ( for example during a presentation at an important meeting ).
But beyond a certain point, stress stops being helpful and starts causing major damages to your health, mood, quality of life. It is important to learn how to recognize when your stress levels are out of control because it affects the mind, body and behaviour. Different people experience stress differently. Stress comes in many forms and affects people of all ages.
The situations and pressures that cause stress are known as stressors. Everything that puts high demands on you or forces you to adjust can be stressful. This includes even positive emotions such as getting married, buying a house, receiving a promotion or winning a lottery.
Both negative and positive stressors can lead to stress. The intensity and duration of stress depends on the circumstances and emotional conditions of the person suffering from it. What is stressful to you may be quite different from what is stressful to someone else. One person can be terrified of standing in front of people to perform or speak while another one lives for the spotlight.
Stress is related to both external and internal factors. Common internal causes of stress: Inability to accept uncertainty Pessimism Unrealistic expectations Perfectionism Lack of assertiveness Low self esteem Common external causes of stress: Major life changes Work - job dissatisfaction, too much duties, inefficiency, loss of job, deadlines Relationship difficulties Financial problems Being too busy Children and family – difficulties in contacts with a partner, a divorce, wanting to be an ideal parent or death of a family member The environment: noises, crowds, traffic jams, going to offices
Signs and symptoms of stress may be: Cognitive Psychological Physical Behavioral
The most common cognitive signs of stress: Memory problems Inability to concentrate Poor judgment Seeing only negative Anxious or racing thoughts Constant worrying
The most common psychological signs of stress: Moodiness Irritability or short temper Feelings of fear Blaming others Agitation inability to relax Sense of loneliness and isolation Depression or general unhappiness Feeling overhelmed
The most common physical signs of stress: Aches and pains Diarrhea or constipation Dry mouth Dizziness Headaches Fatigue Indigestion Sleeping problems Chest pain, rapid heartbeat Frequent colds Loss of sex drive
The most common behavioral signs of stress: Eating more or less Sleeping more or less Crying Isolating yourself from others Postponing or neglecting responsibilities Using alcohol, cigarettes or drugs to relax Nervous habits like nail biting
We can’t completely eliminate stress from our life but we can control how much it affects us. Relaxation techniques activate the body’s relaxation response, a state of restfulness that is the opposite of a stress response. When practiced regularly, these activities lead to reduction in your every day stress levels.
Relaxation Techniques for Stress Relief Laughter - strong medicine for mind and body Deep breathing Meditation Progressive muscle relaxation
Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after. Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain. Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.
Laughing with others is more powerful than laughing alone!
Creating opportunities to laugh Watch a funny movie or TV show. Go to a comedy club. Read the funny pages. Seek out funny people. Share a good joke or a funny story. Check out your bookstore’s humor section. Host game night with friends. Play with a pet. Go to a “laughter yoga” class. Do something silly. Make time for fun activities (e.g. bowling, miniature golfing, karaoke, dancing).
Deep breathing for stress relief Deep breathing is a simple, yet powerful, relaxation technique. It’s easy to learn. Can be practiced almost anywhere. Provides a quick way to get your stress levels in check. Can be combined with other relaxing elements such as aromatherapy and music.
Meditation - is a form of stress management that allows our mind to experience an oasis of peace within our heart and mind. - gives back control over the life so that no matter what happens externally whether it is positive or negative people can still develop control over their thoughts and thus control the emotions and feelings in their mind. - You can take control of your mind through one of the meditation techniques and you will be able to get the peace.
Progressive muscle relaxation Relieves stress. Is a useful and easy-to- learn relaxation technique that can reduce or prevent the effects of stress. Helps release tension and helps you move more freely and feel more relaxed.
MEETINGS OF A PROJECT GROUP IN POLAND INTRODUCING THE PROJECT SUBJECT AIMS LECTURE ON STRESS SURVEY ON THE LEVEL OF STRESS EXAMPLES OF RELAXATION METHODS