Presentation on theme: "Living well with stress Presented by Linda Surplice and Maria Gray Senior Counsellors Ultimo College."— Presentation transcript:
Living well with stress Presented by Linda Surplice and Maria Gray Senior Counsellors Ultimo College
Living well with Stress - Session Overview 1.Relaxation exercise 2.What is this thing called stress? 3.How does stress affect us? 4.What can we do to build our resilience to stress? 5.Breathing exercises
Relaxation Exercise Learning and practicing a relaxation or meditation technique is very helpful in managing stress So lets start by prioritising this practice at the very start of our session
So, what is this thing called stress? A normal response to a demand made of you Results in an internally felt sense of pressure to respond to the demand When you have adequate resources, you can respond to the demand and return to a state of equilibrium When your resources are unable to cope with the demands being made of you, you can become stressed
So, what is this thing called stress? So the term stress is used in 2 different ways: 1. The normal pressure we feel to respond to a demand –Short-term, enabling, motivating, survival mechanism 2.Ongoing anxiety and unhappiness when demands seem overwhelming –Chronic stress, physical and mental health can suffer
So, what is this thing called stress? Graphic from
How does stress affect us? 1.The stress response State of arousal from bodily changes triggered by release of hormones - adrenalin and cortisol Prepares us to deal with threat by fight or flight Muscles tense ready for action, heart speeds up, BP increases, heightened alertness After dealing with threat (f or f) physiology returns to normal A survival mechanism we should value
How does stress affect us? BUT Many of the things that stress us today are not life threatening and yet our bodies respond as if they are. Often not appropriate to fight or flee so our stress hormones can remain chronically high
How does stress affect us? Resulting in symptoms such as: Physical Raised blood pressure Head, back, neck ache Disturbed sleep Weight change Fatigue Emotional Depression Irritability Anger Feeling overwhelmed or out of control Cognitive Poor concentration Confusion & forgetfulness Difficulty making decisions Negative self-talk Spiritual Emptiness Loss of meaning/ faith Apathy/ doubt Behavioural Loss of interest in work or social activities Increased drinking, smoking, drug use Withdrawal from family, friends Sexual problems
Building resilience to stress AWARENESS ATTITUDE ACTIONS LIFESTYLE
Building resilience to stress Awareness Of what situations make you feel stressed What resources you have What things you have control over and those you don’t What things make you feel better
Building resilience to stress Attitude Acceptance of the things you can’t control (and taking action on the things you can) Acceptance of self Non judgemental (self and others) Keeping things in perspective Crises not seen as insoluble problems Nurture hopefulness Humour
Building resilience to stress Actions Plan for the future Move towards goals a step at a time Balance demands with resources/ energy – learn when to say no or to give in Take decisive actions Talk about it Reflect on experiences – what can be learnt from an experience?
Building resilience to stress Lifestyle Exercise Practice meditation or relaxation Eat healthily Get sufficient sleep Develop a strong support network Leisure and pleasure
Breathing Exercises Stress influences breathing in two very different ways: 1. Short-term stress (like being in the middle of an argument, preparing to give a major speech, or being cut off in traffic) tends to increase breathing rate and may lead to hyperventilation. Recommended breathing practice: The 4/8 Breath slows down your breath and emphasizes the exhalation. 2. Long-term, chronic stress (like working in a job where you have no control, struggling with a chronic health problem, or living in debt) tends to inhibit breathing. Recommended breathing practice: Breath awareness and the 3-Part Breath, to develop an unrestricted breath.
More info visit For mental health fact sheets on stress management, anxiety etc. MoodGYM is an interactive program designed to help you: -identify whether you are having problems with emotions like anxiety and depression -overcome these problems, develop good coping skills for the future. Self help tips from Flinders University Health and Counselling department. For info on stress and breathing.
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