Manage Emotions

Stress

What is stress and how does it affect you?

            Stress is a form of tension or anxiety that you feel when faced with a situation that may be new, unpleasant or threatening.  It can also be an automatic physical reaction to internal or external dangers or pressures.

             3 primary areas are affected by stress:

                        1.  Biological / Physical – illness and tension

What happens to the body when stressed?  Muscles tighten, blood pressure increases, heart rate speeds up, breathing changes and adrenaline rushes through your body

                         2.  Psychological – more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression

                         3.  Social – isolation, difficulty in relationships, irritability

 Everyone Experiences Stress!!!

            Stress is a necessary part of life!  A moderate amount can result in optimal performance because it encourages you to meet life’s challenges or rise to the occasion.  For example, anxiety about a test can motivate you to study more or be more prepared.

             Too much stress cam impair performance.  You don’t need unnecessary stress.  Unnecessary stress is usually caused by the individual through a number of behaviors.  Including procrastination, avoiding problems, negative thoughts or attitudes, putting too much pressure on yourself (“I must . . .,” or “if I don’t”).  These types of thoughts or behaviors can increase anxiety or stress levels.

What types of stressors are most likely to affect you?

  • Relationships (friends, family, organizations, co-workers)

  • Perfectionism

  • Expectations of others

  • Career

  • Implicit and explicit demands to succeed

  • Financial

 Signs of Stress

  • Increased use of alcohol/tobacco/other drugs

  • Low self-esteem

  • Changes in eating / sleeping

  • Difficulty focusing / concentrating

  • Difficulty making decisions / procrastinating

  • Increased anxiety or nervousness about unimportant events or issues

  • Inability to get organized

  • Increased allergies

  • Nightmares

  • Increased boredom or lack of energy

  • Frequent headaches / backaches / muscle aches . . . or tightness (especially in stomach or abdomen)

  • Getting sick a lot – colds / infections

  • Changes in exercise or recreational habits

  • Weakness / dizziness / shortness of breath (panic attacks)

  • Increased irritability, feeling of hostility or anger

  • Urges to cry or run away

  • Frequent accidents and minor injuries

  • Changes in sexual habits

  • Withdrawal / isolation

WAYS TO MANAGE STRESS    

 There are many strategies that people use to cope with stress, some healthy and some unhealthy.  With the best of intentions we may engage in negative forms of stress management, which end up increasing our stress levels long term.

 What are some negative things that people use to deal with stress?

  •   Substance Abuse

  •  Sleep Patterns

  •  Food

  • Withdrawing from social situations

  • Misplacing your anger

  •  Negative attitude

 What are some Healthy Ways to Manage Stress?

  •  Exercise

  • Personal Time – taking time for you

  • Observe Yourself

  • Relax or take short breaks

  •  Reevaluate the situation and determine if it’s worth being upset over

  • Make a list of things that need to be done.  Prioritize around importance and do the important things first

  • Keep a sense of humor

  • Time management – day planers

  • Know your limits

  • Become part of and use a support system

  • Choose your own goals

  •  Be assertive

  •  Let anger out appropriately

  • Keep your expectations realistic

  • Accept what you cannot change

  • Anticipate potentially stressful situations

  • Live in the present – don’t focus on the past or what hasn’t happened yet

  • Take care of your health (nutrition, getting enough sleep, etc)

  • Think positive

  • Goals and Priorities

  • Space to be alone

  • Diary or journal

  •  Money Management

  • Relaxation Techniques

  • Stay connected

  • Stay organized

  • Sleep

  • Spirituality

Check out the following resources to find more information about the following topics: