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Stress Management and Managing Ambiguity: Skills for Coping with Challenging Times

Stress Management and Managing Ambiguity: Skills for Coping with Challenging Times

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  • Are you stressed quiz?
  • Walter B. Cannon (1914, as cited in McCance, 1990) was the first to use the term “stress” to describe physiological and psychological demands on organisms and their attempts to return to something called “homeostasis” or back to the way they were before the stressor. You see nobody likes to change. Even positive change (like getting married, starting an exercise program or losing weight) can be stressful. In general, we like to stay the way we are. Stress is anything that pressures us to change. Illness is stressful. Watching your favorite team lose is stressful. Jumping out of perfectly good airplanes is stressful. However, what causes one person distress may be entertaining to another. 
  • Hans Seyle (1946, as cited in McCance, 1990) popularized the concept of “stress”. He showed that hormones are released by our body in response to both psychological and physical stressors. This explains why our heart races, our breathing and perspiration increase, and why we are ready to fight, flee, or freeze when we are feeling stressed. Adrenaline rushes through our body helping make us ready for action. If we perceive the stressor as good (for example, our team is winning) the adrenaline rush we feel is seen as positive (that is, exciting, energizing). However, if we think of the stressor as bad (“I know I should have double checked that parachute”) the rush we feel is viewed as negative (that is, sick to my stomach, queasy).
  • Philosophers, theologians, and scientists have divided a person into many different parts in an effort to describe what makes us unique from the rest of the animal kingdom. However, recently the focus has been on how the body works together as one unit. We know that it does not matter where stress starts, it soon spreads to affect all the parts that make up who we are. Physical stressors affect the way we think (our mind) and the way we feel about our self (our soul). The way we feel about our self (for example, feelings of guilt or shame) affects the way we think about our self and impacts on the way our body works. 
  • In either case, Seyle pointed out that chronically high cortisone levels can lead to diseases such as high blood pressure, peptic ulcer disease, and heart disease. Too much of a good or bad thing can damage your body. For example, scientists have discovered that “life changes and/or emotions resulting from life changes occurring for a prolonged period of time were associated with decreases in one or more immune functions” (McCance, 1990). This is not really a new finding. Galen, a physician during the 2nd century A.D. observed that depressed women developed breast cancer more often than non-depressed women (McCance, 1990). We now know that depression (feeling sad or blue) lowers your body’s ability to fight infection. This in turn can lead to illness. The two new fields of psychoneuroimmunology and neuroimmunology look at the relationship between our perceptions of stressors and their affect upon our immune system.
  • Stress is any demand (positive or negative) that requires our mind, emotions, or body to change. Is all stress bad? No, some stressful situations we seek out because of the thrill. Some changes stressful situations bring make us change for the better. Also, the right amount of stress can help us function at our best or “Be All You Can Be.” However, too little stress and we feel bored; too much stress and we may feel “burned out”. The proper balance of stress is important to function effectively.
  • The Body’s Stress ResponseWhen you perceive a threat, your nervous system responds by releasing a flood of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones rouse the body for emergency action.Your heart pounds faster, muscles tighten, blood pressure rises, breath quickens, and your senses become sharper. These physical changes increase your strength and stamina, speed your reaction time, and enhance your focus – preparing you to either fight or flee from the danger at hand.
  • Foot on the gas – An angry or agitated stress response. You’re heated, keyed up, overly emotional, and unable to sit still.Foot on the brake – A withdrawn or depressed stress response. You shut down, space out, and show very little energy or emotion.Foot on both – A tense and frozen stress response. You “freeze” under pressure and can’t do anything. You look paralyzed, but under the surface you’re extremely agitated.
  • Philosophers, theologians, and scientists have divided a person into many different parts in an effort to describe what makes us unique from the rest of the animal kingdom. However, recently the focus has been on how the body works together as one unit. We know that it does not matter where stress starts, it soon spreads to affect all the parts that make up who we are. Physical stressors affect the way we think (our mind) and the way we feel about our self (our soul). The way we feel about our self (for example, feelings of guilt or shame) affects the way we think about our self and impacts on the way our body works. 
  • Discussion:DISCUSSION: Take a few moments and answer the following question: How do you react to being under stress? Note some of your “tell-tale” signs or symptoms of stress below:Personal Stress Inventory
  • Personal Stress Inventory
  • VisualizationTime Management
  • STACATO SOCIETYTasks that take 5 or 10 minutes get doneGive us a feeling of accomplishmentTasks that take time and focus get delayedDelayed tasks are usually more important, more impactfulMore productive work is done in longer chunks, not bits and pieces
  • Phone CallsEmailsMeetings
  • Healthy ChoicesHumor TherapyVisualization
  • Regular Exercise/Physical ActivityGetting regular exercise is another wonderful way to keep your weight in check, manage overall stress levels, and stay connected with others. Exercise can also help keep many health conditions at bay, and is well worth the effort. (The trick is  Healthy EatingOne of the most popular changes people like to make to live a healthy lifestyle is to eat differently. Because of the negative health consequences of obesity, the influence fitness has on our self-esteem, and the effects of nutrition on our stress levels and longevity, switching to a healthier diet brings some of the greatest benefits for wellness.  Quality SleepPeople often underestimate the importance of getting enough sleep, and getting the right type. However, lack of adequate sleep has many negative consequences--they're subtle, but significant. Getting enough sleep isn't one of the most popular changes that people resolve to make, but it should be. Because stress can rob you of sleep, and because many of the techniques that promote sleep can also reduce stress (and vice versa), it's a very good idea to learn more about how stress affects sleep and how to get quality sleep when stressed. DISCUSSION: Take a few moments and answer the following question: What are other health-related choices that help you reduce tension? Note some of your strategies below:
  • The mind has an incredible ability to project itself to many places – some places the body might have been to, some only the mind visits in dreams. Traveling on the thoughts generated by the mind, we can go anywhere. No ticket or baggage required, only a desire and your imagination. If you had the ability to project yourself anywhere to relax for an hour or so, where would you go?  Visualization is said to be able to heal the body by using your imagination to create a vision of restored health. It is one of the leading techniques in mind-body medicine.  The purpose of this exercise is to sharpen your imagination and relaxation skills so that when you recognize your need to unwind you can escape, if only momentarily to a place that gives you peace of mind. When drafting these images, give a much detail as possible so you can not only see them in your mind’s eye but actually feel yourself there through all five senses.  What is the place that brings you the most peace or relaxation?  What do you see? What colors? Textures? Shapes? Images?   What do you hear? What are the sounds that you associate with the images?   What do you smell? Is there a prevalent scent where you are?   What do you taste? Are there tastes you can associate with the place of comfort?   What do you touch? What does it feel like?   Can you imagine yourself there right at this moment?
  • Guided Imagery
  • What’s the outcome? A situation is uncertain when there are a multitude of outcomes, not all of them desirable. Build up your tolerance for ambiguity by remembering that even in the toughest situation, there are always two sound principles you can rely on.  Principle 1 – you can always control your response to a situation. Your reaction is your choice.  Principle 2 – recognizing what you can and can’t control will increase the likelihood of a successful outcome and lower your anxiety.  
  • Think clearly about each of the possible outcomes? List all of them, even the scary ones that only crop up in the dead of the night. So you are made redundant – there is plenty you can do to make the most of that situation. Maybe the check will fund that teaching qualification you’ve always dreamt of?  Sort it out or fugeddabouditTake each outcome in turn and figure out how likely it is to happen, and what you can actively do to influence it. When you’re done, you’ll have a comprehensive action plan, bettering your chance of success. So even if the worst thing does happen, you’ve already done something to lessen the impact and know what you can do next.  And for all the things you can’t control or influence, forget them. Write them down and then scrunch up the paper and throw it away. At some point you have to let go.
  • What’s the outcome? A situation is uncertain when there are a multitude of outcomes, not all of them desirable. Build up your tolerance for ambiguity by remembering that even in the toughest situation, there are always two sound principles you can rely on.  Principle 1 – you can always control your response to a situation. Your reaction is your choice.  Principle 2 – recognizing what you can and can’t control will increase the likelihood of a successful outcome and lower your anxiety.  
  • What’s the outcome? A situation is uncertain when there are a multitude of outcomes, not all of them desirable. Build up your tolerance for ambiguity by remembering that even in the toughest situation, there are always two sound principles you can rely on.  Principle 1 – you can always control your response to a situation. Your reaction is your choice.  Principle 2 – recognizing what you can and can’t control will increase the likelihood of a successful outcome and lower your anxiety.  
  • StressorSkills/Strategies to CopeBy When

Stress managmentandmanagingambiguity final Stress managmentandmanagingambiguity final Presentation Transcript

  • Skills for Coping in Challenging Times
    June 17, 2010
    FIO PARTNERS, LLC
  • Skills for Coping in Challenging Times
  • “I cannot and should not be cured of my stress, but merely taught to enjoy it. “ – Hans Selye
  • Objectives
    Stress Management
    Defining Stress
    Causes & Symptoms
    Skills to Cope with Stress
    Understanding Ambiguity
    Defining Ambiguity
    Linking Personality to Experience with Ambiguity
    Strategies for Coping with Ambiguity
  • Stress Management
  • ARE YOU STRESSED?
  • WHAT IS STRESS?
  • STRESS = ANY DEMAND TO CHANGE
  • THIS IS AWESOME!
    IS THE PARACHUTE WORKING?
  • STRESS IMPACTS US ON MANY LEVELS
  • Stress can reduce the bodies ability to fight illnesss and infection
  • EUSTRESS
    POSITIVE
    PEAK
    PERFORMANCE!
    EXPERIENCE
    BURNOUT!
    ASTRESS
    BOREDOM!
    DISTRESS
    NEGATIVE
    LOW
    HIGH
    AMOUNT OF STRESS
  • Causes & Symptoms
  • External Causes of Stress
    Major life changes
    Work
    Relationship difficulties
    Financial problems
    Being too busy
    Children and family
  • Internal Causes of Stress
    Inability to accept uncertainty
    Pessimism
    Negative self-talk
    Unrealistic expectations
    Perfectionism
    Lack of assertiveness
  • The Body’s Stress Response
  • FOOT ON THE GAS?
  • STRESS IMPACTS US ON MANY LEVELS
  • Signs & Symptoms
    Cognitive Symptoms
    Memory problems
    Inability to concentrate
    Poor judgment
    Seeing only the negative
    Anxious or racing thoughts
    Constant worrying
    Emotional Symptoms
    Moodiness
    Irritability or short temper
    Agitation, inability to relax
    Feeling overwhelmed
    Sense of loneliness and isolation
    Depression or general unhappiness
  • Signs & Symptoms
    Physical Symptoms
    Aches and pains
    Diarrhea or constipation
    Nausea, dizziness
    Chest pain, rapid heartbeat
    Loss of sex drive
    Frequent colds
    Behavioral Symptoms
    Eating more or less
    Sleeping too much or too little
    Isolating yourself from others
    Procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities
    Using alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs to relax
    Nervous habits (e.g. nail biting, pacing)
  • HOW DO YOU REACT?
  • WHAT ARE YOUR STRESSORS?
  • Skills for Coping With Stress
  • Be Prepared
  • TIME MANAGMENT
  • Make your to do list!
  • SUCCESSFUL TIME MANAGEMENT:
    • Set priorities
    • Set specific amounts of time for tasks in key categories
    • Schedule specific times for tasks
    • Control interruptions
  • Let’s look at that to do list again
  • Homework
    Keep a log for a week or two to see if you actually invest time in the way you think you do.
    Each evening, make a list of no more than 6 things that you will do the next day. Make sure that you have included items that reflect your categorized priorities.
    Estimate how much time each will take and, using Outlook, box them into your calendar. Adjust the list or adjust your existing schedule. Then work from your calendar, spending the time you have allocated.
  • Controlling Interruptions
  • BEHAVIOR REHEARSAL
  • FIND A QUIET PLACE…AND REHEARSE
  • Reduce Tension
  • EXERCISE
    NUTRITION
    QUALITY SLEEP
  • ALL ELSE FAILS….LAUGH!
  • VISUALIZATION
  • TIME FOR LUNCH!
  • Additional Creative Solutions
  • GUIDED IMAGERY
  • SMILE!
  • Managing Ambiguity
  • What you don’t know has a structure
  • What roles must be played?
    Who will play which role?
    Task Ambiguity
  • What work will be done?
    How will we organize to do it?
    Structural Ambiguity
  • Environmental Ambiguity
    Making sense of the environment
  • HOW YOU EXPERIENCE AMBIGUITY
  • What’s Your Preference?
  • Analyzing Ambiguity
    HIGH
    UNCERTAINTY
    LOW
    LOW
    HIGH
    IMPORTANCE
  • Important Principles
    Principle 1 – you can always control your response to a situation. Your reaction is your choice.
     Principle 2 – recognizing what you can and can’t control will increase the likelihood of a successful outcome and lower your anxiety.
  • Scenario Planning
  • Let’s try it!
  • Suggestions for Mastering the Unknown
    Learn to make a decision with incomplete information
    Read up
    Examine five ideas or trends that you know nothing about
  • Wrap-Up/Reflection
  • Skills for Coping
    Be Prepared
    Time Management
    Behavior Rehearsal
    Reduce Tension
    Healthy Choices
    Humor
    Visualization
    Explore Creative Approaches
    Guided Imagery
    Positive Thinking
    Manage Ambiguity
    Know Yourself
    Analyze Ambiguity
  • TIME FOR ACTION!
  • Connect with FIO Partners at www.fiopartners.com