Stress and Resilience Management: the "nuts and bolts"


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Keynote Presentation delivered by Michael Comyn at the 2008 BBSLG Conference, hosted by Leeds University and Leeds Metropolitan University, 9-11 July

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Stress and Resilience Management: the "nuts and bolts"

  1. 1. Stress & Resilience Management “The Nuts & Bolts” Michael Comyn The Centre for Self Management
  2. 2. The Bigger Picture Stress is the trash of modern life - we all generate it but if you don't dispose of it properly, it will pile up and overtake your life. ~Danzae Pace The Centre for Self Management 2
  3. 3. 3 First Reference  First reference to stress in librarians came from Dr Bernardino Ramazzini Italian physician – 1700 the year and Diseases of Workers the Book.  His diagnosis: “these workers suffer from the itch, are a bad colour and in poor condition…for when the body is not kept moving the blood becomes tainted, its waste matter lodges in the skin, and the condition of the whole body deteriorates. The Centre for Self Management
  4. 4. Definition What is Stress? The Centre for Self Management 4
  5. 5. 5 The Father of Stress “Stress is the body’s nonspecific response to a demand placed on it.” Hans Selye The Centre for Self Management
  6. 6. 125,000 Years Ago Fight or Flight 6 •Walter Cannon defined Flight or Flight in 1929 and the caveman theory •But there are two problems with this Neanderthal model. First, the riskiest animals our predecessors had to confront were rabbits and deer, not elephants and tigers. • •In fact, our hairy forefathers spent most of their time collecting berries and roots with their children, aunties and pals. Just like us, the caveman never stood alone in front of wild animals - unless there had been some kind of terrible mistake. •The second error is to try to relate stress solely to adrenaline. Although the physical effects of frights and acute (short-term) stress are caused by adrenaline, this hormone doesn't enter the brain. •Longer-term stress relates to a range of other hormones and brain neurotransmitters. •serotonin - involved in regulation of sleep, appetite and mood •dopamine - part of the brain's 'reward system’ •noradrenalin - involved in regulating energy and drive •GABA - has a general sedative effect •glutamate - tends to activate nerve cells •CRF - increases steroid levels The Centre for Self Management
  7. 7. 7 All Stress is not Bad!  Stress is difficult to define because it is so different for each of us.  A good example is afforded by observing passengers on a steep roller coaster ride. Some are hunched down in the back seats, eyes shut, jaws clenched and white knuckled with an iron grip on the retaining bar.  But up front are the wide-eyed thrill seekers, yelling and relishing each steep plunge who race to get on the very next ride. And in between you may find a few with an air of nonchalance that borders on boredom. So, was the roller coaster ride stressful? The Centre for Self Management
  8. 8. Human Performance Curve Boredom 8 Optimal Performance Distress Experience Exhaustion The Centre for Self Management
  9. 9. 9 Stress The Centre for Self Management
  10. 10. 10 Stress The Centre for Self Management
  11. 11. 11 The Danger Signs  sleep disturbances  irregular heartbeat, palpitations  asthma or shortness of breath  back, shoulder or neck pain  chest pain  tension or migraine headaches  sweaty palms or hands  upset or acid stomach, cramps,  cold hands or feet heartburn, gas, irritable bowel syndrome  skin problems (hives, eczema, psoriasis, tics, itching)  weight gain or loss, eating disorders  periodontal disease, jaw pain  reproductive problems  muscle tension  immune system suppression: more colds, flu, infections.  Fatigue  high blood pressure The Centre for Self Management
  12. 12. Ohmmm 12 The Centre for Self Management Ohmmm! By Peter de Sève Source: The New Yorker
  13. 13. Choosing to be Happy – or 13 Not  How you respond to  What you notice on a things which are not how daily basis and how you you want them to be. construct you memories.  How in tune you are with  How you feel about the yourself. people around you.  How you interpret your  Whether you ensure that experience, and how there are enough things autonomous you feel. in your life that give you pleasure. The Centre for Self Management
  14. 14. Chronic Symptoms in People  Stress  Anxiety  Insomnia  Depression  Generalised fatigue  Afternoon fatigue  Headaches  Mood Swings The Centre for Self Management 14
  15. 15. Nutrition and Lifestyle  Skipping breakfast or coffee and pastry only  Relying on fast food/drive thru for lunch  Afternoon slump – sugar/coffee pick-me-up  Dine out/take out for dinner – late meals 15  No planning ahead for healthy meals and snack  No time for relaxed, home-cooked meals  No time for families to teach their kids about healthy eating and lifestyles, perpetuating the lifestyle  Stress is driving our culture to poor food choices, which in turn damages our physiology making us more prone to stress  Blood sugar imbalances and adrenal exhaustion result The Centre for Self Management
  16. 16. Signs of Adrenal Exhaustion (due to chronic stress) 16 The Centre for Self Management
  17. 17. Signs of Adrenal Exhaustion (due to chronic stress) 17 The Centre for Self Management
  18. 18. Cortisol  Many people are chronically low in cortisol in the a.m. and/or low in cortisol in the afternoon creating a need for a “pick-me-up”. Then they may find that their cortisol levels spike at night so that they can either not get to sleep or they wake up in the middle of the night or early morning. 18  Saliva testing can reveal cortisol levels throughout a 24hour period.  Getting cortisol back in balance through the use of balanced eating and certain nutrients will help improve energy throughout the day, improve sleep at night, and will help the body to better regulate insulin (i.e. blood sugar). The Centre for Self Management
  19. 19. Nutrients for Blood Sugar Management and Stress Support The Centre for Self Management 19
  20. 20. A Quote  One of the most tragic things I know about human 20 nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon - instead of enjoying the roses blooming outside our windows today. Dale Carnegie The Centre for Self Management
  21. 21. Centres of Power  Finances  Good money management (or debt management) is no less important than having a good income. The healthy 21 approach is to make money work for you. The challenge is when you are inefficient about record keeping and bills.  Significant Relationship  Love, emotional support, physical contact and good company are obvious blessings. The challenge comes from finding a suitable partner in the first place or making the relationship fulfilling if you already have a partner. The Centre for Self Management
  22. 22. Centres of Power  Recreation and Fun  Recreation is not only something for the annual holiday. Best of all is to do 22 something that is enjoyable, social and healthy. The challenge might be to find people who share your interest. The Centre for Self Management
  23. 23. The Toolkit.  Treat yourself as your best friend.  Spontaneity.  Special treats.  Funny money.  Stolen moments.  Surprise yourself and others.  Pamper yourself. The Centre for Self Management 23
  24. 24. The Brain and Stress  To find stress in the brain we have to go deep. The Centre for Self Management 24
  25. 25. Why does it matter? Sleep deprivation can cause the following  shortened life spans  increased risk of heart disease and stomach 25 problems  irritability, depression  increased risk of automobile crashes  decreased work performance and memory lapses  marital, social and employment problems  difficulty learning The Centre for Self Management
  26. 26. Irish Figures 2007  Irish people loose over seven years of sleep over their lifetimes, or the equivalent of one 26 night a week.  Doctors get the lease sleep of all the professions - they loose 13 years in a lifetime.  Company directors rank second in the list of sleep deprivation with 5.8 hours sleep per night. The Centre for Self Management
  27. 27. Basics of Good Sleep Hygiene  Avoid vigorous exercise before sleep  (apart from the obvious) 27  Avoid late afternoon or evening naps  Avoid eating large meals before bed  Do not allow yourself to lie in bed and worry  get up and do something to alleviate the worry (like journaling) The Centre for Self Management
  28. 28. Basics of Good Sleep Hygiene  Avoid caffeine before bed  Take a warm bath before bed if you have a 28 particularly difficult time getting to sleep  Listen to soothing music  Use your bed only for sleeping  do not read, watch TV, or study in bed - learn to associate your bed with relaxation  Ensure a dark, quiet, cool environment  Avoid oversleeping or lying in bed for prolonged periods of time after your sleep is completed The Centre for Self Management
  29. 29. If you can’t sleep . . .  Try not to care whether you fall asleep or not - sometimes worrying about falling asleep is enough to keep you awake 29  Do something relaxing to distract yourself from you inability to sleep  Avoid activities like housekeeping, laundry, reading, etc. that will get you active  Try boring activities  Eat a light snack The Centre for Self Management
  30. 30. 30 The Three Part Brain 1st Brain 2nd Brain  Approach, avoidance  Territoriality  Hormonal Control  Fear  Temperature control  Anger  Hunger / Thirst  Maternal Love  Reproductive Drive  Social Bonding  Respiration and heart  Jealousy rate control The Centre for Self Management
  31. 31. The Three Part Brain 3rd Brain  Self-awareness of thoughts and emotions 31  Ability to choose appropriate behaviour  Self-reflection  Problem Solving  Goal satisfaction The Centre for Self Management
  32. 32. Cortical Inhibition and Facilitation  Disordered heart rhythms inhibit 3rd brain activity and inhibit our thinking.  Your reactions are slowed.  You cannot think clearly.  Ordered heart rhythms improve 3rd brain function and facilitate our thinking.  We see more options and solutions. The Centre for Self Management 32
  33. 33. The Engagement of the Third 33 Brain Once a signal can be sent to the subcortical area that you are back in control then the frontallobe can re-engage and the stress response is regulated We find that the use of breath control in the radtio of 4:5:2 can bring about this engagement in the fastest way. 4 Seconds in through the Nose 5 Seconds out through the Nose 2 Seconds Pause on the out breath before starting again. The Centre for Self Management
  34. 34. 34 Change lifestyle habits.  Decrease caffeine (coffee, tea, colas, chocolate).  Adequate sleep (figure out what you need, then get  Well-balanced diet. it).  Decrease consumption of  Leisure time (do junk food. something for yourself everyday).  Eat slowly.  Relaxation exercises (e.g.,  Regular exercise (at least meditation, self-hypnosis). 30 minutes, three times per week). The Centre for Self Management
  35. 35. Thank You The Centre for Self Management 35