WHAT IS STRESS? Stress is your mind and body’s response or reaction to a real or imagined threat, event or change. The threat, event or change are commonly called stressors. Stressors can be internal (thoughts, beliefs, attitudes or external (loss, tragedy, change).
EUSTRESSEustress or positive stress occurs whenyour level of stress is high enough tomotivate you to move into action to getthings accomplished.
DISTRESSDistress or negative stress occurs whenyour level of stress is either too high or toolow and your body and/or mind begin torespond negatively to the stressors.
STAGES OF STRESS
ALARM STAGEAs you begin to experience a stressfulevent or perceive something to bestressful psychological changes occur inyour body. This experience or perceptiondisrupts your body’s normal balance andimmediately your body begins to respondto the stressor(s) as effectively aspossible.
EXAMPLES Cardiac - increased heart rate Respiratory - increased respiration Skin - decreased temperature Hormonal - increased stimulation of adrenal genes which produce an adrenal rush.
RESISTANCE STAGEDuring this stage your body tries to copeor adapt to the stressors by beginning aprocess of repairing any damage thestressor has caused. Your friends, familyor co-workers may notice changes in youbefore you do so it is important to examinetheir feedback to make sure you do notreach overload.
EXAMPLES Behavior indicators include: lack of enthusiasm for family, school, work or life in general, withdrawal, change in eating habits, insomnia, hypersomnia, anger, fatigue. Cognitive Indicators include: poor problem solving, confusion, nightmares, hyper- vigilance.
EXHAUSTION STAGEDuring this stage the stressor is not beingmanaged effectively and the body andmind are not able to repair the damage.
EXAMPLESDigestive disorders, withdrawal,headaches, tension, insomnia, loss oftemper.
STUDENT STRESS RATING SCALEThe following are events that occur in the life of a college student. Place a check in the left-handcolumn for each of those events that has happened to you during the last 12 months.___ Death of a close family member - 100 points____ Jail term - 80 points____ Final year or first year in college - 63 points____ Pregnancy (to you or caused by your) - 60 points____ Severe personal illness or injury - 53 points____ Marriage - 50 points____ Any interpersonal problems - 45 points____ Financial difficulties - 40 points____ Death of a close friend - 40 points____ Arguments with your roommate (more than every other day) - 40 points____ Major disagreements with your family - 40 points’____ Major change in personal habits - 30 points____ Change in living environment - 30 points____ Beginning or ending a job - 30 points____Problems with your boss or professor - 25 points____ Outstanding personal achievement - 25 points____ Failure in some course - 25 points____ Final exams - 20 points____ Increased or decreased dating - 20 points____ Changes in working conditions - 20 points____ Change in your major____ Change in your sleeping habits - 18 points____ Several-day vacation - 15 points____ Change in eating habits - 15 points____ Family reunion - 15 points____ Change in recreational activities - 15 points____ Minor illness or injury - 15 points____ Minor violations of the law - 11 points Score: _________________
INTERPRETING YOUR SCORE Less than 150 points : relatively low stress level in relation to life events 150 - 300 points : borderline range Greater than 300 points : high stress in relation to life events Note: From Girdano, D.A., Everly, G. S., Jr., & Dusek, D. E. (1990). Controlling stress and tension (3rd edition), ENnglewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
I’M IN CONTROL - DISTRESS RELIEF STRATEGIESFeeling good about yourselves can be an effective buffer against stress. Eliminate unnecessary worries.Most worries are either passed on to us by another or conjured up in our imagination.GET PHYSICAL1. Relax neck and shoulders2. Take a stretch3. Get a massage4. ExerciseGET MENTAL5. Count to 106. Control your thoughts7. Fantasize8. Congratulate yourself9. Ignore the problem if appropriate, after evaluation10. Perform self maintenance11. Talk to a counselorGET SPIRITUAL12. Meditate13. Pray14. Remember your purposeUSE YOUR BODY AND MIND TOGETHER15. Take a break16. Get hug therapy17. Try progressive relaxation18. Try yoga19. Try aroma therapy20. LaughDEVELOP NEW SKILLS21. Prioritize daily tasks22. Learn something23. Practice a hobby
MORE STRATEGIES “What is Stress” Web Site. http//www.teachhealth.com How to reduce and relieve stress “Web Site. http//www.family.com “Stress Relievers” Web Site. http//www.residentassistant.com “Massage” Downing, G. (1972). Massage Book. New York: Random House. “Aromatherapy” Web Site. http//www/aromaweb.com/articles/wharoma.as “Yoga” Web Site. http//www.kevala.co.uk/yoga/overview.htr