Coping With Stress
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Coping With Stress

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  • According to the American Institute on Stress, is a subjective sensation associated with varied symptoms that differ for each of us. In addition, stress is not always a synonym for distress. Riding a roller coaster may cause fear and anxiety for some, but can be highly exciting for others. Stress can become distress when we are unable to cope or when we believe that we do not have the ability to meet the challenge. Stress increases productivity up to a point, after which things rapidly deteriorate. Good stress is that optimal amount of stress that results in our feeling energized and motivated to do our best work. Good stress encourages us to develop effective coping strategies to deal with our challenges. Bad stress occurs when our coping mechanisms are overwhelmed by the stress and we do not function at our best.
  • * Infancy and early childhood: Stressors come from the environment (e.g., overcrowding due to poverty, lack of access to high quality childcare) and the primary caregiver serves as a buffer between the child and stressor. * School age: In addition to environmental stressors, sources of stress also include school, peers, and neighborhood variables. Stressors can impact a child’s sense of security (e.g., parental fighting, getting lost), dignity and honor (e.g., retention, lack of trust from adults), or sense of self-worth (e.g., being sent to the principal’s office, being laughed at by peers). Parents continue to play a primary role in helping children gain a sense of control over stressful situations. A stress that is becoming more prominent for school-age children is the pressure related to high stakes testing and overbooked extracurricular schedules. * Early adolescence: Developmental milestones such as puberty, school level transitions, and peer relationships become primary sources of stress. * Late adolescence: Children are required to transition from dependence on the family to reliance on oneself and one’s friends. With independence come financial and social stressors related to higher education, career, building a family, and family relationships.
  • Research on stress and academic performance has been variable, showing both a negative relationship and the absence of a relationship. Supporting the notion that stress inhibits cognitive efficency
  • Voluntary Response is an individual’s deliberate efforts to cope with stress where involuntary response is an individual’s automatic reaction to a stressful event. For Example: the release of emotions can occur through an involuntary reaction such as crying or through a controlled process such as journaling. Voluntary and involuntary responses emerge differently over the course of development. Although voluntary and involuntary responses to stress can be viewed as distinct, involuntary responses influence voluntary responses and voluntary responses can impact involuntary responses. Reactivity and self-regulation are two constructs of an individual’s temperament that are linked to coping. Physiological reactivity includes the threshold, dampening, and reactivation of autonomic arousal (e.g., Boyce, Barr, & Zeltzer, 1992) highly reactive individuals have a lower threshold of initial response, are slower in recovery or returning to baseline, and display greater reactivation of arousal with repeated exposure to stress. High reactivity is generally associated with inhibited temperament, whereas low reactivity is associated with uninhibited temperament. Individual differences in reactivity and temperament are expected to be related to coping, because they affect the individual's initial automatic response to stress and may constrain or facilitate certain types of coping responses (Compas, 1987). Self-regulation is initially achieved through involuntary, biologically based processes (e.g., Blass & Ciaramitaro, 1994). These regulatory abilities are shaped early in development by responses that are acquired through learning and experience (Rothbart, 1991) Emotional and behavioral regulation skills involved in children's daily interactions in their social environment provide an important set of resources on which children can draw in attempting to cope with stress. An individual's developmental level both contributes to the resources that are available for coping and limits the types of coping responses the individual can enact. Early voluntary coping efforts tend to utilize primarily behavioral means to negate negative emotions, including seeking support and soothing from others, behavioral withdrawal from threat, and the use of tangible objects for soothing and security (Gunnar, 1994). More complex methods of achieving the goals of emotional regulation and problem solving emerge in early to middle childhood, with the development of more complex language and metacognitive capacities. These include cognitive refraining or restructuring a problem situation, cognitive representations of absent caregivers, using self-talk to calm negative emotions, and generating alternative solutions to solve problems (e.g., Moss, Gosselin, Parent, Rous- seau, & Dumont, 1997; Normandeau & Gobeil, 1998). Greater diversity and flexibility in the range of coping responses available to the individual is expected to develop during middle childhood and adolescence. In addition, with increasing metacognitive skills in early adolescence, a greater ability to match coping efforts to the perceived or objective characteristics of stress is expected. Subtypes of coping include the many individual ways one may cope with a stressor. These can be either constructive or destructive methods. For example: problem solving, information seeking, cognitive restructuring, seeking understanding, catastrophizing, emotional release or ventilation, physical activities, acceptance, distraction, distancing, avoidance, self-criticism, blaming others, wishful thinking, humor, suppression, social withdrawal, resigned acceptance, denial, alcohol or drug use, seeking social support, seeking informational support, and use of religion. Having a thorough understanding of the way an individual copes with stress in their lives leads to effective interventions.
  • Educators can accomplish this by creating a safe school environment, developing children’s effective stress management capabilities, and building effective home–school–community partnerships. For example, character education or developmental assets programs could be implemented, social problem solving could be integrated into the curriculum, and Parent education on the importance of their role in mediating stress could be offered. Individuals could be helped to manage specific stressors, restructure how they perceive events, and understand that coping is possible. One of the most universal interventions for coping with stress is accentuating the support that a child or adult perceives in his or her environment. Children who perceive that teachers or other significant adults care about them are less susceptible to negative stressors.
  • Staff should be able to serve as coping role models or be available as sources of support, however they may not be able to do so if they are having difficulty coping with their own life stressors. School psychologists should advocate for mental health support for staff as well as highlight those Resilience Builders in the school community who go above and beyond to make students’ resilience a focus of their work.
  • Three programs that have been recently featured include Social Decision Making/Problem Solving; The Coping Cat; and The Reaching Educators, Children, and Parents program.
  • The Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research lists 3 main types of relaxation techniques, including: * Autogenic relaxation. In this technique, you use both visual imagery and body awareness to reduce stress. You repeat words or suggestions in your mind to help you relax and reduce muscle tension. You may imagine a peaceful place and then focus on controlled, relaxing breathing, slowing your heart rate, or different physical sensations, such as relaxing each arm or leg one by one. * Progressive muscle relaxation. In this technique, you focus on slowly tensing and then relaxing each muscle group. This helps you focus on the difference between muscle tension and relaxation, and you become more aware of physical sensations. * Visualization. In this technique, you form mental images to take a visual journey to a peaceful, calming place or situation. Try to use as many senses as you can, including smells, sights, sounds and textures. If you imagine relaxing at the ocean, for instance, think about the warmth of the sun, the sound of crashing waves, the feel of the grains of sand and the smell of salt water.

Coping With Stress Coping With Stress Presentation Transcript

  • Coping With Stress Katie Killby
  • Stress
    • Stress is a subjective sensation associated with varied symptoms that differ for each of us.
    • Stress is not always a synonym for distress.
    • Stress increases productivity up to a point, after which things rapidly deteriorate.
    • Mental and physical health are aspects of functioning that are most strongly influenced by exposure to stress.
  • Causes of Stress in Children
  • Sources of Stress by Age
    • Infancy and early childhood: Stressors come from the environment
    • School age: In addition to environmental stressors, sources of stress also include school, peers, and neighborhood variables. Stressors can impact a child’s sense of security, dignity and honor, or sense of self-worth. A stress that is becoming more prominent for school-age children is the pressure related to high stakes testing and overbooked extracurricular schedules.
    • Early adolescence: Developmental milestones such as puberty, school level transitions, and peer relationships become primary sources of stress.
    • Late adolescence: Children are required to transition from dependence on the family to reliance on oneself and one’s friends. With independence come financial and social stressors related to higher education, career, building a family, and family relationships. (Copeland, 2004)
    • Grant, Compas, Thurm, McMahon, & Ey, (2000)
    • Found that psychosocial stress is a significant and pervasive risk factor for psychopathology in childhood and adolescence.
    • The ways in which children and adolescents cope with stress are potentially important mediators and moderators of the impact of stress on current and future adjustment and psychopathology.
    • Kaplan, Liu, Kaplan (2005)
    • Found a negative relationship between student perceived school-related stress and academic performance.
    • University of Washington (2008)
    • Found that a single exposure to uncontrollable stress impairs decision making in rats for several days.
  • Symptoms of Stress in Children
    • Irritability or unusual emotionality or volatility.
    • Sleep difficulty or nightmares.
    • Inability to concentrate.
    • Drop in grades or other functioning.
    • Toileting or eating concerns.
    • Headaches or stomachaches.
    • Unexplained fears or increased anxiety (that also can take the form of clinging).
    • Regression to earlier developmental levels.
    • Isolation from family activities or peer relationships.
    • Drug or alcohol experimentation.
    • (Copeland, 2004)
  • Coping
    • Lazarus and Folkman (1984) defined coping as "constantly changing cognitive and behavioral efforts to manage specific external and/or internal demands that are appraised as taxing or exceeding the resources of the person" (p. 141).
    • Voluntary vs Involuntary Response
    • Temperament, Reactivity and Self-Regulation
    • Developmental Impact
    • Subtypes of Coping
    • (Compass et al., 2001)
  • Building Resilience to Stress
    • Prevention
      • decreasing sources of stress in school environments
      • increasing the coping skills of all students
    • Targeted Intervention
      • helping the individual change the source of stress, or teaching specific coping skills to help the child adapt to a situation that cannot be changed
      • (Hess, 2006)
  • School Psychologist’s Role
    • Be familiar with with common stressors in your district
      • Culture of Classrooms, School & Community
    • Reinforce the importance of clear, consistent, and reasonable expectations
    • Teach problem-solving & coping skills
    • Introduce stress prevention and reduction strategies
    • Educate administration and faculty on mental health issues for students and staff (Hess, 2006)
  • Problem Solving & Coping Skills
    • Allow student to express difficulties
      • use their experiences as a lesson guide
    • Teach problem solving & coping skills by modeling
    • Use cognitive restructuring & coping statements
    • Provide scenarios for students to practice learned skills
    • Provide students with practical skills such as prioritizing, organizing, and self-advocating
    • A good resource for finding new and effective mental health programs is www.promisingpractices.net
  • Stress Prevention & Reduction Techniques
    • Take a break from stressful situations
      • Activities like listening to music, exercising, talking to a friend, drawing, writing, or spending time with a pet can reduce stress
    • Autogenic relaxation
    • Progressive muscle relaxation
    • Visualization
  • Practice Click on flower!