Stress coping skills training module


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Stress coping skills training module

  1. 1. ABOUT THE PROGRAMME Stress is common to everyone; however, we differ in how we respond toour stressors. When we are under or over aroused, we cannot perform our taskat our best. Peak performance is achieved when we are in a state of optimumarousal. In our every day situation, if we are in control of our thinking, feelingand action we can reduce the stress and increase our performance. We tend tothink, feel and act in a consistent way in accordance with our own beliefs andcoping strategies. Most of us habitually react to our life events without muchawareness. If we learn to think, feel and act in a helpful, flexible and realisticway we can reduce stress and can gain something out of our stressful lifeevents. This programme designed to cultivate coping resources to minimize theimpact and maximize the benefits from our every day stressful events.OBJECTIVES 1. Identifying present, future stressors and our responses to that stress 2. Providing multiple skills to achieve a sense of mastery over stressors 3. Increase awareness of use of maladaptive ways of coping with stress 4. Build up general personal resources to meet upcoming challenges and personal growth 5. Identify and use beneficial source of social supportRATIONAL FOR THE PROGRAM The prevalence of stress is increasing among college students.Maladaptive coping may lead to adjustment problems and unhealthy outcomes.The ways in which an individual appraises and cope with the situation are moreimportant to psychological well-being. Avoidance of coping is not alwayshelpful in learning situation, confront or appraising a stressors as a challengewould be beneficial. Stress coping skills prevents stress related problems andpromotes personal growth. Training of certain skills such as problem solvingand social skills would prevent stress and enhance coping skills. In order toprevent stress related problems it is necessary to improve the competencies of
  2. 2. students, making them more able to cope with whatever difficulties life mightbring. Some of the competencies that seem be related to stress coping skills are1) anticipate or detect potential stressors and identifying functional,dysfunctional coping; 2) taking responsibility for one’s behaviour and itsoutcome; 3) building satisfying relationship with others; 4) develop effectivecognitive problem solving and decision making skills. Those students who areunskilled in these areas might experience and avoid stress. Training in theseskills makes them more competent and coping efficiency is maximized.RESEARCH METHOD This study adopted quasi-experimental design. Two-group pre-test, post-test non-equivalent group design was utilized in this study. The trainingprogramme was developed to enhance the following skills: critical thinking,problem solving, decision-making, communication, interpersonal skills and self-regulation. The sample of this study comprises of 88 students of two sectionsfrom III year BSc computer science, from Arts and Science College,Puducherry. Forty-four students were assigned as experimental group, andforty-four students were assigned as control group. The pre-test wasadministered to both groups and homogeneity was established. The controlgroup did not receive any training whereas the experimental group receivedtraining for 21 days. The post-test was administered to both groups andeffectiveness was assessed.RESULTSThe finding of the resent study reveals that through intensive trainingprogramme the coping skills can be enhanced significantly. If the students areprovided with the sense of competence through the coping skills trainingprograms they will become more competent which in turn will help them toprevent various stress related problems and dysfunctional coping.
  3. 3. Session- IKNOW MORE ABOUT STRESSAim: 1. To understand the concept of stress 2. To understand their source and existence of stress 3. To understand their reactions to stressNATURE OF STRESS Stress = Demand - coping resources 1. Stress is inevitable 2. Stress can be positive as well as negative 3. Stress can be harmful to health 4. We can prevent, control and cope up with stress.NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF STRESS 1. Promoting negative thinking 2. Damaging self-confidence 3. Narrowing attention 4. Preoccupation 5. Consumes mental energy 6. Generate unpleasant emotion 7. Interpersonal problem 8. Many of our bad habits and illness are due to the effect of stressPOSITIVE EFFECTS 1. Stress is a source of energy 2. Prepare the body to meet challenges 3. Physiological alertness and arousal give signal to us
  4. 4. STRESS AND OUR PERFORMANCE RELATIONSHIP Controllable High Personal responsibility Choice Active Confused performance Energetic Uncontrollable Levels of Chance Get help Relax Cut down Passive Withdraw Bored Low StressFigure – 1 shows the relationship between stress and performancePassive – waiting for something to happen (chance)Active – make something to happen (choice)Confused – obstacle or lack of clear plan or goal (confuse)Withdraw – give up, avoidance (cut down)Confusion – redChance – yellow similar to traffic signalChoice - green
  5. 5. Example of our thinking, feeling and action and its outcome;Your Chance Choice ConfusionThinking No thinking Clear thinking Unclear /wrong Believe in luck Plan and goal thinking Believe your ability DoubtFeeling Don’t feel the importance Regulated feelings Heightened, No motivation Self-motivation unregulated feelings External motivationAction Joy in inaction Joy in action Work on unclear plan Pleasure seeking Moderate risk taking and goal Low risk takingExample Not preparing well Active preparation UnrealisticUpcoming Procrastinate Regular study habit expectationexam/interview Conflicting motivesStress Distress probably will Good stress Distress now follow Session - 2OUR THINKING, FEELING AND ACTINGAim:1. To be aware of our thought feeling and actions2. To identify links between thinking, feeling and acting and its outcome3. To improve consequential thinking4. To know more about helpful and unhelpful thought feeling and actions. Everyone thinks, it is our nature to do so. However, much of our thinking,left to itself is biased, distorted, partial, uninformed and prejudiced. Criticalthinking is the art of analyzing and evaluating thinking with a view toimproving it. Critical thinking helps us to be more successful and experiencemore positive emotions.
  6. 6. NATURE OF THINKING, FEELING AND ACTING Thinking Feeling Acting Fig: 2 shows the reciprocal relationship between thinking, feeling and action Role play: 1. You are waiting for an interview in a room 2. You are kept waiting for a very long time 3. You are not successful in this interview. This is the fourth interview where you have been rejected. Role of thinking, feeling and acting discussed with Participants after the role-playCheck it whether you react or respond React Respond Thinking Reflexive Thoughtful Feeling Unpredictable Predictable Action Out of control In control Possible outcome Dissatisfied SatisfiedReflexive – impulsive, habitual without much awarenessUnpredictable – without assuming the likelihood of the probable out come.Out of control – not much awareness of your action and its probable out comeDissatisfied – the end result of thinking, feeling and action
  7. 7. Perception FeedbackFig: 3 shows the link between thinking, feeling, action and its outcome When a stress event occurs, first we have to be aware of our thoughts,feelings and actions. Next check is it helpful to deal with the situation, and thenwe make a change if necessary. We all differ in how we perceive, express andmanage emotions. We need to understand and regulate our emotions so thatthey are most appropriate to the task or situation at hand. Different emotionscreate different information processing and vice versa. Coping with our ownthoughts, emotions help us to cope better.Check your thinking Flexible Rigid Realistic Unrealistic Helpful Unhelpful Session - 3PROBLEM SOLVING AND DECISION MAKINGAim:1. To understand the complexity of the problems2. To understand the importance of systematic approach to some problems3. Provide problem solving &decision making skills
  8. 8. Problem solving involves finding our way towards a goal. The object ofproblem solving is usually a solution, answer or conclusion. Decision making isabout deciding what action to take; it usually involves choice between options.Ineffective problem solving and hasty decision making are more likely leads toemotional distress and stressful pay off. We need to develop systematicapproach when we are dealing with complex real life problems. There aredifferent models; the five step model shown below has provend effective,IDEAL Identify problems and opportunities – what is my real problem Define goals – desired goal Explore possible strategies – plan, steps and priority Anticipate outcomes and act Look back and learn – feedbackWhy some problems are complex 1. Conflicting motives 2. Uncertain, ambiguous situation 3. Risk involved 4. Different perspectives/ point of views 5. Many people involved 6. Different solutionBarriers 1. Lack of knowledge / skills 2. Personal / social factors- values, attitudes, emotion, expectation pressure. Session - 4COMMUNICATION AND INTERPERSONAL SKILLSAim: 1. To provide communication skills 2. Aware of interpersonal issues 3. Giving and receiving emotional support
  9. 9. Relationship can be a common source of stress and also importantresource for combating stress. The ability to communicate care and concern isessential to maintain a good relationship. Building strong relationship is veryessential to cope up with stress. High quality social relationships involves beingaware of our thinking, feeling and then communicating those ideas. Maintainrelationship involves recognizing difficulties early and dealing with our ownhidden agenda, mind reading and negative assumptions etc. Role play 1. making request 2. handling conflicts 3. expressing difficult feelings 4. giving emotional support 5. understanding different point of views 6. understanding other persons emotions and handle Effective communication in our interaction with others can be a significantway of lowering our own stress levels even in unpleasant situations; we can feelgood about our own skillful responses. Learning to communicate better will getus involved with others and help us express our needs more clearly and calmly.We need to learn to understand and regulate emotions of other people to cheerthem up when they are down, to engage them when we want them to listen tous.BALL GAME Three pair of participants is needed to perform this game. One person fromeach pair is instructed privately as follows, (1) Serve and receive your ball withgenuine interest. (2) Not serve your ball in such a way the ball cannot be caught.(3) Serve your ball correctly, but do not catch the ball while your partner servesyou.
  10. 10. When each pair is playing the game, the participants are observed silently.At the end of the game, the players share their feelings. As expected, the firstpair played their game interestingly and it lasted for long. Other two pairs maytend to manipulate each other and the game ended abruptly. Finally, theresearcher explained that the same analogy was true when we were notcommunicating or receiving the information with genuine interest. In suchsituation, our conversation will not give the positive benefits.COMMUNICATION HANDOUT Receive Send Resist Impulsive R E Mind reading Blame A Misinterpret Criticize C T Judge Revenge I Passive Dominate V Avoid E Preoccupation Rigid Open Acceptance P R Attend Respect O Listen Positive A C Empathize Supportive T Understand Express I V E 7 STEPS TO SUCCESSFUL COMMUNICATION 1. Listen more carefully and responsively 2. Explain your conversational intent and invite consent 3. Express yourself more clearly and completely 4. Translate your complaints and criticisms into specific request and explain your request
  11. 11. 5. Ask questions more open ended and more creatively 6. Express more appreciation 7. Adopt the continuous learning approach to livingPUSH AND PULL GAME The participants are asked to count 1 and 2 to divide the group into two.Group one participants are instructed as follows ‘you have to bring your partnerto the target fixed by the trainer for example to the other side of the room. Youcan use any strategies like push, pull, or convince your partner to come alongwith you. The other group is instructed as follows, ‘you can do what you wishto do. One person from group one and one person from group two are asked toform a pair. The first person stands in front and the other person stand behindthe other. Now, the trainer starts the game, each one use his or her ownstrategies, after given time (10 to 15 minutes) game will be stopped. At the end,the trainer explains the games purpose. The same analogy is true when weinteract with others especially during conflict. We use win-lose or lose-winstrategies instead of win-win strategies. But it is very important to understandthe other person’s point of view to gain co-operation. Session - 5COPING SKILLS TRAININGAim: 1. To modify appraisal of daily events 2. To use cognitive restructuring 3. To reduce the risk of using maladaptive coping Our personal experiences can influence our perception, appraisal of thesituation and coping strategies. Under stress, we are not much thoughtful toprocessing information as when our lives are calm. Changing the relational
  12. 12. meaning of what is happening is a very powerful and widely employed device for regulating thoughts and feelings. Self-regulation consists of learning to delay action, being aware of both what one is feeling and thinking as well as how one is presenting oneself. Our responses to stressful events are the key to successful adaptation and personal growth. The first step in coping with our life events is to become aware of our own habitual reaction to the situation. The second step is to assume responsibility to engage our thinking in helpful ways. Third step will be to choose our action in appropriate manner so that we can cope with it more constructively. Events, our appraisal and its outcome Optimum Goal Challenge arousal mastery Event Person’s appraisal Threat Under Physical/ Harm Psychological /over Loss distress arousalActivity Brainstorming – how you take it if you face failure, loss, conflict,pressure and change Role-play
  14. 14. COPING SKILLS HANDOUTWhat is lacking in you? Each area is important to handle life events1. Knowledge- gathers relevant information2. Skills – acquire needed skills3. Objectives- take a new look, make new meaning, have clear goal and plan4. Practice – do the daily routine such as regular exercise diet, relaxation and carryout action towards the goal/plan5. Social support – give and receive help from others, talk to someone you trustNEEDED SKILLS1. Critical thinking skill Critical thinking skills help us to reduce the errors in our thinking.2. Problem solving & decision making skill Systematic approach to complex problems will help us to improve ourquality of life.3. Communication skill Appropriate communication prevents us from much stress. For exampleaggressive people dominate others; non assertive people avoid the issue.4. Interpersonal skill Family and friends are important in helping us to cope with stress.Developing and maintaining satisfying relationship may be necessary during aperiod of stressful life situation.5. Self-regulation We need to regulate our thinking, feeling and acting so that they are mostappropriate to the situation which prevents stress.These five skills are complementary to each other and are essential for usto coping with our stressful life events.
  15. 15. About me My name is K. Kumar. I am a counseling psychologist and psychotherapist. Ihave received my PhD in Psychology. I have been founder director of CIRPE -Center for Improving Relationship and Personal Effectiveness, Puducherry, India. Visit: To know more about me