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  • 1. KAPLAN UNIVERSITYHW410 Stress: Critical Issues in Management andPrevention Stress Management and Prevention 1
  • 2. Program Resource Guide 2
  • 3. KAPLAN UNIVERSITYStress Management and Prevention Program Resource Guide By Teri Cristaldi Kaplan University HW410: Stress: Critical Issues in Management and Prevention November 22, 2011
  • 4. Table of Contents UNIT 1 THE NATU RE OF STRESS 4 Information to Remember Resources: Exercises: Paradigm of Wellness Revisited Tools: Journal Writing: Personal Stressor Inventory UNIT 2 THE PHYSI OL O GY OF STRESS 6 Information to Remember Resources: Exercises: Immediate, Intermediate and Prolonged Stress Affects Tools: Journal Writing: Physical Symptoms Questionnaire & My Health Profile UNIT 3 PSYCHOL OGY OF STRESS 8 Information to Remember Resources: Exercises: Anger Recognition List Tools: Journal Writing: Psychology of Your Stress UNIT 4 PERSONAL I TY TRAITS & HUM A N SPIRITU AL ITY 9 Information to Remember Resources: Exercises: Meaningful Purpose of Life Tools: Journal Writing: Stress-Prone Personality UNIT 5 DEAL ING W ITH STRESS: COPING STRATEGIE S 1 0 Information to Remember Resources: Exercises: Reframing: Seeing a Bigger, Clearer Perspective Tools: Journal Writing: Value Assessment & Clarification UNIT 6 BREATHI NG TECHNIQ UE 1 : BREATHI NG, M EDITATI ON, &M ENTAL IM AGERY 1 1 Information to Remember Resources: Exercises: Bridging Hemispheres of Thought Tools: Journal Writing: Dolphin Breath Meditation UNIT 7 NUTRITI ON AND STRESS 1 3 Information to Remember Resources: Exercises: Self-assessment Nutritional Eating Habits
  • 5. Tools: Journal Writing: Stress-related Eating HabitsUNIT 8 PHYSICAL EXERCISE & ACTIVIT Y 1 4 Information to Remember Resources: Exercises: Distractions of the Human Path Tools: Journal Writing: Physical ExerciseUNIT 9 APPL YING STRESS: CRITICAL M ANAGEM ENT ANDPREVEN TIO N TO YOUR PROF ESSIO NAL L IF E 1 6 Information to Remember Resources: Exercises: My Health Philosophy Tools: Journal Writing: Are You Stressed 17UNIT 1 0 APPL YING STRESS: CRITICAL M ANAGEM ENT ANDPREVEN TIO N TO YOUR PROF ESSIO NAL L IF E 1 8 Information to Remember Resources: Exercises Tools: Journal WritingADDITI ON AL INF ORM AT IO N 1 9 Resources (End of the Guide)
  • 6. (This page intentionally left blank)
  • 7. 1 UnitUnit 1: The Nature of StressInformation to Remember:  Key learning point 1: Defining stress. Stress is a perceived threat (real or imagined) to our mind, body, spirit, or emotions. When we experience change it causes stress, and this causes wear and tear on our bodies in the form of physical responses that can lead to chronic ailments. Stress occurs when we are unable to cope with problems, lose emotional control and we no longer have inner peace. (Seaward, 2009).  Key learning point 2: Physical symptoms of the stress response are increased blood pressure and heart rate, increased blood flow to the extremities, increased serum glucose and free fatty acids for energy metabolism, increased clotting ability, increase neural activity to muscles for contraction, increased perspiration and decreased gastric activity. This prepares our bodies to fight or flight even though many of our daily stressors do not warrant this type of physical reaction. If stress is continuous we end up with any of the multitude of stress related illnesses. (Seaward, 2009).  Key learning point 3: Types of stress: eustress (good stress) as it helps increase mental clarity, energized and prepares one to act, for example, having a deadline to meet or taking a test; neustress (neutral stress) as it does not affect a person; distress (bad stress) is the continuous stress that wears one down and can lead to chronic ailments.Resources: Exercises:  Wellness Paradigm Revisited. Research and statistics are showing that health is much more than the absence of disease; therefore the wellness paradigm is so important in letting people strive for more than just being free of disease. It also means to me having energy, feeling good most of the time and having a positive outlook on life.Tools: Journal Writing:  List the title(s) of Journal Writing(s) selected to include in the resource guide Personal Stressor Inventory, Top Ten Stressors. My top ten are starting a new career, going to school, caring for an aging parent, moving to a new town, conflicts with spouse and worry over finances. I chose this one so I can reflect back next year after I graduate and reevaluate my top stressors. 4
  • 8. 2 UnitUnit 2: The Physiology of StressInformation to Remember:  Key learning point 1: Stress affects memory. Studies have shown that “mild to moderate short-term stressors enhance memory.” (Sapolsky, 2004). Generally this kind of stress is like when we are studying for a test, preparing to give a talk, when you are passionate about or highly interested in something, your memory is sharper with improve recall. Long term chronic stress decreases memory due to the damage of the Hippocampus.  Key learning point 2: There are many physiological effects from prolonged stressors placed upon our memory processes in the brain. Some areas of the brain are affected that control our movements, balance and reflexes. When stress and anxiety is increased and unresolved or is not reversed, our neurons can become seriously damaged slowing and ultimately affecting memory, sensory, muscle coordination and motor responses. Recalling of information becomes more vulnerable to this increased stress. We have learned that alleviating stress through meditation and exercise for example, and not fully avoiding all stress can help us better cope with it. (Sapolsky, 2004).  Key learning point 3: According to Seaward (2009), the hippocampus is highly sensitive to the stress hormone cortisol, which aids in memory formation of stress. Repeated excessive exposure to cortisol accelerates the aging process of the hippocampus and may, cause damage or shrink brain cells.Resources: Exercises:  List the title (s) of Exercise (s) selected to include in the resource guide Immediate, Intermediate, and Prolonged Stress Affects. I have the typical fight-or-flight response when faced with an interview, or a deer running out in front of my car. The intermediate affects for me are tightness and soreness in my neck and shoulders and GI tract upset. 5
  • 9. Tools: Journal Writing:  List the title(s) of Journal Writing(s) selected to include in the resource guide Physical Symptoms Questionaire and My Health Profile. Helped me understand where I hold my tension in response to stress. I also know that my overall health has always been good. 6
  • 10. 3 Unit Blank page, I added it because I thought I needed for Chapter 2 but now I can’t get rid of it or make Chapter 3 move up.Unit 3: Psychology of StressInformation to Remember:  Key learning point 1: Building blocks of psychological stressors are outlets of frustration, social support, predictability, control, perception of things worsening or improving. How well we use these building blocks reflects how well we are able to handle stress. (Sapolsky, 2004).  Key learning point 2: Subtleties of predictability states that if we are forewarned of a stressor we can prepare and handle it better. Also if a stressor is reoccurring you learn how to adjust to the stressor.  Key learning point 3: Subtleties of control are how in control we are...or think we are of the stressors that we are presented with in our daily lives. This control, or lack of control, can have a bearing on how we handle the stressors in our life. The amount of control that we think we have on our lives has a direct relationship with the risk we have of a stress-related disease. If we have an inappropriate sense of control when faced with a stressor it can cause more problems or disease. (Sapolsky, 2004)Resources: Exercises:  List the title (s) of Exercise (s) selected to include in the resource guide Anger Recognition List. This exercise was enlightening to see what I do in response to anger instead of just resolving the issue of the anger through conversation with the person making me angry.Tools: Journal Writing:  List the title (s) of Journal Writing (s) selected to include in the resource guide Psychology of Your Stress. I learned that I get defensive when I am being blamed for something I didn’t do or for being something that I am not. I also will repress my anger as I have not learned to take care of myself first. I never learned how to express anger verbally so it doesn’t seem like I am attacking the other person. I learned that I am a somatizer from this unit’s exercises. I also very rarely remember my dreams more than just a minute or two after I wake up. 7
  • 11. 4 UnitUnit 4: Personality Traits and theHuman SpiritualityInformation to Remember:  Key learning point 1: Stress-prone personalities are individuals that are co-dependent (like me), Type A and helpless-hopeless. I have seen several people with the helpless-hopeless personality trait where I work. I just think to myself that they should get a life and do something productive, or get pets or something that they have to care for and not just be dwelling on themselves and their wants and needs all the time.  Key learning point 2: Six Pillars of Self-esteem: focus of action, practice living consciously, practice of self-acceptance, self-responsibility, self-assertiveness, living purposefully, and personal integrity. (Branden, 1994). I need to work on self-assertiveness the most.  Key learning point 3: Stress Resistant personalities are: hardy people who are resilient, creative and can accept their situation with out pessimism; sensation-seekers are confident, risk takers and optimistic; and survivors who accept a situation, creative problem solvers and have faith in themselves to handle what life throws their way.Resources: Exercises:  List the title (s) of Exercise (s) selected to include in the resource guide Meaning Purpose in Life. I liked reflecting on the stages of my life and what was important. Consistent throughout is caring for my family, job or education.Tools: Journal Writing:  List the title (s) of Journal Writing (s) selected to include in the resource guide Stress-Prone Personality Survey. My results showed I am codependent and have a lot of stress. I guess it is true, if I lived alone I would eliminate almost all of my stress. Trying to take care of everyone while working and going to school is quite a load. 8
  • 12. 5 UnitUnit 5: Dealing with Stress: CopingStrategiesInformation to Remember:  Key learning point 1: Effective Coping Strategies “should increase awareness of the situation, augment the information processing of stress, help modify any related stress-prone behaviors, and work toward a peaceful resolution of the stressor.” (Seaward, 2004).  Key learning point 2: Attitude. “Everything can be taken away from man but one thing-the last human freedom, to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances,” writes Viktor Frankl, Nazi concentration camp survivor. (Seaward, 2004).  Key learning point 3 “Toxic thoughts are a form of negative self-defeating self-talk, a form of ego- generated pessimism that often sabotages our best efforts.” (Seaward, 2004). This is something I am trying to work on not doing. I am trying to use positive affirmations and thoughts of gratitude when I get toxic thoughts.Resources: Exercises:  List the title (s) of Exercise (s) selected to include in the resource guide. There was not an exercise for unit 5, so I included the exercise for Reframing: Seeing a Bigger, Clearer Perspective. It does help to reframe one’s thoughts about a stressor. It helps you to solve the problem by looking at it from a different perspective.Tools: Journal Writing:  List the title (s) of Journal Writing (s) selected to include in the resource guide Value Assessment and Clarification helped remind me of what is important to me. Caring for my family, excelling at my schoolwork and on the job, material possessions except for family heirlooms and handcrafted items do not hold much value for me. 9
  • 13. 6 UnitUnit 6: Breathing Techniques 1:Breathing, Meditation and MentalImageryInformation to Remember:  Key learning point 1: Using the five senses to calm and relax. One can close eyes and visual a calm scene to help relax. Listening to music can ease stress and tension. Aromatherapy is the use of fragrances to set a mood. Our sense of taste is important to us as we all will gravitate to our favorite comfort foods in time of stress. Sense of touch is vital to humans, infants die without it.  Key learning point 2: Exercise is essential to reducing stress. Exercise counteracts the stress response so it doesn’t cause harm. It helps release the hormones of the fight or flight response. Exercise will help elevate mood, improve energy, help improve sleep, improve physical fitness and help with self- esteem. (Seaward, 2004).  Key learning point 3: Meditation. According to the Theosophical Society in Australia’s article on The Art of Meditation “Meditation is perfect stillness -silence of the body, silence of speech, and silence of mind” and “Meditation proper begins where active thought ceases and one becomes aware of the inner meaning of the object of meditation. (Unit 6, lesson 3).Resources: Exercises:  Bridging the Hemispheres of Thought. I learned from this exercise that I am more left brained dominant as I am more interested in facts, the sciences, am an orderly and logical thinker. I am not interested in fantasy. I am not very spiritual and do not have much faith in something I can’t witness with my five senses.Tools: Journal Writing:  List the title (s) of Journal Writing (s) selected to include in the resource guide. Dolphin Breath Meditation. I have used this form of meditation to relax and go to sleep at night. First I deep breathe while doing pelvic tilts to relax my lower back, next I stretch each leg. I repeat several positive affirmation 10
  • 14. 7 Unit phrases while diaphragmatic breathing. I usually fall off to sleep. If I don’t then I start tightening and relaxing each body part while deep breathing.Unit 7: Nutrition and StressInformation to Remember:  Key learning point 1: Stress affects digestion, absorption and assimilation of food. Chronic stress is more insidious because you may not experience as extreme digestive problems as just described but may still have problems with digestion and absorption. Nutritional deficiencies of vitamins and minerals are very common due to stress related poor digestion and absorption as well as nutrient poor and toxic foods that are more commonly eaten.  Key learning point 2: Stress domino factors: body reacts to stress and poor digestion results in nutritional deficits; habits and lifestyles are affected by stress; foods we eat can increase stress and further undermine our health; processed foods and the chemicals in foods stresses our immune systems and can cause disease.  Key learning point 3: Stress affects our eating habits and what foods we choose. Sometimes we may eat more or may eat less when stressed. Comfort foods will evocate fond and warm memories of family and may actually enhance mood by release of serotonins. Some foods contribute to stress like caffeine and sugar because they increase the physical stress response.Resources: Exercises:  List the title (s) of Exercise (s) selected to include in the resource guide from unit 7 journal. Self- assessment Nutritional Eating Habits. Mine are fairly good, I eat mostly home cooked meals with fruits and vegetables, limit salt, sugar and fats.Tools: Journal Writing:  List the title (s) of Journal Writing (s) selected to include in the resource guide. Stress-Related Eating Behaviors. I scored a 25 on this exercise, which indicated I did not have many stress related eating behaviors. I eat at home or have home cooked meals at one place I work, or I take leftovers from home to my other job. 11
  • 15. 8 UnitUnit 8: Physical Exercise andActivityInformation to Remember:  Key learning point 1: When we get stressed from all the things that happen in our daily lives, our bodies produce the hormones of stress like cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine. These hormones produce the fight or flight response. So instead of getting angry and frustrated, take flight and get physically active. Per Seaward, “Not only does physical exercise utilize the stress hormones for their intended purpose, the cathartic release of stress is nearly unbeatable.”(Seaward, 2009).  Key learning point 2: Exercise helps balance the body, eliminates stress hormones by using them up instead of lingering in the body. Regular exercise helps the body not respond to the fight or flight response as much and causes a relaxation effect called parasympathetic rebound. (Seaward, 2009).  Key learning point 3: Research done on the effects that exercise has on the body and the brain’s response to stressors demonstrates that exercise renews brain cells, keeps you mentally alert, and helps you to age “gracefully” (Seward, 2009). Exercise not eliminates the stress hormones, it provides more oxygen to the brain cells and helps rid the toxins. Also exercise uplifts the spirits and many people experience the runner’s high.Resources: Exercises:  List the title (s) of Exercise (s) selected to include in the resource guide unit 4 exercise: Distractions of the Human Path. I have so many distractions in my daily life. Distractions on completing schoolwork are myriad, like work, caring for elderly parents, attention to spouse and household responsibilities. Distractions to exercising include all of the above and also it winter and it is cold and dark. Most days I do to work in the dark and come home in the dark. I do not see light very often. My home office is also in a windowless basement room. 12
  • 16. 9 UnitTools: Journal Writing:  List the title (s) of Journal Writing (s) selected to include in the resource guide Physical Exercise. The physical activities that I enjoy are bowling, gardening, walking my dogs and kayaking. Once I went to a yoga class weekly for a few weeks and I really enjoyed the benefits. I felt stronger and more energized after class. I also belonged to a Curves For Women fitness center and worked out for a year before they closed down. I did enjoy the benefits. I find that I have to be away from home to do exercise and to be committed or pay for it to be disciplined to stay with it.Unit 9: Applying Stress: CriticalIssues for Management andPrevention to Your Professional LifeInformation to Remember:  Key learning point 1: Importance of forgiveness. Per Seaward (2009), “holding a grudge or feelings of resentment appears to be a form of control over the person or circumstance involved. But these feelings are an illusion of control. The toxicity of these thoughts sours one’s outlook on life and eventually seeps into other aspects of one’s personality, causing defensiveness and even more vulnerability to stressors, perpetuating the cycle of self-victimization.” Also it is very important when learning to use forgiveness of others as a coping technique is also to forgive our self for having those inappropriate thoughts and behaviors. (Seaward, 2009).  Key learning point 2: Hobbies allow us to take our minds off the daily stressors that life throws our way. It allows us to be creative, social, and physical depending on what ones hobby is. Also pet ownership is very beneficial in relieving stress. Having unconditional love, someone always happy to see you, and opportunity to exercise with them encourages stress release.  Key learning point 3: There is power in knowledge. Research, information and preparation are beneficial to being successful in life. Information can remove the unknown in a situation that could cause fear and stress. 13
  • 17. Resources: Exercises:  List the title (s) of Exercise (s) selected to include in the resource guide: unit 1 My Health Philosophy. My health philosophy has been to eat as wholesome as possible and with what is available locally, use vitamins, minerals and herbs to heal, and to exercise when I can. I want to age gracefully and be vital into old age.Tools: Journal Writing:  List the title (s) of Journal Writing (s) selected to include in the resource guide: unit 1 journal Are You Stressed? I scored 10 points on this exercise indicating I have a high level of stress. Sometimes I have a hard time falling to sleep, I do not find humor in much of anything, I eat at my desk while doing schoolwork, and wish I had more time for leisure. 14
  • 18. 10 UnitUnit 10: Applying Stress: CriticalManagement to your Personal LifeInformation to Remember:  Key learning point from the unit about Applying Stress: Critical Management to Your Personal Life <insert your text>  Key learning point from the unit about Applying Stress: Critical Management to Your Personal Life <insert your text>  Key learning point from the unit about Applying Stress: Critical Management to Your Personal Life <insert your text>Resources: Exercises:  List the title (s) of Exercise (s) selected to include in the resource guide <insert your text>Tools: Journal Writing:  List the title (s) of Journal Writing (s)selected to include in the resource guide <insert your text> 15
  • 19. Additional Information and ReferencesBranden, N. (1994). The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem. Bantam Books, New York. Secondary source.Help Guide: Relaxation Practices That Help Reduce Stress: Guided Imagery http://www.helpguide.org/ mental/stress_relief_meditation_yoga_relaxation.htm . Web site offers information about relaxation techniques including guided imagery to help reduce stress. Secondary Source.Hendricks, G. (1995). Conscious Breathing. Bantam Books. Book helps explore more advance breathing techniques. Secondary source.HW410, Unit 6, Lesson 3: The Art of Meditation. Primary source.Sapolsky, R. (2004). Why Zebras Dont Get Ulcers. 3rd Edition. St. Martins Griffin publishers. Primary source.Seaward, B.L. (2009). Managing Stress: Strategies for Health and Well-Being. Massachusetts: Jones and B artlett. Primary source.Weil, A. (1999). Breathing: The Master Key to Self-Healing. Sounds True, ISBN# 156455726X. Audio tape that discusses the health benefits of breathing and directs the listener through 8 breathing exercises. Secondary source. 16