Dawn BurtonYou will learn some basic information about stress. Become more aware of the impact of negativity on your health. Next, you will identifyyour symptoms and sources of stress and negativity. Then you will evaluate yourstress by asking two important questions. Finally, you will learn how todevelop effective strategies to deal with stress, negativity in personal and professional settings.
Dawn BurtonEvery year, the American Psychological Association (APA) conducts astress survey and publishes the results. While specific statistics changefrom year to year, the general factors that cause stress tend to be thesame. As each item is named, stand if you feel stressed by it: moneyand the economy, work, personal and family health, family and relationships,and personal safety. Are there any other major items that arestressful to you? Allow 2 to 3 minutes for participants to share.
Danielle GreenStress occurs when you believe that demands placed on you aregreater than your abilities to meet them. It is your personal response tocertain situations. It doesn’t result from specific life events, but maycome from any situation or thought. Events that are stressful to youmay not be stressful to someone else.
Danielle Green• Short-term. Stress is experienced during an immediate or perceivedthreat. Your body responds with the fight-or-flight response that preparesyou for an emergency, generating a physical response to meetthe energy demands of the situation. When the threat passes, yourbody relaxes.• Long-term. Stress comes from ongoing situations or thoughts, suchas health conditions, relationship problems, or financial worries. Longtermstress usually generates less of a physical response, but yourbody experiences the stressful state for a longer time. Experiencingchronic stress can take a toll on your health and well-being.
Dawn BurtonStress can have positive or negative effects, depending on the situationand your response to it.• Positive. Stress with positive effects is exciting and promises opportunity,such as the birth of a child or a new job. It can challenge and motivateyou. Thirty years of studies on stress have found that short-termstress that has an end in sight may actually boost your immune system.Positive effects of stress may result in repair or elimination ofdamaged cellular proteins. This may prevent cell damage, which may,in turn, help prevent disease and promote longevity. Let’s face it: lifewould be pretty boring without some stress. A tolerable amount ofstress can be mentally stimulating and increase productivity and performance.• Negative. Stress with negative effects occurs when you feel out ofcontrol or under constant or intense pressure. The less control youhave over potentially stressful events and the more uncertainty involved,the more likely you are to feel the negative effects of stress.When experienced on a long-term basis, many of the physical reactionsthat accompany stress can damage your health. (Stress maycontribute to the following health problems: increased or decreasedappetite, stomachache, diarrhea, depression, anxiety, increased heartrate, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high triglycerides.Stress may also worsen other illnesses.)
Dawn BurtonToday we will discuss three steps to help you manage stress in yourlife: identify symptoms and sources of stress, evaluate your stress, anddevelop effective stress-coping strategies.
Dawn BurtonThe first step to identifying your stress is to recognize the symptoms ofstress that you experience. Stress can produce physical, emotional, behavioral,and intellectual symptoms. Nervous habits may appear, andhealth problems may develop. You may not realize that your body istelling you when you are experiencing too much stress.
NERVOUS SYSTEM: When stressed—physically or psychologically—the body suddenly shifts its energy resources to fighting off the perceived threat. In what is known as the fight or flight response. The sympathetic nervous system signals the adrenal glands to release adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones make the heart beat faster, raise blood pressure, change the digestive process and boost glucose levels in the bloodstream. Once the crisis passes, body systems usually return to normal.MUSCULOSKELETAL SYSTEM: Under stress, muscles tense up. The contraction of muscles for extended periods can trigger tension headaches, migraines and various musculoskeletal system.RESPIRATORY SYSTEM: Stress can make you breathe harder and cause rapid breathing or hyperventilation which can bring on panic attacks in some people.CARDIOVASCULAR SYSTEM: Acute stress—stress that is momentary, such as being stuck in traffic—causes an increase in heart rate and stronger contractions of the heart muscle. Blood vessels that direct blood to the large muscles and to the heart dilate, increasing the amount of blood pumped to these parts of the body. Repeated episodes of acute stress can cause inflammation in the coronary arteries, thought ot lead to heart attack.ENDOCRINE SYSTEM: Adrenal glands (Stress Hormones). Liver produces more glucose.GASTROINTESTINAL: Esophagus: stress may prompt you to eat much more or much less than you usually do. This could trigger acid reflux or heartburn. Stomach: your stomach can react with butterflies or even nausea or pain. You may vomit is stress is severe enough. Bowels. Stress can effect digestion and nutrients that your intestines absorb. It can also affect how quickly food moves through your body. You may find that you have either diarrhea or constipation.REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM: In men, excess amounts of cortisol, produced under stress, can affect the normal functioning of he reproductive system. Chronic stress can impair testosterone and sperm production and cause impotence. In women stress can cause absent or irregular menstrual cycles or more painful periods. It can also reduce sexual desire.
Danielle Green Re: Balanced Living Handout #1The “Symptoms of Stress” handout lists common warning symptoms ofstress. Identify and circle the symptoms you usually experience whenunder stress. Allow 2 to 3 minutes for participants to identify their stresssymptoms.
Danielle GreenThe sources of stress can be divided into two categories:• External. Stress in this category includes events and situations thathappen in your life. You have control over some of this stress but notall of it. - Work. Examples include an overwhelming workload or an impossibleboss or coworker. - Family. Examples include a fight with your spouse, an uncooperative child, or a pushy mother-in-law. - Life changes. Examples include getting married, being pregnant, having a new child, being promoted, moving to a new house, experiencing the death of a loved one, or going through a divorce. - Unpredictable events. Examples include acts of terrorism, increase in monthly bills, an uninvited house guest, or a pay cut. - Social. Examples include making a speech or going on a blind date.• Internal. Stress in this category comes from within you, like thoughts,feelings, and actions. Generally, you have more control over internalstress. - Expectations. Being a perfectionist or having a controlling personality can lead to high stress levels. Overscheduling or not planning ahead can also greatly contribute to stress. - Worry. Stress can come from worrying about what may happen in the future or how someone may react. - Attitude. Being negative increases stress for yourself and others. - Behavior. Poor choices, such as being inconsiderate or wasting time, will elevate your stress and others’ stress. - Health. Short- or long-term disease is stressful to your mind and body. While you can’t control everything about health, there are some aspects of health you do have control over. Poor health habits may include smoking or chewing tobacco, not getting enough sleep, chronic over- or under eating, and not being physically active.
Danielle GreenRe: Balanced Living Handout #2The “Sources of Stress” handout lists some general sources of stress.In the table at the bottom of the handout, identify and list specificsources of stress in your life that lead to negative stress symptoms.Allow 2 to 3 minutes for participants to list specific sources of stress intheir lives. Invite them to share a source of stress with the group.
Re: Balanced Living HandoutStroke prevention typically focuses on controlling our blood pressure, cholesterol, weight and diabetes, but our attitude seems to also make a difference. A recent study published in Stroke looked at 6,044 people who were part of the Health and Retirement study. During a 2-year period, 88 of these people had a stroke. All of the participants were administered a test called the LOT-R, which measures a person's optimism and pessimism. Typical questions include, "In uncertain times, I usually expect the best," or "If something can go wrong for me, it will." The authors looked at dispositional optimism, which is the expectation that more good things than bad things will happen in the future. The study suggested that optimism had a protective effect against having a stroke -- optimists had fewer strokes than pessimists.Previous studies have also suggested the health benefit of optimism. A 2009 study published in Circulation looked at 97,253 women who were tested for optimism and a cynical hostile attitude toward others. The most cynical and hostile women had a higher incidence of coronary heart disease and vascular death, while optimistic women had lower rates. Once again, being an optimist can have a protective effect, while being a pessimist can be detrimental to your health. This study is keeping in tune with the data on Type-A personalities, where hostility is also a lethal trait.Another study tracked 6,958 students at the University of North Carolina from the mid 1960s to 2006. The pessimistic individuals had higher death rates and were more likely to utilize medical services and develop depression and poor physical health. Over a 40-year period, the death rate was 42 percent higher amongst the most pessimistic group.
Re: Balanced Living Handout- Dealing With Toxic PeopleNegative people not only come in different sizes and shapes, they also assume various roles and priorities in your life (sometimes changing over time) and can contribute to the stress in your life. How you handle them depends on their spot in your personal hierarchy. Here are two to consider:A negative boss Curmudgeon- Always presents worse case scenario. Looks at what’s going wrong and rarely acknowledging anything that is going right.Advice: Keep your distance. Limit the number of conversations you have with this type of individuals and keep all interactions brief and to the point.Yes, But-ter- Have you ever walked into your boss’s office with a great idea that you know would change the way your organization does business and would eventually increase revenue for the company and within minutes your dream of a promotion turns into a vision of you on a street corner holding a “WILL WORK FOR FOOD SIGN”. Advice: As deflated as you may feel you may want to stop and ask yourself: Am I rocking the boat?, Does this person want to be sold?, or Am I prepared?Tragi-Dramatic- No matter what this boss can take the smallest incident and blow it into a major crisis. Although, you may have already dealt with the issues and prevented any fires your boss is too wrapped up in staging a dram to hear your response.Advice: Remain calm, write a memo afterward outlining the situation and the steps you took to prevent a major fire. But don’t try to interrupt, this will only create more drama.Perfectionist-Though not necessarily a negative boss per se, the perfectionist can certainly create a negative atmosphere. They expect everything to be done perfectly. This requirement, of course, is impossible to satisfy.Advice: the most effective way to work with this perfectionist is to ask LOTS of questions. Ask them to CLEARLY define the desired outcome.A negative co-workerMoaners and groaners- “I cant stand this place”, “Printers are always broken”, “soda machine keeps taking my money”, “I am clocking out at 4:59 pm…they bet-not ask me to stay overtime”.Advice: Is this person aware of how negative he or she sounds. You have a right to establish boundaries—whether your relationship with this person is personal or not---letting this person know that you don’t want to be a part of a negative conversation.Manipulators- Sees people as pawns to move about, as in a chess game. Creating situations to their liking. Likes to intimidate and make others seem useless.Advice: Be calm with this person. Take a deep breath and without being disrespectful remind this individual of your credentials and why you were hired to do what you are doing. Let them know that if there is anything that you would need from them you would certainly let them know.Victims- Why me? Why is everyone always picking on me? That’s the standard battle cry of the perpetual victim. These people feel stuck in their helplessness and hopelessness and exert no control over a situation (though frequently they are the one who have set it up to begin with)Advice: Your initial response may be to sympathize. Don’t. By sympathizing you only encourage more “poor me’s”. Listen carefully to what self made victims are saying and try to get them to examine possible solutions to the situation. They are not natural problem solvers, but with your support they may find ways to deal with situations that in the past have made them feel like victims.Crabapples – You walk into the office in a really good mood and there is MR. SOURPUSS sitting at his desk. You smile and greet him and he gives you a negative response. This is a common every day occurrence.Advice: You can accept this crabapple the way he is and stop internalizing his responses as a direct attack on you, or you may want to consider him as one of those people who doesn’t function well in the morning.
Dawn BurtonNow that you have identified some sources of stress in your life, youcan evaluate your stress by asking yourself two questions: Is it importantto you? Will it matter in a day, week, month, or year from now?2) Can you control it? In the table, check whether the source of stress isimportant and/or controllable. Evaluating your stress will help you to developeffective coping strategies. Allow 2 to 3 minutes for participants tocheck whether their stress is important and/or controllable.
Dawn BurtonForm groups of three or four people.• For the next 2 to 3 minutes, those of you that would like to may shareyour source of stress with the group and why you evaluated it the wayyou did. If you were unsure how to evaluate your source of stress,your group may be able to help you.
Dawn BurtonSpend most of your energy on stressors that are important and controllable.There are two ways you can reduce this kind of stress:• Alter. How can you change your situation to lessen the impact ofstress on you?• Avoid. How can you get away from or prevent this source of stress?
Danielle Green Taking inventory is one of the most important things you can do duringtimes of stress. To alter your stress, you will attempt to change your situationso that things work better in the future.• Ask others to change and be willing to do the same. If small problemsare not resolved, they often create larger ones. For example, ifyour children always fight while riding in the car, ask them to keep thenoise level down. To help them, provide activities to keep them busy,like positive conversation, games, music, or videos.• Communicate feelings openly. In order to communicate effectively,use “I” statements, such as “I feel frustrated by shorter deadlines and aheavier workload. Is there something we can do to balance things out?”• Take action. Sometimes inaction causes tension and stress. Makinga decision, even one with risks, gets you moving and can actually relievea lot of stress in the long run. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.For example, if work is a chronic source of stress, start step-by-stepplans to find another job.• State limits in advance. Be proactive. One example may be to sharebudget limits with family members before a shopping trip or holiday.
Danielle Green A lot of stress can simply be avoided.• Plan ahead. Is traffic insane? Leave early or take an alternate route.• Take control. Hate waiting in line to eat lunch? Pack your lunch andeat whenever and wherever you want.• Say no. You have a lot of demands on your time. You also have a lotof opportunities for how to spend your time. When making choicesabout how to spend your time, remember there is no way that you cando and have it all. It is impossible. Be picky about what you choose tospend your time doing. Only commit to doing extra projects or activitiesthat you really want to do.• Shorten your task list. What can you realistically put off until tomorrowwithout any detrimental effects? Are these items really that importantanyway? If they are not, consider not doing them at all.Invite participants to share ways they have altered or avoided stress for2 to 3 minutes.
Danielle Green When the stress cannot be avoided or altered, try to adjust your abilityto tolerate it using these two strategies.• Accept. How can you accept things as they are and learn to live withthe stress?• Adapt. How can you change in order to live with the stress?
Dawn BurtonSometimes the best choice is to accept things the way they are if noamount of worry or intervention is going to change the thing that iscausing your stress. Here are some ideas to help you accept the thingsas they are.• Talk with someone. You may not be able to change a frustrating situation,but that doesn’t mean that your feelings are not legitimate.Phone or visit a friend or family member. Write down your feelings andfrustrations in a journal. You will feel better after getting things off yourchest.• Practice positive self-talk. Don’t fall into the trap of bashing yourselfwith thoughts or words. One negative thought often leads to more.Negative thoughts and words are rarely rational and objective. Instead,be positive. Replace negative irrational thoughts with positiverational thinking. Focus on your strengths. Instead of thinking “I amhorrible with money and will never get out of debt,” try this: “I made amistake with my money, but I am resilient. I will get through this.”• Learn from mistakes. Life experiences can teach you a lot, even if itis only what does not work. You cannot change mistakes that youhave made in the past, but you can use the experience to make betterdecisions in the future.• See stress as an opportunity. Most stress brings with it opportunity,even if it isn’t always apparent at first. Look for the opportunity behindthe stress to help you get through it.
Dawn Burton The perception that you can’t cope is one of the greatest stressors.Adapting is a helpful method to deal with stress.• Adjust expectations. We each have expectations about how thingsshould be, whether conscious or subconscious. Evaluate your expectations.Redefine what it takes to be clean, successful, etc. Avoid perfectionism.Thinking you have to be perfect will only create stress,guilt, and frustration.• Be grateful. Look around you. What is right with the world? Spendtime each day finding things for which to be thankful. Record at leastthree things for which you are grateful before going to bed. Researchshows that being grateful can greatly reduce stress. Gratitude has thepotential to change everything from its ordinary state to being a gift.• Use humor and laughter. Whether a situation is horrible or funny dependson how you look at it. Create ridiculous scenarios in your headto find the humor in a situation. Allow yourself to see an atrocious dayas comical. Laugh at the craziness of it all. Humor and laughter have agreat potential to relieve stress and help you feel better.• Be physically active. Any form of physical activity can decrease theproduction of stress hormones and counteract your body’s stress response.Physical activity releases endorphins and improves yourmood. It can also be meditative as you focus on your body’s movement.Find an activity that you enjoy and make it part of your regularroutine to relieve stress and improve health.• Learn to relax. Relaxation is a positive way to cope with stress. It issatisfying and provides peace of mind. Choose any activity that youfind relaxing or that gives you pleasure. Some ideas include reading;taking a warm bath; listening to soothing music; playing games withfriends; playing with your pet(s); gardening; getting a manicure, pedicure,facial, or haircut; or practicing a relaxation technique (such asdeep breathing, meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, visualization,yoga, tai chi, and massage). Enjoy your relaxing activity at least30 minutes a day.Invite participants to share ways they have accepted or adapted tostress for 2 to 3 minutes.
Finding ways to help you cope with stress will also be beneficial when dealing with negative people. Remember: Negative people need drama like oxygen. Stay positive, it will take their breath away!
Dawn Burton One coping strategy will not work for every source of stress in your life.You can’t avoid all of the stress that comes in your life, and youshouldn’t try to accept every hassle.• Choose realistic coping strategies. Everyone is different. Whatworks for one person might not work for another. Choose one newcoping strategy to try for a set period of time, like 1 week or 1 month.Then decide whether it is helpful to you.• Periodically evaluate effectiveness. What may work for you at onetime may not always work for you. Assess your stress level and determineif your coping strategies are still doing the job.• Replace ineffective strategies. If your coping strategy is no longerworking for you, try something else.
Dawn Burton and Danielle Green Re: Balanced Living Handout 3Set a stress-management goal that will help balance your life. Use thehandout to write down your goal and monitor your progress.Distribute “Manage Your Stress” evaluation. Thank you for participatingin today’s class about managing your stress. Please complete the classevaluation and leave it on the table.
Danielle Green Writing in a stress journal can help to identify stress and how you dealwith it. Every time you feel stressed, note these things in your stressjournal: what caused your stress (if you are unsure, make a guess);What annoyed you about that person, how you felt, both physically and emotionally; how you acted in response; what you did to cope or feel better; and the effectiveness of thecoping strategy.Writing down your worries will help clarify them. You will be able to seepatterns and common themes. Maybe it will show that you don’t havethat much to worry about, or it may bring overlooked problems to light.Your stress journal can help you make a plan to move forward.
It is important to recognize to understand the things that you can control versus the things that you can not. Trying to control the uncontrollable can contribute to stress. Remember: there are two eternities that can really break you DOWN. Yesterday and Tomorrow. One is already gone (out of your control) and the other doesn't exist (out of your control)…so LIVE TODAY!
Danielle GreenEveryone needs help from time to time in their lives. There is no shamein seeking professional help. It may make all the difference in the world.If life seems too chaotic and you are not able to manage stress on yourown, consider seeking professional help from a physician, psychologist,psychiatrist, therapist, or religious leader. He or she can help you thinkabout ways to reduce stress in your life.
Danielle Green Today we have discussed several important skills for managing stress.First, you learned some basic information about stress so that you canunderstand it better. You became more aware of the impact of negativity on health and You learned how to identify and evaluate symptomsand sources of stress and negativity. Finally, you learned how to develop effectiveStrategies to deal with stress and negative people.
Presenter(s):Dawn Burton, MS, Health CoordinatorDanielle Y. Hairston Green, MA, Program SpecialistManagingS t r e s sandNE GATIVITY
Is it People or YOU ???Research about the connection between attitudeand health.Our thoughts have power over our mind, ourbody, and our emotions.Exercise:Identify possible sources ofnegativity in your lifeRe: Balanced Living Handout
#1 When I do hard work I’m rewarded with more work.#2 I’ve been put on a team with people who are unproductive.#3 I have competing priorities between CEP and AgriLife.#4 Doctor has told you that your duet is very important butbecause you are highly motivated, you continue to skip lunch.In completing assignments given by boss.#5 Dealing with advances in technology and finding ways to usewhat we currently have to enhance our programs.#6 I have been asked to do something that I am not trained to do.
In each scenario, answer the following questions:Identify source of stress: External or InternalEvaluate the source of stressIs it YOU?Is it important and controllable? Alter or AvoidIs it unimportant and uncontrollable? Accept or AdaptWhat kind of Coping Strategy could be put in place?
Understand basics of stress Become more aware of the impact ofnegativity on health Identify stress and negativity in peopleand in life Evaluate stress Develop effective strategies to deal withstress and negative people.