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Deborah pickett hw410_u9_final


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Stress management and prevention

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Deborah pickett hw410_u9_final

  1. 1. KAPLAN UNIVERSITY HW410 Stress: Critical Issues in Management and Prevention StressManagementand Prevention Program ResourceGuide 1
  2. 2. K A P L A N U N I V E R S I T Y Stress Management and Prevention Program Resource Guide By Deborah Pickett Kaplan University HW410: Stress: Critical Issues in Management and Prevention June 17, 2014
  3. 3. Table of Contents U N I T 1 T H E N A T U R E O F S T R E S S Information to Remember Resources: Exercises Tools: Journal Writing U N I T 2 T H E P H Y S I O L O G Y O F S T R E S S Information to Remember Resources: Exercises Tools: Journal Writing U N I T 3 P S Y C H O L O G Y O F S T R E S S Information to Remember Resources: Exercises Tools: Journal Writing U N I T 4 P E R S O N A L I T Y T R A I T S A N D T H E H U M A N S P I R I T U A L I T Y Information to Remember Resources: Exercises Tools: Journal Writing U N I T 5 D E A L I N G W I T H S T R E S S : C O P I N G S T R A T E G I E S Information to Remember Resources: Exercises Tools: Journal Writing U N I T 6 R E L A X A T I O N T E C H I Q U E S 1 : B R E A T H I N G , M E D I T A T I O N , A N D M E N T A L I M A G E R Y Information to Remember Resources: Exercises Tools: Journal Writing
  4. 4. U N I T 7 N U T R I T I O N A N D S T R E S S Information to Remember Resources: Exercises Tools: Journal Writing U N I T 8 P H Y S I C A L E X E R C I S E A N D A C T I V I T Y Information to Remember Resources: Exercises Tools: Journal Writing U N I T 9 A P P L Y I N G S T R E S S : C R I T I C A L I S S U E S F O R M A N A G E M E N T A N D P R E V E N T I O N T O Y O U R P R O F E S S I O N A L L I F E Information to Remember A D D I T I O N A L I N F O R M A T I O N (This page intentionally left blank)
  5. 5. Unit 1: The Nature of Stress Information to Remember:  “Stress response can be more damaging than the stressor itself” (Sapolsky, 2004). This idea leads into the fact that many illnesses are a result of the body’s chronic hyper-sensitivity to perceived stressors. This is the grand stepping off point for working with people on their stress. We all experience stress and when left unchecked, it can create bigger problems.  There is such a thing as “good stress” (Seaward, 2009). Eustress is something perceived or actual that is regarded as positive such as marriage or falling in love. These have the same effect on our nervous system as distress: heart racing, sweating,  There is an optimal level of stress that promotes better performance. I thought all stress was harmful and was to be avoided. It was interesting to see that a little bit of stress can actually help us to be more proficient Resources: Exercises:  The Wellness Paradigm Revisited (1.6), specifically question 3. Thinking about the “integrated person” and what that may look like clarified my hope and intention for my future. I seek balance, well defined boundaries, values, and priorities. Having a clear sense of self and a deep appreciation and love for self. These are the qualities I wish to demonstrate to my son. Tools: Journal Writing:  Personal Stress Inventory: Top Ten Stressors (1.5) I chose this journal entry because it made me really think about what my stressors were at that moment (and currently are) and see how long I have been dealing with them and the different aspects that are impacted, physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental. I have held onto a great number of stressors Unit 1 3
  6. 6. throughout my life which creates a great deal of anger and fear, equally. I would say looking back at some of the answers for the affected aspects, I only checked off two stressors as having a physical effect on my health. I now see that there is a physical effect of stress and all of those stressors have affected my physical health to a degree. Unit 2: The Physiology of Stress Information to Remember:  Stress has a profound negative effect on the immune system making the body susceptible to infection or overreacting as is the case for allergies. The hormone cortisol actually destroys white blood cells (immune cells).  Under brain research, it highlighted that cortisol can damage brain cells and cause them to shrink. The hippocampus has been shown to be reduced up to 3% by chronic stress. This explains why I have difficulty thinking and recalling information under times of stress.  When the body is concerned with immediate survival, energy for the immune system gets diverted. Chronic stress can reduce the immune system function 40-70%. That is huge considering those who are afflicted with a disease experience stress, which lowers their defense system, which opens them to disease, etc. It is the vicious cycle. Resources: Exercises:  Immediate, Intermediate, and Prolonged Stress Effects: (2.2) I had all of the immediate effects of stress: the rapid heart rate, muscle tension, sweating, blushing, etc. However, the intermediate and prolonged effects were slightly different. I do not experience headaches but once in a while, but I do have gastrointestinal issues related to stress and tension in the back, neck and shoulders. Other effects are anger and exhaustion. When the stress is over or has gone on for longer periods, I feel mentally and physically drained. This exercise helped me to see how the effects of stress go beyond normal limits when the perceived threat is still being experienced. Unit 2 4
  7. 7. Tools: Journal Writing:  Physical Symptoms Questionnaire (3.1) I see the pattern from the effects highlighted in the exercise from this chapter. Most of the symptoms I have regularly as a result of chronic stress are moderately severe lasting most of the day and over several days. My main areas of concern are my digestive system, muscle tension, fatigue, and heart palpitations. The relaxation techniques I discussed are short lived for the frequency of symptoms felt in my opinion. Unit 3: Psychology of Stress Information to Remember:  Anger is the fight emotion: causing rage, hostility, frustration. This emotion can be expressed in healthy, productive ways: confronting the person who offended you in a calm manner. When mismanaged, anger can go inward and bubble up as depression, not be outwardly expressed and show up as body pain, become guilt and obsessive-compulsive behavior, explosive and harmful, or underhanded and sarcastic. I know many that have mismanaged anger who could benefit from knowing their style.  There are six basic human fears: failure, isolation, rejection, the unknown, death, and loss of control of one’s life (Seward, 2009). I felt comforted by the idea that these fears are experienced by all, to some degree. Understanding how they fit together and affect each other and how it ties into basic human needs made so much sense to me.  The definition of self-esteem as described by Seward (2009, p 103): “The sense of underpinning self- values, self-acceptance, and self-love; thought to be a powerful buffer against perceived threats”. When one knows and accepts themselves there is love and respect. I have seen this strong sense of self as a deterrent from fear and anxiety. These people do not fear isolation or rejection because they are loved and are true to themselves. This is powerful. Unit 3 5
  8. 8. Resources: Exercises:  Fear This! (5.7) I chose this exercise because it helped me to come to terms with my fear. I think I have a lot of fear which prompts anger and turning the anger inward. I fear a great deal and I realized that fear runs much of my stress in general. Tools: Journal Writing:  The Psychology of Your Stress (4.1) I use a great many strategies to deflect my stress, not all of them all of the time, but one or two depending on the circumstance. I often feel defensive; however, I try hard not to show it. The other maneuvers are rarer with exception of rationalization. The last question on this exercise asks to provide what stressors cause me to feel fear and those that cause anger. Those stressors are in my control. Organization, time management, confrontation, new experiences, I can change my perspective and become proactive to change the outcome and my stress response. Unit 4: Personality Traits and the Human Spirituality Information to Remember:  Stress prone personalities: Type A- aggressive, prone to anger Type D-depressive, socially inhibited Helpless/hopeless- given up on trying due to past failures Codependent- enable others to feel good about themselves Unit 4 6
  9. 9. I have a tendency toward codependence. With awareness and practice I can maintain a healthy perspective and boundaries.  Spirituality, in the form of exploring the human spirit and beliefs, can be a powerful way to put values and priorities into perspective. I have become leery of organized religion due to hypocrisies I have observed. However, these values and beliefs fuel one’s ability to persevere, believing in a higher purpose.  The amygdala is responsible for anxiety (Saplosky, 2004). It decides how to respond to an event that may resemble a past traumatic episode. It makes me wonder how those with debilitating PTSD are able to rewire those connections to be able to move forward free from reliving their trauma. Resources: Exercises:  Distractions of the Human Path (7.8) I have found so many ways to distract myself from the work at hand. Television has always been a way to escape. When I became of age, alcohol became a way to cope. Picking out behaviors and methods that no longer serve my needs, goals, or values helps to change those detouring tendencies. Tools: Journal Writing:  Stress-Resistant Personality Survey (6.3) I needed good news. I believe in the philosophy of the hardy, calculating risk-taker personalities. I wish I embodied more of those attributes. I would agree that I am a survivor. I have experienced a great deal of hardship in my relatively short time on Earth, but I choose to keep moving forward. My son is a big part of that. I want to be someone he can look up to with a sense of pride. 7
  10. 10. Unit 5: Dealing with Stress: Coping Strategies Information to Remember:  Brief grief- mourning unmet expectations for a reasonable amount of time. This grieving process is like any death. One must go through each stage: anger, sadness, and finally acceptance. There is great opportunity in seeing a change through. We can die of old behavior and patterns and yet still remain true to ourselves.  Assertive skills: say no, say “I”, eye-contact, assertive body language, peaceful disagreement, avoid manipulation, and respond rather than react (Seward, 2009). These skills breakdown the wall for me into knowing how an assertive person behaves naturally. Saying “yes” to people and being manipulated, has always caused me trouble. My needs and values are important and require support.  Prioritization techniques: ABC rank order and Pareto principle (80/20). I have difficulty organizing my tasks as I think they all are important or I fail to even write them down so I find myself walking in circles. I also have the nasty habit of procrastination in all three varieties. The Pareto principle is helpful to see how picking out a few items that can have the biggest impact can make things seem quite achievable. Tools: Journal Writing:  Reframing: Seeing a Bigger, Clearer Perspective: This was an invaluable exercise. Finding the positive aspect to an uncomfortable situation helped me to feel more in control of my situation. However, I must bring up the point of serenity and the need to change what can be changed. I can see benefits to many challenging situations, as that, a challenge. But when does that stop being enough? I have many trying circumstances in my life that push out on my edges. As a closed up person I know how beneficial that is. How do I know when to let them go; when they have served their purpose? Do I hold on until I get it fully? Unit 5 8
  11. 11. Unit 6: Relaxation Techniques 1: Breathing, Meditation, and Mental Imagery Information to Remember:  Deep diaphragmatic breathing reduces stress response, uses less energy and effort, and is simple to do anywhere.  Meditation has many forms and long reaching effects. Zen mediation is about non-judgment of thoughts, integrating all of one’s parts and aspects. Just reading about mediation creates a sense of serenity.  Meditation can also be done anywhere with the best time being early morning: 4-6 am. Resources: Exercises:  Three Short Guided Visualizations (20.2) It was tricky to do a guided meditation while reading it, but it did have an impact on my stress level. It was interesting to me how differently I reacted to each scenario. I was drawn toward the one that was simplest and had the least amount of imagery. Perhaps I needed to focus and de-scatter my mind. Tools: Journal Writing:  I Have a Vision: The Art of Visualization (20.1) I enjoyed this exercise and how relaxing it felt. I recommend meditation to my clients as a way to continue the relaxation process through the body. Unit 6 9
  12. 12. Unit 7: Nutrition and Stress Information to Remember:  Stress uses up vitamins and mineral stores for readying the body for fight or flight. Nutrition and the foods we consume become even more important.  The brain puts out the message that we are starving and need sugar, hence the go-to sugary snacks. It’s not just a reaction to time loss; we gravitate toward foods high in sugar and fat to maintain our energy stores.  I LOVE coffee. So you can imagine how disappointed I was learning that coffee has the same effect on the body as stress response. It, along with chocolate and other foods are sympathomimetic agents, causing sympathetic nervous system to kick into gear. Tools: Journal Writing:  Stress-Related Eating Behaviors (27.1) This astounded me. I used to be so super-conscious of my eating, what I ate, when, how much. Not to the obsessive extreme (well maybe sometimes) but I felt healthy and strong. Since becoming a student, moving to a busier area, and having less time my eating habits have definitely suffered. This exercise exemplified the fact that I need to take back control of my diet and through that I can feel more in control of my stress. Unit 8: Physical Exercise and Activity Information to Remember:  Exercise uses up stress hormones floating in blood stream. This helps to reduce the negative effects of chronic stress. Unit 7 Unit 8 10
  13. 13.  Parasympathetic rebound: the heart rate and blood pressure fall below pre-exercise level. Exercise modulates our stress response making us less susceptible to damaging effects. This is so important for those having stressful experiences over long periods of time. Maintenance of an exercise routine can propel them through hardship.  Jogging has psychological benefits such as improved self-esteem, mental clarity and perception, sense of acceptance from others, decreased depression and anxiety (Seaward, 2009). These reasons alone make me want to begin a jogging campaign! Tools: Journal Writing:  Physical Exercise (28.1) In this journal entry I inspected my activity habits and even made a plan for daily exercise. I have not put anything into play as of yet. Writing down the activities that I like to do and ways to incorporate them into my life makes me think of how simple it is to make little changes. When evaluated, values can change their position of priority. Physical activity is edging toward the top of my priority list. Unit 9: Applying Stress: Critical Issues for Management and Prevention to your Professional Life Information to Remember:  Develop many different coping skills. Not all can be used anytime anywhere, find the best most appropriate to use in certain situations. The other end of the idea of coping is preventing. Preventing or mitigating a stress response through daily aerobic exercise, time management skills staying assertive.  Stress management strategy: get to know yourself, your emotional state, give love unconditionally, express creativity, find balance in all areas of life, and be child-like (Seaward, 2009). I think when we take the time to understand ourselves, our feeling, values; we see how the outside world effects our perception. This Unit 9 11
  14. 14. perception of our internal and external worlds and their sometimes opposition to each other is what causes much distress. When we can anticipate and feel in control of ourselves, we reduce the effects stress has on us.  Forgiveness can be a strong activator for moving forward with one’s life. The limbic center of the brain houses the feeling of forgiveness (Worthington, 2004). One must work through a process similar to that of grief, in order to achieve forgiveness for transgression (Seaward, 2009). In my family, we would hold onto grudges and avoid unpleasantness at all cost. I have learned these patterns and made them into a way of life. I have anxieties and projected them onto others in my life through a lack of self-esteem. Forgiveness can also work inward on my inner process. Additional Information Patz, A. Stress relief tips from around the world. Retrieved from Shellenbarger, S. (2012, January 24). When stress id good for you. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from 0. Worthington, E.L. (2004, September 1). The new science of forgiveness. Retrieved from 12