The essential stress survival guide


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An interactive 1/2 day seminar on Surviving stress. What is Stress? What are its effects? What are the differences between men and women? How do you manage/ Reduce/ Eliminazte stress?

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  • Most commonly accepted definition today: Stress is a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize. Problems Defining: Stress is made up of many things and is unique to the individual. Stressor: stress-causing factor.
  • Staying Calm Breathing exercises. Progressive muscle relaxation. Mini meditation. Quick burst of exercise. Humour.
  • Perception based on thoughts. Values. Beliefs. Attitude. Life Experience.
  • Beliefs connect us to the world around. They describe an Ideological perspective. Parents, role models, education, culture, experience. What we believe gives us our sense of “reality” . Values derived from Beliefs. Provide the context of belief. Societal perspective Beliefs are challenged, values may need to be redefined. If values are redefined, attitudes and behaviour change. Do we always live by our values? No and Internal Conflict results (work/relationships)
  • In this exercise: group discuss the results. What Values did you chose? Do you find that roles overlap and cause conflict? What did you find difficult? Open this up to the group to discuss.
  • You may be somewhat confused about the difference between feelings and emotions and dictionaries are of not much help either. Therefore, I like to define the terms commonly associated with the world of feelings as they are used in this book. 'Feelings' in a general sense, are what we may feel in any part of our body. These may be simple body sensations, such as hot or cold, pain, a touch or else they may be feelings associated with emotions, such as love or hate, joy or anger. Feelings generated by mechanical or chemical means, commonly from the outside will be called 'body sensations' or simply 'sensations'. 'Emotions', on the other hand, are feelings or reactions about someone or something, and usually involving our ego. We are angry about someone, afraid of something, in love with someone. These emotions may be directly felt in the body or we may just react strongly with thoughts or verbal displays originating from our head. This means, we may have a strong reaction without actually being aware of a feeling in the body. We may even smash something in anger without feeling the energy of the anger itself in our body. I call this 'cold anger', a strong emotion without feeling. A 'feeling' is the inner body experience that we have if we can directly feel the energy associated with an emotion. However, we may also deliberately produce feelings as in meditation and feel and radiate love or compassion to our planet or humanity or groups or individuals. I do not regard these as emotions. Another group of feelings are associated with energy flows within the body that we may experience during meditation, guided imagery, bodywork or other forms of healing. We may experience a part of our body become warm or tingling or notice pleasant streamings in the pelvic area, we may also feel our muscles being tense or relaxed, our head being clear or congested. Another possibility is a dispassionate feeling about something in an impartial judgement. At a crossroad, for instance, we may feel a preference for one road over the other. In most instances, however, this is not a proper body feeling but an intuition or hunch, which remains just a brain affair. 'Moods' are generalised feelings usually beyond our conscious control, and often with a somewhat negative connotation. 'Sentiments' are more tender feelings but usually about something and may then be grouped with the emotions. 'Desires', too, are about 'something' and, therefore, emotions. 'Passions' are generally regarded as strongly felt and expressed emotions. Earlier I mentioned the 'ego'. I regard the ego as the self-centred, self-preserving and individualising part of our overall personality. Generally, the ego causes us to react 'emotionally' from suppressed feelings instead of with direct feelings appropriate for the situation at hand. HOW WE LOST OUR FEELINGS The widespread emotional misery in our society has much to do with our diminished capacity for feelings, especially for tender, loving feelings. If at all, we seem to experience these only for a short period in our life when we fall in love and then yearn for them ever after. The repression of our feelings has much to do with the male inspired cultural priority placed on the intellect in our society with a corresponding contempt for soft and tender feelings that are regarded as feminine. It is easier to gain power, to dominate and build an empire if one is not hindered by sentimental feelings. With their present bid for equal power, even many women cannot afford any more to be vulnerable and they steel themselves against feminine softness. In addition, self-control is highly valued, especially in the Anglo-Saxon culture. We are not supposed to show anger or even displeasure but rather be outwardly polite while we may boil inside. Only in recent years has it become more acceptable to show tenderness in public, but even so, cuddling and touching, except in a ceremonial way, are still largely constricted to those who identify with the 'New Age Movement'. Conventional members of our society are as rigid and inhibited as ever. We may say that our emotional dilemma arises from two sources. One is the suppression of our feelings enforced by the standards of our society and the other is the lack of role models for the development of tender feelings in our childhood. Suppression of our feelings starts as infants when we are trained not to cry when we are unhappy. We may be just left to cry without response until we realise it is useless to express our frustration. Especially suppressed are any expressions of childhood sexuality such as playing with the genitals and even cuddling the parent of the opposite sex or generally adults of the opposite sex. Such contact is important for later developing mature emotional relationships with our adult sexuality. Unfortunately, there is now a perception to regard such adults as potential child molesters and they intentionally hold back, depriving themselves and the children of this essential expression of affection. Also at an early age we are trained in the use of social lies and social conventions and discouraged to express our true feelings. It is even worse at school and university where we are overwhelmed by purely intellectual activity of an unimaginative kind. This greatly inhibits our creativity and intuitive abilities. Many great inventors and innovative scientists like Einstein, for instance, did not make their discoveries by thinking but rather through intuition. For the rest of his life Einstein reportedly tried to understand on the mental level what he had perceived intuitively in a flash. Creativity is the active outlet for the meaning we give to our life, and intuition is an important link between both. This combination gives satisfaction and perpetual joy and happiness to our life but it is crushed by our education system in order to prepare us for the later institutionalised conformity in our work place. A more suitable alternative would be an education system based on the model of the Rudolf Steiner or Montessori schools. ROLE MODELS The presence of positive role models for our emotional development is most important during infancy because then we are most impressionable and learn the fastest. At this age we learn to feel by absorbing feelings from our surrounding like a sponge. This activates our feeling centres. If we are radiated with love, our capacity to feel love develops, if we are exposed to anger, then that is what we learn. I believe that because of their own love-deficient upbringing, most parents just act lovingly towards their children from a mental level without actually feeling it. The most common exception is non-intellectual, soft and 'feminine' mothers, especially as personified by the typical Polynesian woman. In many third-world countries it is common for whole families to sleep in the same room where children may be aware of the sexual activity of their parents. This is natural as it is in the animal kingdom and provides role models for subconscious programming. But it is essential that the sexual interaction, like any other interaction of the parents, is loving. This imprinting is most important for infants and does not need to interfere with our more inhibited western morals for older children who, unlike infants, prefer their own rooms anyway. The lack of tender feelings combined with an exposure to negative emotions from the parents in early life has much to do with the present culture of violence in our society. This is constantly reinforced by the bombardment with violence on the screens. With their tender feelings undeveloped, many do not feel the suffering of others, they simply cannot feel compassion. That may start with cruelty to animals as children and lead to individualised or institutionalised cruelty and torture as adults. A national football coach is quoted as saying that to be successful in a contact sport you must build up a hate for the opponent before the game. He is right in that this releases stored up negative energies and it may even be good that it does. Even the many onlookers may release some of their negative energies. But is this the kind of society we want where our role models require hatred to perform? There must be a better way! MUSCLE ARMOURING Muscle armouring is a concept discovered by Wilhelm Reich, an eminent psychiatrist and at one time the apparent heir to the position of Sigmund Freud. Reich found that the emotional disorders of his patients were to an amazing degree reflected in their body structures. In particular, patients with repressed feelings commonly had hard, rigid and permanently contracted muscles in certain areas of their body. Different kinds of negative emotions seemed to be associated with specific muscles. Reich compared these rigid muscle structures to the armour of a medieval knight and called the process of their formation 'armouring'. While the steel armour of the knight had the purpose of protecting him against physical aggression, the muscle armour serves to protect us against emotional aggression. At first glance it may sound somewhat far-fetched that contracted muscles should have anything to do with how we feel. But we can easily observe ourselves that we become tense when we are apprehensive, while our muscles relax when we are at ease. When we expect someone to cause us pain, such as sticking a needle into us or hitting us, we automatically tense our muscles and we may even hold our breath by contracting our diaphragm. These are automatic body reflexes designed to diminish the expected feeling of pain. However, we may use the same mechanism if we want to diminish feelings for other reasons. As an infant we may have been afraid of being separated from our mother, of being left alone in a strange surrounding, so we tensed up and held our breath. Eventually we had to continue breathing but we did it rather shallow with contracted diaphragm and chest muscles. With repeated fear responses these muscle contractions may gradually become permanent. The child may grow to develop a narrow chest with weak lung functions or if only the diaphragm remains contracted, a barrel chest may result. In both instances breathing remains permanently shallow and the child is susceptible to lung infections and asthma. In babies this may be a contributing factor in cot death or SIDS. The advantage of the armoured chest or permanently contracted diaphragm is that we now do not feel our fear any more, it remains subconscious. However, we gradually may develop substitute outlets of our fear, such as being afraid of heights or of public speaking, and so forth. Another example is the suppression of anger because we are told that it is not socially acceptable to show it openly. We may initially feel an angry emotion rushing upwards from the abdomen to the shoulder in order to hit out or to the throat to shout. When we suppress these impulses the emotional energy of the anger becomes stuck in the shoulder or in the throat and tenses the muscles tension there. If this tension is not released by other means it may become permanent and if we continue our suppressive behaviour pattern, these muscles become permanently severely contracted. In joints surrounded by contracted muscles we easily develop arthritis, while contracted throat muscles give us a weak voice and possibly stuttering and other speech and throat problems. The muscle armouring becomes stronger and stronger with advancing age because we tend to repeat our set behaviour pattern over and over again. This then forms our distinctive facial features, our body structures and our increasing rigidity. There are, of course, other factors that contribute to shaping our body and making it more inflexible, such as heredity, nutrition and occupational muscle use. PAIN AND DISEASE There are many reports that demonstrate the strong influence of our feelings and emotions on health and disease. One example is a study of the survival rate of women with breast cancer. After ten years 70% of those who reacted to the diagnosis with a fighting spirit were still alive, while those who reacted with denial had a 50% survival rate, stoic acceptance gave 25% and of those who felt hopeless and helpless only 20% survived. Other findings show that cancer frequently is diagnosed about a year after a traumatic event, such as losing a spouse. Also the negative effect of mental depression on our immune system is well known, while we feel and to some degree are invincible when we are in love. Our digestive juices are inhibited when we are upset or stressed, and asthma attacks may be triggered by fear or apprehension. Generally, we can distinguish between acute or immediate influences of strong emotions and the long-term or chronic effects of unexpressed emotions. The immediate reaction is due to the direct influence of our feelings on the hormone-producing endocrine glands and on the nervous system. More insidious, however, are the long-term effects of muscle armouring caused by suppressed emotions. At the physical or body level this leads to poor blood circulation and a reduced supply of nutrients to the affected area while metabolic wastes and toxins tend to accumulate similar to sediments in a slow-flowing part of a river. In addition, permanently contracted muscles generate a great strain on associated joints. A combination of these factors makes us susceptible to the development of arthritis. Armouring of the chest and diaphragm commonly leads to respiratory diseases. Wilhelm Reich found that his cancer patients had severely inhibited sexual energies caused by strong armouring in the pelvic and abdominal areas. Those patients who could most successfully free their sexual energies had the best chances of recovering. He regarded cancer as a 'shrinking biopathy' of the total energy field of the patient. This shrinking was seen as a forerunner and not as a consequence of the disease. Tumours are only the final stage of the shrinking process. When he succeeded in regressing the tumour, making it disappear, without revitalising the general energy flow, the patient would die anyway. Spontaneous remissions, on the other hand, may in some instances be due to a revitalised energy flow. Another aspect of armouring is the generation of pain. The resistance of a contracted muscle to the flow of energy produces pain similar to the heat produced by the resistance of a thin wire to the flow of electricity. Short-term muscle contraction uses energy, therefore it causes no pain and can be used as a defence against expected emotional or physical pain. However, if a muscle remains contracted with continued energy flow, pain is produced either directly or noticeable as tenderness only when the muscle is pressed. I often could stop pain in patients immediately by pressing into tense muscles or relax them with other methods. Finally, in a permanently contracted muscle that has become like a rope or sheet, the energy flow to the area is so diminished that there is no pain, even when pressed. Repeated deep muscle massage may eventually restore energy flow and temporary pain to the muscle. Some individuals can clairvoyantly perceive these energy flows. Another problem with suppressed negative emotions is the possibility that under provocation they may be released explosively in an act of violence. This pattern is now very common in our society. On the other side of the fence are those sensitive souls who are full of bottled-up feelings and emotions but unable to release and express them. This drains their vitality and they suffer from poor circulation with low blood pressure, cold hands and feet and lack of energy. BODY LANGUAGE Our emotions have a strong influence not only on our glands and inner organs but also on our external body structure. Certain emotions are traditionally linked with problems in certain organ functions. Anger, for example, damages the liver and conversely, irritability and quick temper are partly caused by liver problems. In a similar way, grief, negativity and anxiety are linked to the lungs; fear to the kidneys and intestines; excessive laughter or lack of joy to the heart and worry to the spleen. Emotions, if not released in outward action, solidify by causing muscle contractions. The stronger the energetic charges of the emotion, the stronger the muscle contractions. Other parts of the body, on the other hand, may be more or less blocked off from the flow of emotional energies, and these parts will become weak and start wasting. By examining our body, we can get a reasonably good idea of the kind of emotional problems that have helped to shape it and, furthermore, of the corrective measures to be taken in order to improve ourselves The following compilation can be only a summary one; for further information see Body-Mind by Ken Dychtwald. SUMMARY OF BODY LANGUAGE Legs Show how we move through life: Weak, underdeveloped : no firm stand in life. Massive, overdeveloped : rigidly grounded - needs to explore, let go. Fat, sluggish : to move through life - needs enthusiasm, jogging. Thin tight : moves energetically through life but often erratic, not gracefully - needs to develop tranquillity. Pelvis Shows condition of our sexuality : Front tipped downward, causing hollow back (lordosis) : usually strong sexual energy, but full flow is blocked through constant self-control, not able to let go - develop faith in higher guidance. Front tipped upward, causing flat low back : lessening of sexual focus, lack of tender feelings in the lower part of the body - learn to lower attention from chest to lower abdomen, develop tender emotions. Belly The centre of emotions as they relate to ourselves. Enlarged in upper half : rugged, outgoing, masculine - develop more tender feelings. Enlarged in lower half : blocked energy flow to pelvis and legs, especially if abdominal wall is hard - let go. Moderately enlarged : if belly is soft and back not very hollow -good contact with body vitality, possibly emotionally too soft. Overall enlarged but obese : usually poor contact with vital energies Overall flat, contracted : too much mental control, no 'gut feelings', strong emotional blocks (fear, anxiety) - develop tender emotions, have faith, let go. Chest Modifies our emotions as they relate to our intentions with reference to ourselves. Narrow contracted : feeling of inferiority, lack of power, unexpressive - learn to communicate, to give, chest breathing. Wide expanded : feeling of superiority, power, expressive - learn to experience tender feelings within, especially in pelvis, learn from others, abdominal breathing. Shoulders Show how we carry our burdens through life. Bowed rounded : feel overburdened - develop power, chest breathing, have faith. Raised : chronic fear - anxiety-releasing therapy, chest breathing. Square : carries responsibility - relax. Forward hunched : fear of being hurt, self-protection - develop power, chest breathing. Pulled back, retracted : forceful control or suppression of unwanted emotions, especially anger - let go, express yourself in a suitable way. Narrow : cannot shoulder responsibilities - become more powerful. Right side lower : interacts in a predominantly masculine way. Left side lower : interacts in a predominantly feminine way. Arms Show how we express ourselves in physical actions. Weak, underdeveloped : lack of initiative and physical expression - learn to communicate through your arms. Massive, over-muscled : insensitive, forceful interactions, lack of grace - learn to be gentle. Thin, tight : inability to hold on to anything - become more peaceful, settled. Fat, underdeveloped : sluggishness in expressing yourself - become stimulated, animated. Upper Back A channel for the expression of forceful or violent emotions. Soreness, hump : repressed anger or hitting reflex - let go, hit a pillow or sand bag. Neck Reflects tension between body emotions and mental control. Bent forward : explores the world first in a rational way, emotional exhaustion - develop your 'gut feeling'. Bent to the right : arrogance, defiance - become centred. Bent to the left : playful attitude Long, graceful : proud attitude. Heavy, short : forceful attitude. Throat A channel for vocal expression of emotions. Tight, sore, weak : blocked verbal expressions of emotions and tears - let go, speak out, weep. Jaw and Chin A channel for verbal expression, biting. Receding : frozen, suppressed verbal emotions - learn to speak out. Protruding : determined. Strongly protruding : defiance, arrogance - relax. Clenched : forceful self-control, suppressed anger - let go, relax. Face An outside mirror of our emotions. Changing expressions : show how we wish to appear to the world. Chronically tense muscles : show conflict between what we show and how we really feel. Eyes The 'windows of the soul', reflecting health and emotions. Large, round : warm, loving personality. Protruding : reaching out forcefully (thyroid problems). Deep-set : critically observing, withholding expression. Wide-open baby eyes : tries to hold, to draw close, not fully matured. Nearsightedness : frozen fear (early childhood), focus on immediate problems, introspective, rational - release fear, look into the future. Farsightedness : suppressed anger, focused outward, extrovert -release anger, develop inner self. CHARACTER STRUCTURE The same emotions and suppressed feelings that shape our body and are expressed in our 'body language' form also our character. Wilhelm Reich believed that without suppressed feelings we would not have a character, as we know it. We would all be open, free and loving in our relationships and dealings with each other. Suppressed feelings, on the other hand, inhibit the free flow of feeling energies in our body and this causes us in our social interactions to react subconsciously to our suppressed feelings rather than to the immediate situation at hand. The various forms of inhibition of the free and natural flow and expression of feelings in different individuals are their 'character'. Depending on the nature of our suppressed feelings, Wilhelm Reich and his followers in bio-energetic and other forms of psychodynamic bodywork commonly distinguish between five character structures: schizoid, oral, psychopathic, masochistic and rigid. Commonly we represent mixtures of two or more of these types but with one character type usually dominant. The following is a condensation of the works of Alexander Lowen, John Pierrakos and Barbara Brennan. The Schizoid Character In the schizoid individual the main emotional trauma occurred around the time of birth. This may have been a distressing birth process or hostility from one or both parents towards the baby, commonly the baby was unwanted and it felt abandoned by the mother, either physically or emotionally. The baby deals with this by withdrawing into itself, closing itself off from the world. This same technique is then used in later life whenever the individual feels threatened. The basic subconscious fear or anxiety is the feeling of being unwanted, having no right to exist, a psychological split between the desire to live in the physical world and a wish to withdraw into the spirit world. In communications with others this type tends to intellectualise and use impersonal language. The body structure is with elongated limbs and digits and weak joints, the body appears uncoordinated with right-left imbalances and often cold hands and feet. The energy structure is 'ungrounded' or 'airy-fairy' with frozen core energies. Schizoids tend to be rather spiritual and creative but in need of grounding and becoming an integrated whole. The Oral Structure The oral phase of our development is the period when we are totally dependent on the mother and normally breast-fed. The normal emotional development may be interrupted when the baby feels abandoned because the mother may have left or died or is when sick or for other reasons she could not fulfil the baby's need for physical and emotional nourishment. The child is forced to become independent too early but that leaves it insecure with a tendency to cling and grab, it has a decreased natural aggressiveness with an increased inner need to be taken care of. There is a subconscious fear of being left alone, not getting enough or what one wants or needs. The individual feels deprived and empty and does not want to take responsibility. Resentment is common and a forced show of independence easily crumbles under stress. The oral personality has experienced many disappointments and rejections and feels a strong need for warmth and support from a mothering partner. In later life s/he may become bitter because there was never enough to be satisfied, 'the world is unjust'. The body is generally underdeveloped and may look immature with a weak, narrow chest and shallow breathing. The energies are mainly in the head with a good intelligence, while the body energies and emotional energies are rather subdued. The main task in personal development is to give up playing the victim and learn to trust that the universe will provide. The Psychopathic Personality The psychopathic structure emerges in early childhood due to a covertly seductive parent of the opposite sex. The child was antagonistic to the parent of the same sex and tried to get what it wanted by manipulating the parent of the opposite sex. This pattern is continued in adult life by trying to gain power, control and desire fulfilment by manipulating others. Deep inner feelings of inferiority are covered by superficial feelings of superiority and contempt. This person believes: "I am right, you are wrong", s/he wants to win and does not take defeat easily. Inwardly the psychopath feels the need for others but fears appearing to be dependent or even look like a victim. Pleasure comes second to conquest and control. Needs are fulfilled by making others need him or her. The will is the predominant mental function. The upper half of the body is commonly overdeveloped and the lower half underdeveloped. The chest is wide but the pelvis narrow and the legs weak. Correspondingly, the main energy flows are centred in and around the upper body and the front of the head. The life task is to learn true surrender and humility by admitting the inner longings and needs. The Masochistic Character The parents and especially the mother were domineering and gave love in a conditional way. The mother may have been self-sacrificing and the child was made to feel guilty whenever it was resisting and trying to assert itself. This made it feel trapped, defeated and humiliated. Therefore, the real feelings were held inside and creativity suppressed. Much anger, hate and resentment is hidden underneath a submissive and polite exterior. The individual complains a lot and dwells on the negative side of things. By subconsciously provoking others s/he may be given an excuse to become angry, to let of steam, but generally the outward attitude is to please others. The body may be heavily built with overdeveloped muscles and short neck and waist. Tensions are strongest in the neck, jaw, throat and pelvis. The energies and emotions are internalised. To become free, the masochist needs to express feelings and become more assertive and aggressive. The Rigid Structure The child felt its sexuality rejected, especially by the parent of the opposite sex. Sexuality at this age may mean innocently touching or playing with the sexual organs which is strictly forbidden by the parent, and a longing to be close to the parent of the opposite sex by being touched and cuddled remains unfulfilled. The child deals with this perceived rejection by developing a rigid muscle structure that makes it easier to suppress the feelings of wanting and longing. As an adult the rigid individual will hold back, remain controlled, holding back the expression of feelings and not daring to surrender. Pride does not allow him or her to reach out to fulfil his or her needs; instead s/he prefers to manipulate to get what s/he wants. While there is a high degree of outer control and success in the social and physical world, the rigid person tries to protect the inner vulnerability and is afraid of getting hurt. A strong ego is used to avoid letting go of inner feelings. A common complaint is that s/he does not experience strong feelings. The energies remain on the periphery while the core is contracted. The body is well balanced and appears energetic and integrated. The individual needs to open up and share all feelings.
  • Being able to tune into, and read, others’ emotions, gaining insight into others’ perspectives, allowing for effective communication and good rapport building
  • Self Awareness: (Wayne Dyer) You are responsible for how you feel. A feeling is a physical reaction to a thought. You feel what you think and you can learn to think differently about anything. We have an average of 60,000 thoughts a day and about 85% of these are the same as we had the day before. Thus we continue to create the same strategies each day. To change our lives we need to change our thinking habits or patterns. New thinking requires awareness of the old thinking. We have become habituated in mental patterns that identify the causes of our feelings as outside of ourselves. We’ve spent years reinforcing these thinking habits, the same level of conscious effort will be necessary to change. The first step is awareness. Then lots of present moment thinking, reminding and working. A thought becomes a belief when you have worked upon it repeatedly. Self-perception is key. If we tend to view ourselves negatively we will tend to use negative self-labelling a lot, devaluing ourselves and lowering our self-confidence. We need to identify these negative labels and test them against reality. Counteract them with listing all the positive labels or perceived strengths in all areas of our lives.   People have insufficient awareness of themselves as choosers. We need to be sensitively attuned to our inner valuing process and not distort or deny any significant feelings. We not only have a self, but are also in a constant process of creating your self via our choosing self. This allows us to discard the thinking and behaviour habits that impede us and to choose aspects of our natural self that we want to develop.   Pollyanna: a young girl who made a game of finding something positive “to be glad about” in anything negative that came into her life. Many consider this form of thinking to be naïve and unrealistic. Why choose a negative attitude, negativity only creates a realistic life of misery.   Self-Talk: Use “I” self talk to support yourself.   Inner Assertion: “ nobody is perfect” good thinking skills require daily practice and determined commitment I am helping myself   Outer Assertion: State what you think using Inner assertion Verbal, vocal and body skills  
  • Step 1: FAST FREEZING an area of life to be looked at. Step 2: OBSERVING AND NOTICING what you are doing in this area of life. Step 3: RECORDING what you are doing, relative to the following and becoming aware of other more ecological (better) responses. Step 4: INTERRUPTING your negative response as soon as you become aware of it. Step 5: CHOOSING a more ecological (better) response. Step 6: NOTICING how others are now responding to you differently (Feedback). Step 7: LEARNING from the changes you have made for future reference.
  • Bring attitude out to the group Ask what the current employment rate is in Ireland 2) Ask what is the attitude when things go wrong? 3) Ask How can this be changed?
  • Optimism Positive events: Happened because of them (internal). Will happen in the future. In other areas of their lives. Negative events: Not being their fault. They are flukes. Nothing to do with other areas of their lives. Pessimists: Positive events: Outside of their control (External). Probably wont happen again. They are flukes. Negative events: Happened because of them. More to come in the future. More will occur in other areas of their lives.
  • The stress of change can be minimised by managing it effectively. Use coping strategies such as:   Healthy lifestyle Identify the exact nature of the change – different types of changes/transitions Deal with what you can now – work on making things perfect in the present, before big changes come/are made Is it a change? Clear signals and hidden clues! Ensure its not just an escape, avoidance, fear Make room for change – more space, time, money - less pressure Practice flexibility – vary routines, something new each day/week, different viewpoints… Anticipate change – plan and visualise possible responses to future changes Plan changes adequately – pros and cons, problems or barriers that may arise – solutions Know yourself – Intuition, can deal more effectively with unexpected, traumatic or prolonged change Accept and be open to change – go with the flow See the big picture – change may seem minor/insignificant 10 years from now Grieve – essential part of letting go and self-healing Be patient, allow the process to work through at its natural pace Seek advice from survivors of these changes – how they coped, modelling Identify the meaning and learning offered from change – opportunity for growth and increased self-awareness
  • Work/Life Balance exercise: As the questions apply to you now. How did you feel about the exercise..was it difficult or easy to identify areas in your life? Open this out to the group if there is time.
  • Act out of choice. Express feelings and opinions. Express likes and dislikes. Accept compliments. When and how to say yes and no. You say how you feel Ask for what you need and keep your word
  • What when and where you say it.
  • Is Talking or Listening more important? 75% of the time we listen.
  • Plan your day the night before. Spend the last 10-15 minutes of each work day prioritizing and scheduling your tasks. Make a list of “Have To” do and “Want to” do. Some are crucial some are not crucial. Execute the most important task in the first 90 minutes of the workday.
  • The essential stress survival guide

    1. 1. The Essential StressThe Essential Stress Survival GuideSurvival Guide
    2. 2. Mark SuttonMark Sutton Life-Coach. Life Without Limits. ( Facebook Page: Life Without Limits
    3. 3. Start With The End InStart With The End In MindMind Interactive introduction to Stress and Stress management. Raise Awareness. Definition, Response, Symptoms. Men versus Women. Common sources of Stress. Perceptions, Thoughts and Stress. Beliefs, Values and Roles. Managing and Reducing
    4. 4. Defining StressDefining Stress Most accepted Definition: “Stress is a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize.” Is Stress all bad? Good Stress: Challenges and threats Bad stress: Too much Acute stress/ Episodic Acute Stress. Chronic Stress.  90% of all doctors visits are stress related
    5. 5. The Stress ResponseThe Stress Response Hardwired Evolutionary Response. Flight or Fight. Stress Hormones: Cortisol and Adrenaline. Any perceived threat to our comfort/wellbeing.
    6. 6. Signs and SymptomsSigns and Symptoms Physical Behavioural  Raised cholesterol: Heart disease.  High Blood pressure: Strokes.  Headache, Nausea, Dizziness.  Asthma, Skin Problems.  Muscular pain (lower back), Clenched Jaws, Grinding Teeth.  Tight or Dry throat, Pounding heart, Increased Perspiration.  Appetite change: Weight Loss or Gain, Diabetes  Indigestion, Stomach Cramps, Peptic ulcer, Constipation, Diarrhoea.  Sleep disturbance: Fatigue Depression, Mood swings Withdrawal, Isolation, Loss of Interest in Self. Negative feelings. Easily Irritated/ Angered . De-motivation. Difficulty Concentrating or Thinking. Diminished/Increased Sex Drive. Increase in Smoking and use of Alcohol or drugs.
    7. 7. Men V WomenMen V Women Greatest Stressor: Relationship loss in Women, Performance failure in Men. (Self- Esteem). Women: Oxytocin (calming). Tend and Befriend. Men: No Oxytocin, bottling feelings and emotions and withdrawal and closing off.
    8. 8. Signs and SymptomsSigns and Symptoms Exercise: Signs of Stress. Not a medical questionnaire. Add up the number of “a” answers. It is an indication of areas where stress management techniques may be useful.
    9. 9. Lifestyle StressLifestyle Stress Areas in Life where Stress Occurs. Workplace Stress. Relationship Stress: Family/ Friends. Relationship Stress: Intimate . Financial Stress. Personality Trait Stress.
    10. 10. Manage and EliminateManage and Eliminate StressStress
    11. 11. Stress ManagementStress Management Changing your response: Attitudes and Behaviours. Increasing awareness. Immediate Effects: Staying Calm. Talk it out. Escape. Managing Current Stress: Communication , Conflict Resolution. Work /Life Balance, Peer Support. Planning and Organising . Time and workload management. Relaxation, Health, Lifestyle.
    12. 12. PerceptionPerception Is Stress Internal or External? Stress is most commonly internal: Perception Perception based on thoughts. Values/Beliefs/Attitude/Life Experience. Roles. Relationships and responsibilities.
    13. 13. What do What do you see?
    14. 14. There's a face... and the word liar What do What do you see?
    15. 15. Which of the centre circles are the biggest?
    16. 16. they're both the same size Which of the centre circles are the biggest?
    17. 17. What does the sign say?
    18. 18. Beliefs, Values and Roles.Beliefs, Values and Roles. Beliefs connect us to the world (Ideological). Values derived from Beliefs (Societal). Roles: Relationships and Responsibilities. Which is more important? Values dictating your Roles, or Roles dictating your values. “Your beliefs beget your values which beget your roles”
    19. 19. ExerciseExercise Prioritise your Values on the values wheel. List and Prioritise your Roles. Do you bring your values into your roles? Is this a source of Stress? What do you need to do to match the value and role? What action are you going to undertake to do this? What could stop you doing it? When are you going to do it?
    20. 20. Feelings and EmotionsFeelings and Emotions Both sensations experienced. Feelings: external stimuli, Emotions: from the mind. Feelings :physical sensations and mental states (reaction to a thought). Feelings: Often temporary, subside once the stimulus is no longer present. Emotions Long term: Years. False Evidence Appearing Real
    21. 21. Emotional IntelligenceEmotional Intelligence Aware of your emotions: In control of them, rather than controlling you. Its the ability to recognise and manage your feelings and those of others. Daniel Goldman: IQ 20% success work. 1% in life. The rest is Emotional Intelligence and environment.
    22. 22. Emotional IntelligenceEmotional Intelligence 1. Self Awareness – emotional self awareness, accurate self assessment, self confidence 2. Relationship Management – inspirational leadership, influence, developing others, change catalyst, conflict management, building bonds, teamwork and collaboration 3. Self Management – emotional self control, transparency, adaptability, achievement, initiative, optimism 4. Social Awareness – empathy, organizational awareness, service
    23. 23. Changing Your ThinkingChanging Your Thinking Responsible for own feelings and change your Perceptions 60,000 thoughts/day, 85% repeated, 45% Negative – old habits New thinking requires awareness of the old thinking! Self-Perception is Key – Always have Choice! Listen to your self talk
    24. 24. Behaviours Responses Emotions AttitudesMotivations Perception, Beliefs, Values, Purpose Feelings
    25. 25. The Scoping processThe Scoping process Step 1: FAST FREEZING. Step 2: OBSERVING AND NOTICING. Step 3: RECORDING. Step 4: INTERRUPTING. Step 5: CHOOSING. Step 6: NOTICING. Step 7: LEARNING.
    26. 26. ExerciseExercise  Call To Mind a Stressful experience: Write down  The facts of the situation or event.  What you were thinking.  What you were feeling.   The physical symptoms you experienced.  Write down what you would do differently.
    27. 27. AttitudeAttitude Our way of approaching life and is how we express our thoughts and feelings. The one thing we can change about ourselves. Its when things go wrong that we gain a clear picture of the type of attitude we have. Success in life is 85% attitude and 15% Aptitude (Harvard Study)
    28. 28. PessimismPessimism
    29. 29. Benefits of OptimismBenefits of Optimism Healthier. Greater Achievement. Persistence. Emotional Health. Increased Longevity. Less Stress.
    30. 30. PerfectionismPerfectionism
    31. 31. Stress and ChangeStress and Change Fear of change: Failure and Success, Unknown. The 4 C’s: Comfort (passive),Challenge (active), Creative (active), Content (Passive) Change is a threat= Stress Chinese 2 symbols for Crisis: Danger. Opportunity.
    32. 32. Managing ChangeManaging Change Healthy Lifestyle/ Know yourself. Identify, Accept and be Open. Deal with what you can now, Be patient. Make room/ Practice Flexibility. Anticipate change – plan adequately. See the big picture. Grieve. Seek advice from others. Learn what’s offered from change.
    33. 33. Work/Life BalanceWork/Life Balance Work/Life Balance exercise. Select one area that the answer was true  or pretty true. What answer would you like to have (if any)? List what action(s) you are going to undertake to do this? What could stop you doing it? When are you going to do it? How will you know it has been completed?
    34. 34. CommunicationCommunication
    35. 35. CommunicationCommunication Why Is effective communication important? When is Communication Effective? Relationship between sender and receiver good. Clear objectives. Few distractions. Good sending and receiving. Eye contact . Speech is clear.
    36. 36. CommunicationCommunication Sending Skills: 7% Words. 38% Tone of Voice. 55% Body language. Sending Skills: What, When, Where and How (Tone, Strength, Pitch,  Speed). Use appropriate words, be clear, concise and simple. Use eye contact and be aware of your facial expressions. Be aware of your body language.
    37. 37. CommunicationCommunication Is Talking or Listening more Important? Seek first to understand. We are far more likely to get others to listen if we listen fully  to their  viewpoint. Exercise: What type of listener are you? To do’s. Put the talker at ease. Limit your own talk/be patient/don’t interrupt. Remove distractions be attentive and Focused. Be non-judgemental, sincere and genuine. Be aware of body language.
    38. 38. Manage and EliminateManage and Eliminate StressStress Effective Communication/ Conflict Resolution Assertive Communication. Listening.  Give in Occasionally. Take one Thing at a time. Go Easy with Criticism. Respond to criticism with empathy. Make yourself available. Take a time out.
    39. 39. Manage and Eliminate StressManage and Eliminate Stress Effective strategies for handling Conflict. Stay focused on current conflict. Try to see their point of view. Take responsibility for what’s yours. Use “I” messages. Look for Compromise/ Solution. Don’t give up. Ask for help if you need it. Get in touch with your feelings. Know when its not working.
    40. 40. How to manage andHow to manage and Eliminate stressEliminate stress Time Management Goal Setting. Planning. Prioritising. Organising. Take one Thing at a time .
    41. 41. Time ManagementTime Management Planning On course to achieving goals and objectives. Planning is the difference between being REACTIVE and PROACTIVE. Set priorities. Reduce stress. 1 minute planning, gain 10 in execution.
    42. 42. Time ManagementTime Management Daily Planning Plan your day the night before Make a list of “Have To” do and “Want to” do. Execute the most important task in the first 90 minutes of the workday.
    43. 43. Time ManagementTime Management Prioritise using the ABCDE System. A) Very important, must be done or face serious consequences. (subcategories A1, A2, A3 etc.). B) Tasks you should do, failure gives minor consequences. Finish A Tasks first. C) Something that would be Nice to do. No consequences if you should fail. D) Delegate as much as you can so you can concentrate on all the A tasks. E) Eliminate, it makes no difference if this task is ever done.
    44. 44. Manage and EliminateManage and Eliminate Stress.Stress. Handle your Workload Commitments within limits and review. Don’t overpromise. Vary your work routine. Take breaks. Set limits. Shun the superman urge.
    45. 45. Manage and EliminateManage and Eliminate StressStress Peer support Social Group. Circle of Friends. Cultivating a Network.
    46. 46. Manage and EliminateManage and Eliminate StressStress Staying Healthy Diet. Exercise regularly. Sleep. Sex. Relaxation.
    47. 47. RelaxationRelaxation Effects Safety valve Stress reducer Relieves fatigue Promotes sleep Allows us to be calmer Gives us time for ourselves Four characteristics common to all effective Relaxation techniques. Quiet environment, passive attitude, comfortable position, constant stimulus.
    48. 48. The Two Minute StressThe Two Minute Stress BusterBuster Deep Breathing: Calms. Relaxes. Present. Guided exercise:
    49. 49.
    50. 50. SummarySummary Stress is a Hardwired evolutionary response. Chronic stress is a major factor contributing to illness. Stress is internal and based on perceptions. Stress occurs in all aspects of life and can be personality related. Stress management involves: Dealing with the feeling immediately, staying present. Managing and reducing stress by changing to a healthy, balanced lifestyle, Planning and effective Communication and conflict resolution skills. Changing attitudes and behaviours that cause stress Increasing awareness and your response to stressors