Stress Management


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Leadership Development Series
Part I - Stress Management

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  • A condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize. Richard S Lazarus Stress is a very personal experience. Team members must understand that what might trigger a threat for one individual, carrying a potential for harm might seem like an opportunity for another individual, which might offer a potential benefit; the degree to which a person thinks they can handle the threat or opportunity is the level stress they experience. The consequences of this experience may be:
  • What are your signs? Let’s look at some obvious and some not so obvious signs that stress has become unmanageable.
  • When we come across something unexpected or something that frustrates our goals and we often do not notice it among the many other distractions of a stressful situation, this mobilization of the body for survival also has negative consequences reducing our ability to work effectively with other people. With trembling and a pounding heart, we can find it difficult to execute precise, controlled skills. The intensity of our focus on survival interferes with our ability to make fine judgments. We find ourselves more accident-prone and less able to make good decisions.
  • There are five major potential stressors, or sources of stress. These five areas can lead to a myriad of associated consequences.
  • When a team member is exposed to a stressful situation, such as making a presentation or getting laid off, they are subject to experiencing the same consequences from the stress as another individual. Consequences are due to the potential for an adverse affect to well-being, performance and effectiveness at the individual, group and organizational levels.
  • Sometimes other symptoms accompany stress or anxiety: this list is not exhaustive.
  • Stress is a normal part of life. In small quantities, stress is good -- it can motivate you and help you be more productive. However, too much stress, or a strong response to stress, is harmful. It can set you up for general poor health as well as specific physical or psychological illnesses like infection, heart disease , or depression. Persistent and unrelenting stress often leads to anxiety and unhealthy behaviors like overeating and abuse of alcohol or drugs.
  • Some signs of stress are more subtle and don’t readily appear to be related to stress, yet our behavior can reveal some not-so-subtle signs that something is wrong somewhere. Let’s take a look at a few of these behavioral signs. (Start with the video clip).
  • Play the Video. Does this man show subtle or not-so-subtle signs of stress?
  • Resist perfectionism. No project, situation, or decision is ever perfect, and you put undue stress on yourself by trying to do everything perfectly. When you set unrealistic goals for yourself or try to do too much, you’re setting yourself up to fall short. Do your best, and you’ll do fine.
  • Clean up your act. If your desk is a mess, file and throw away the clutter; just knowing where everything is saves time and cuts stress. Make to-do lists and cross off items as you accomplish them. Plan your day and stick to the schedule — you’ll feel less overwhelmed.
  • Flip your negative thinking . If you see the downside of every situation and interaction, you’ll find yourself drained of energy and motivation. Try to think positively about your work, avoid negative-thinking co-workers, and pat yourself on the back about small accomplishments, even if no one else does.
  • Time Management strategies – prioritize! Schedule! Commit! If you’re always running late, set your clocks and watches fast and give yourself extra time.
  • Sometimes people who experience excessive amounts of stress feel undervalued, and are unable to say 'no' to any demand but not working productively on anything.
  • People who are chronically stressed are no fun to work with. They may be irritable, miserable, lacking in energy and commitment, self-absorbed. They may find it hard to concentrate on any one task and cannot be relied on to do their share.
  • Take a look at this list of stress-related illnesses. Excessive amounts of stress also inhibits digestion, growth, tissue repair, and response of your immune system and inflammatory systems. S igns of stress can also include physical symptoms of anxiety about going to work.
  • These are six action steps geared toward planning to help induce changes in your existing lifestyle to move toward better stress management. Make a commitment to yourself and be prepared to hold yourself accountable to your new objectives and goals. Write and review the advantages for altering your lifestyle changes for a healthier you!
  • Handout – Preventing Stress w/Coping Assessment attached. Have participants take this coping assessment. Allow approx. 3 min. Discuss and ask for volunteers to share their results…Up to 3.
  • Handout – 101 Tips for Managing Stress . Suggested activity: Have participants pick three things they can implement immediately. Pick volunteers who may be willing to share theirs.
  • Handout – Burnout Self-Test. Have participants take this assessment at home. Determine specific behaviors that might be modified in some way. Present: Burnout occurs when passionate, committed people become deeply disillusioned with a job or career from which they have previously derived much of their identity and meaning. It comes as the things that inspire passion and enthusiasm are stripped away, and tedious or unpleasant things crowd in. This worksheet can serve as a tool to help you check yourself for burnout. Answer each question, and add up your score and check your result using the scoring table underneath. Ref: Test adapted from
  • Handout: Stress Diary. Present: Keep a Stress Diary. View lapses as a natural part of any individual change process. Remember, a lapse does not have to lead to a relapse back to your old habits! (Suggest to attendees) Keep diary in a convenient place, like kitchen or bedside and refer to daily for 30 days to get an idea of personal stress levels. Suggest attendees refer to 101 Ways to Manage Stress handout to alleviate excessive stress.
  • When faced with an highly stressful situation, adopt the problem-free philosophy of Timon & Pumba from the movie, The Lion King… Hakuna Matata! Which means: No worries!!
  • Stress Management

    1. 2. WHAT IS STRESS? <ul><li>STRESS </li></ul><ul><li>we've lost control of events. </li></ul>is what we feel when we think
    2. 4. EXCITABLE, ANXIOUS, JUMPY, IRRITABLE? What are your signs?…
    3. 5. Five Causes of stress <ul><li>Personal Life </li></ul><ul><li>Job Responsibilities ( Overload/Underload) </li></ul><ul><li>Membership in Groups </li></ul><ul><li>Work-Life Balance </li></ul><ul><li>Environmental Uncertainty </li></ul>
    4. 6. Three Consequences from Stress <ul><li>Physiological </li></ul><ul><li>Psychological </li></ul><ul><li>Behavioral </li></ul>Behavioral Physiological Psychological
    5. 7. Six Physical & Physiological Symptoms of Stress Rapid or irregular heart rate Rapid breathing Frequent need to urinate Fatigue Irritability, losing your temper Decreased concentration
    6. 8. Psychological Results of Too Much Stress Grief or Depression
    7. 9. Subtle Behavioral Signs of Excessive Stress
    8. 10. http:// =Lj4UvCxNWww
    9. 11. Perfectionism
    10. 13. How did HE get a promotion? She is always complaining!
    11. 15. SPECIFIC CAUSES OF STRESS AT WORK : <ul><li>Unclear role specifications </li></ul><ul><li>Poor communication </li></ul><ul><li>Inadequate leadership </li></ul><ul><li>Conflicts with colleagues </li></ul><ul><li>Inability to finish a job </li></ul>
    12. 16. TASK-RELATED CAUSES OF STRESS AT WORK <ul><ul><li>Difficult clients or subordinates </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Insufficient training </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Emotional involvement with clients or subordinates </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inability to help or act effectively </li></ul></ul>
    13. 17. Stress-related Illnesses <ul><li>High blood pressure </li></ul><ul><li>Headaches </li></ul><ul><li>Backaches </li></ul><ul><li>Indigestion </li></ul><ul><li>Ulcers </li></ul><ul><li>Diarrhea </li></ul><ul><li>Insomnia </li></ul><ul><li>Physical weakness </li></ul>
    14. 18. SIX ACTION STEPS to overcome too much S T R E S S
    15. 19. <ul><li>Determine how motivated you are to alter specific behaviors and make changes in your lifestyle. </li></ul>
    16. 20. <ul><li>2. Identify barriers that exist for making your stress management action plan a success. </li></ul>
    17. 21. <ul><li>3. Build on your commitment to change your habits. </li></ul>
    18. 22. <ul><li>4. Become more aware of your behaviors on a day-to-day basis. </li></ul>
    19. 23. <ul><li>5. Identify areas of your lifestyle in need of change. </li></ul><ul><li>EXAMPLES… </li></ul><ul><li>Eat Breakfast </li></ul><ul><li>Organize Closet </li></ul><ul><li>Leave Early </li></ul><ul><li>Quit Smoking </li></ul>
    20. 24. <ul><li>6 . Evaluate and monitor your stress and health management action plan. </li></ul>
    21. 25. Hakuna Matata!