Stress Management for All

Stress can be thought of as resulting from an “imbalance between demands and resources” or as occurring when “pressure exceeds ones perceived ability to cope”. Stress management is premised on the idea that stress is not a direct response to a stressor, ones resources and ones ability to cope mediate the stress response and are amenable to change, thus allowing stress to be controllable.

In order to develop an effective stess management programme it is first necessary to identify the factors stress theory suggests are central to controlling stress, and to identify the intervention methods which effectively target these factors. Interpretation of stress focuses on the transaction between people and their external environment. This transactional model potentially empowers the individual on which stressors act by conceptualising stress as a result of how the stressor is appraised initially and how the individual appraises his/her resources to cope with the potential stressor. This model breaks the stressor-stress link by proposing that if stressors are perceived as positive or challenging rather than a threat, and if one is confident that s/he possesses adequate rather than deficient coping strategies, stress may not necessarily follow the presence of a stressor.

This model proposes that helping stressed individuals change their perceptions of stressors, and providing them with strategies which help them cope with stressors and feel confident in their ability to do so, will reduce their stress.

Need for stress management
It is now an accepted fact in the medical community; according to recent research, that stress is one of the major causes of all illnesses. Stress can cause migraines, stroke, eczema, a weak immune system, and many other diseases. Stress is also known to cause medical complications during pregnancy for both the mother and the child. Hence, there is a growing need for stress management.

Techniques of stress management include
  • self-understanding (e.g. self-identification as a Type A or as a Type B personality
  • cognitive therapy
  • self-management (e.g. becoming better-organized)
  • conflict resolution
  • positive attitude
  • self-talk
  • autogenic training
  • breathing
  • progressive relaxation
  • meditation
  • exercise
  • diet
  • rest
  • stress balls
  • therapeutic massage
  • laughter

Some techniques of time management may help a person to control stress. For example:
becoming more organized and reducing the generation of clutter
setting priorities can help reduce anxiety.

Using a "to do" list of tasks that a person needs to complete can give a person a sense of control and accomplishment

Effective stress management involves learning to set limits and to say "No" to some demands that others make.



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