Interventions Stress Model • Intervention: any activity designed to block the harmful effects of a stressor. • Cognitive Appraisal: how each person interprets the situation. – Public speaking is a perfect example of this. Some folks view public speaking as a threat and it becomes a debilitating situation. If I felt that way I should have picked a different profession because teaching usually involves public speaking. Stress Model • If a situation is perceived as stressful an emotional response occurs. • The physiological responses quickly follow and the body is then prepared to fight-or-flight. • Illness or adaptation are two options that occur at the end of the stress model. DQ 2: What is more important: reality or our perception? Stress Model Stress Model • It is important to realize that the model does not always follow linearly. – When you have an emotional response of anger and then take that out on someone else you may have just encountered a new life situation prior to finishing the previous one. – Similarly, one complete model may lead directly into a new round of going through the model. A disease may be a consequence of the 1st stress model and lead you directly to a new life situation starting a new round. Roadblocks • Roadblocks are any activity that you employ to short-circuit the stress model. • You can employ roadblocks at any point during the stress model. The earlier in the model you can employ a roadblock the better off you‟ll be. • If you can strive to find a positive in each situation, or to place a lower value on an event, you will stop the model at the cognitive appraisal. Comprehensive Management • Roadblocks do not remove all stress from a situation. If you think of stress in terms of a quantity, the residual amount goes on to the next step in the stress model. • That realization has led to the term Comprehensive Stress Management (CSM). – CSM: being able to employ a variety of roadblocks at each level along the model. Stress Model as a Roadway Eustress • Stress that results in positive consequences. • Involves change that requires adaptation. • Allows personal growth and is beneficial to the person. Yerkes-Dodson Curve Taking Control • Managing stress means exercising control rather than giving up control. • One can decide to control or not control the stress response (assuming responsibility). • Practicing specific techniques is a means of taking control and assuming responsibility. DQ 3: How much control do we have over our stress levels? Making a Commitment • Start right now. – Don‟t wait until the Fall semester begins again. CSM does not always take the 1st time, so waiting to begin until you believe you will be experiencing stress at a higher level is not the best option. • Complete a contract. – Many folks find writing things down and thus having a reminder assists them in their CSM plan. • Plan rewards for reaching accomplishments. – Giving yourself a reward can increase your motivation to keep working on your CSM plan. Making a Commitment • Plan punishments for not fulfilling contract. – These get tricky in a hurry! Remember you are trying to lower your stress level so you can‟t select a punishment that will increase your stress level. • Keep goals realistic. – Do not try to eliminate all stress. Always think about your life and your reality. What works for someone else may not work for you at all. Life Situation Interventions Intrapersonal • Intrapersonal: issues that are within yourself, not involving others. • Our goal is to cut off stress at the earliest situations and that will stop the stress model from continuing down its normal path. DQ 4: Give an example of an intrapersonal stress you experience. Example • College students generally enjoy going out to parties / bars etc. There is nothing wrong with that. However, at the end of the night you may find that you are presented with multiple life situations that have great potential to increase your stress levels. What do you do…? Example • Why do most of the negative life situations occur later in the evening? – More alcohol / drugs consumed. – Folks are more tired at 2a than at 11p. – Noise and lights may become annoying at 1a when they were cool at 11p. – Folks more inebriated than you are now seem dumb and an annoyance whereas at 11p they were funny. Example • So the question becomes do you realize those occurrences and what do you do? • If you find that the „bad‟ parts of your night out usually occur between 1a-2a why stay that late? Just because you went out and the bar is still open doesn‟t mean you have to remain at the bar. Usually it is better to go out have all the fun you can and remove yourself from the situation prior to being put in a life situation that has such great potential to turn negative in a hurry. Nutrition • Certain food substances produce a stress- like response physiologically. These are called pseudostressors or sympathomimetics. – These substances mimic sympathetic nervous system stimulation. • Caffeine • Nicotine • There is a relationship between stress, self-esteem, and poor nutritional habits. – Anorexia nervosa & Bulimia are two extreme cases. Nutrition • Cortisol production requires the use of vitamins. Cortisol is one of the major hormones released as a stress response. • B complex & C vitamins are most heavily affected. – Anxiety. – Depression. – Insomnia. – Muscular weakness. – Stomach upset. Nutrition • Calcium absorption is affected negatively while calcium excretion is increased. • Potassium, Zinc, Copper, & Magnesium: excretion increased due to stress. • Hypoglycemia = low blood sugar. – Symptoms: • Anxiety, headache, dizziness, trembling, and irritability. – Stress response becomes more intense. Noise • Noise can raise blood pressure, heart rate and lead to muscle tension. • Noise is related to job dissatisfaction and results in irritation and anxiety. • Noise results in sleep disturbance, headaches, and hypertension. • 85 decibels usually result in a stress response. 90 is the beginning of hearing damage. Noise • Noise can also be relaxing. • “White noise” is noise / sounds used to drown out more obnoxious noises. • Trouble sleeping due to crickets or other folks walking around? Turn your fan on. Many folks find the noise of a fan just enough to aid in relaxation and sleeping. Noise Levels Hassels & Uplifts • Hassels: daily events that are typically negative. – Shoe lace breaks. – Drop your toast on the floor. – Forget your lunch. • Uplifts: daily events that are typically positive. – “You look nice today.” – “Job well done.” – “Thanks for…” – Playing with your puppy or children. Hassels & Health • Hassels predictive of psychological distress, dynamics of stress and aging, and related to poorer mental and physical health. • Your response to the hassle is key! Breaking your shoe lace means you may have to change your shoes. It doesn‟t mean you will now have a bad day, week, or that you are cursed. Just because a hassle occurs doesn‟t mean you have to allow it to become a stress potential life event. Interpersonal • Interpersonal: situations that involve others. • Saying “No” is difficult for many people. You don‟t want to disappoint a friend or you may realize you may want a return favor later. • However, protecting your own time is invaluable and everyone needs to learn how to say “No”. Asserting Yourself • Assertive Behavior: expressing yourself and fulfilling your own needs. – Friend: “What movie do you want to see tonight?” – You: “I really want to see that new Will Ferrell movie.” – Often times the response to the question is I don‟t know, I don‟t care, Whatever you want. Those are the opposite of asserting yourself. Asserting Yourself • Nonassertive behavior: sacrificing your needs to satisfy someone else‟s. – Husband: “Where do you want to go to dinner tonight?” – Wife: “Whatever you want is fine with me.” – Husband: “Sweet. I have really been wanting to try out the new Sports Bar with an all you can eat BBQ while we watch the Cubs game.” Asserting Yourself • Aggressive behavior: seeking to dominate or to get your own way at the expense of others. – Wife: “I was really hoping to go see the high school play this weekend.” – Husband: “That isn‟t an option. You know I hate those things and then I won‟t have fun and then we‟ll get into a fight and you won‟t have fun either. We should just stay home.” Asserting Yourself • Asserting yourself can be a difficult skill to master. • Stress comes when you repeatedly deny your own needs and put others before yourself. • The trick is to be understanding, courteous, and respectful when asserting yourself. Nonverbal Assertiveness • Words need to match actions to show maximum assertiveness. • Good upright posture, facing the people you are talking to, speak clearly and loud enough for folks to hear easily, and speak with confidence and without hesitation. Verbal Assertiveness: DESC • Describe: use clear and distinct words to give detail on the situation. – “When you sit around all day watching baseball… • Express: relate your feelings. – “…I have to cook, clean, and take care of the dogs.” • Specify: identify at least 1 way you would like the situation to change. – “I want you to take the dogs for a walk before you sit to watch the game.” Verbal Assertiveness: DESC • Consequence: tell the other person what will happen if s/he does not abide by your request. – “I will not cook until after you take the dogs for a walk.” • Remember to use assertive body language when you utilize the DESC pattern for forming your comments. Conflict Resolution • Conflict is often a major source of stress potential life situations. • The more frequent and longer duration of your conflicts the more stress you experience. • The more stress you experience the more likely you are to get into a conflict. • Rinse and repeat! Conflict Resolution • Major problems w/ communicating in conflict: – Lack of listening. – Attempts to „win‟. – Inability to demonstrate an understanding of the other person‟s point of view / perceptions. – A refusal to consider or accept solutions you didn‟t think of or propose. Time Management • Time is always used and not ever saved. • The goal is to limit the amount of time wasted. However, that is not to say that time spent “unproductively” was wasted. • Watching a movie or playing a video game are not necessarily wastes of time. They can be great stress relievers. • Be very careful if you choose to make a comment about how someone else uses his/her time. Not everyone has the same perceptions. Time Management: Tips • Setting goals: daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, and longer allow you to organize your time by priority. Without goals you do not have a clear way to prioritize your time. • Prioritizing: simply putting your goals in a list that is rank ordered. Not all of your goals will have the same level of importance to you. Time Management: Tips • Schedule: this is taking your prioritized goals and making them realistic by actually putting them into your day. • Maximizing your rewards: this is about taking the time to enjoy what you are doing. When you are doing an activity for fun, get the most fun out of it you can. When doing an activity for productivity, do quality work so that when you are done you feel a high level of satisfaction and can move onto the next activity w/o looking back. Time Management: Tips • Saying No: No matter how hard we try there are still only 24 hours in a day. Time is a zero-sum game. That means that if you tell a friend you can give him/her a ride into town and it takes you 1 hour; you then have to take that 1 hour from something else. Time Management: Tips • Delegating: this is not saying to force others to do your work. But if you are in a position where you need help it is ok to ask and receive help. • Evaluating tasks once: smaller tasks that can be done in one sitting should be. When you get an email you know you have to respond to, don‟t let it sit in your inbox. Answer the email when you get it. Time Management: Tips • Using the garbage: Not every piece of mail or email needs to actually be opened. • Investing time: time on the front end spent organizing your time and putting together a plan will pay dividends on the back end. DQ 5: Give an example where you have been successful at investing your time. Time Management: Tips • Limiting interruptions: Everyone has voicemail now. Use it. It is ok to turn off the ringer. Also, you probably don‟t need to check your cell phone every 20 minutes! Same goes for email. If each check takes 1 min. & you check 20 X each day. That 20 minutes could be used to walk 2 miles and burn 200 calories. In about 3 weeks you could lose 1 pound! Social Support • Social support may be our best ally in combating stress potential life situations. • Folks experiencing a great deal of stress potential life situations that had multiple friends / family members to rely upon experienced comparable stress levels to someone that did not experience a similar situation. Social Support: 3 Types • Tangible support: your car breaks and your friend lets you use her car so you can go to work. • Emotional support: having a friend listen to you while you vent about work or school. • Informational support: asking a friend for advice and trusting that s/he has your best interest at heart. Social Support: 2 Ways • Informational support may be to such a high quality that it prevents you from putting yourself in a stress potential life situation. That advice then had a direct effect on your own personal stress model. • Stress buffering theory is when some form of social support stops the stress model before it gets to negative consequences. Perception Interventions Perceptions • Perceptions does not always equal reality. • Perceptions are not always equal across people. • I view an unmade bed as comfy and ready to be slept in! • My wife views the same unmade bed as messy, annoying, and a reminder that she has one more thing to do. Selective Awareness • We are constantly bombarded by sensory experiences. What we choose to pay attention to is usually under our own control. • Every situation has good and bad. Sometimes it is difficult to find both, but they are always there. You have to select how you view the situation. Selective Awareness • You could perceive this Power Point as terribly boring and that this class is not what you wanted. • You could perceive this class as being very practical and take whatever lessons you can and use them in your life to make your stress load a little lighter. Enjoyment • As I sit here I have a concert of crickets blasting away. While a part of me certainly wishes their instruments would all suddenly go quiet, the majority of me realizes I am fortunate enough to be sitting in the yard of the home I own and that is my orchestra of crickets blasting away. Enjoyment • It can be very difficult to find enjoyment in many activities. However difficult the challenge is, the reward is almost certainly greater. • It has been said happiness is the secret to life. If you accept that and happiness is the absence of distress. Then finding ways to limit your distress will allow you to experience happiness. • Everyone is a better husband, wife, friend, neighbor, etc. when they are happy. Attitude of Gratitude • This is simply appreciating what you have. • All of us have many things to be grateful for. We just have to take the time and put forth the mental energy to realize all of the things we have. • This concept can quickly turn to religion but it does not have to. You can thank your wife for her social support and be grateful that she gives it to you so easily. Humor • Humor has been shown to be an effective means of dealing with stress. • It has a primary use of defusing stressful situations. • Think of the Star Wars movies. At some point during the most tense moments in the movie, the camera will shift to C-3PO and R2-D2 for comic relief. That humor lowers the tension and thus allows it to be ratcheted up again later. Humor • 14 yr. olds: laugh every 4 minutes. • Adults: laugh only 15 X / day! • Humor has been shown to: – Improve immune system function. – Increase tolerance of pain. – Decrease the stress response. • Patch Adams, the movie with Robin Williams, was based on a real individual. Self-Esteem • Self-esteem: how highly you regard yourself. • All of the techniques we have discussed thus far require a base level of self-esteem for them to be successful. • Without self-esteem you won‟t trust your own opinions and decisions and that will cause many stress potential life situations. Locus of Control • External: you feel you have little control over your life, decisions, or actions. • Internal: you feel you have the control to alter your situations, thoughts, and feelings. • There are 2 ways to develop your ILC: – Autonomy: being independent and being able to stand on your own two feet with pride. – Assertiveness: speaking out to ensure your needs are met. Anxiety Management • Trait anxiety: a general sense of anxiety not specific to a particular stimulus. • State anxiety: either temporary or specific to a certain stimulus. • A type of state anxiety is phobias. There are a variety of phobias that vary in intensity and duration. DQ 6: Give an example of both types of anxiety. Albert Ellis and his ABCs • A: Activating agent. • B: Belief system. • C: Consequences. • D: Dispute irrational beliefs. • E: Effect. Albert Ellis and his ABCs • The concept presented by Ellis is that A is not what causes our stress. It is our B that causes stress. If we can lower the value we place on a situation, or alter our perception of the positive, then our ABC model stops at A. That is to say something happened but we did not perceive it as a stress potential life situation so there can‟t be any negative consequences associated with it. Hardiness: 3 Components • Commitment: sticking with whatever it is you are doing until the end. • Control: having the ability to influence your situation. • Challenge: life will not always be easy and challenges afford us the opportunities to succeed and grow.
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