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Stress Inventory 167 TABLE 1 Ratings of Severity of Stress of Lqe Events by Alental Health Professionals and Tearhers (N - 66) Rank Event . M SD I Physical Child Abuse 20.00 1 .00 2 Death of a Parent 19 .43 1 .50 3 Divorce of Parents 17 .80 2.56 4 Death of a Brother or Sister 17 .78 2 .63 5 Acquiring a Visible Deformity 16 .71 3 .02 6 Marital Separation of Parents 16 .66 2 .55 7 Foster Home Placement 16.39 3 .51 8 Serious Illness Requiring Hospitalization orChild 15 .87 3 .55 9 Death of a Close Friend 15 .47 3 .95 10 Jail Sentence of a Parent 15 .16 3 .82 11 Severe Illness Requiring Hospitalization of Parents 15 .12 3 .38 12 Having a Visible Congenital Deformity 14 .16 3 .83 13 Increase in Number of Arguments Between Parents 13 .66 3 .50 14 Becoming Involved with Drugs and Alcohol 13 .57 4.32 15 Marriage of Parent to Step-parent 13 .31 3 .86 16 Increase in Number of Arguments with Parents 12 .92 3 .24 17 Frequent Absence of One or Both Parents 12 .83 4 .28 18 Change in Child's Acceptance by Peers 12 .83 3 .96 19 Family Moves ; Relocations 12 .68 4 .18 20 Academic Failure 12 .27 3 .45 21 Changed Schools 12 .27 4 .21 22 Learning Problems in School 11 .95 3 .27 23 Illness Requiring Hospitalization of Brother or Sister 11 .16 4 .25 24 Beginning School 11 .10 4 .84 25 Death of a Grandparent 11 .07 4 .42 26 Speech Problems 10.77 4 .07 27 Hearing Problems 10.74 4 .00 28 Child Needed Special Education Services 10 .40 3.83 29 Suspension from School 10 .06 4 .25 30 Mother Beginning to Work 10 .00 3.56 31 Loss of Job by Parent 9 .83 4 .36 32 Poor Grades in School 9 .69 3 .64 33 Birthof Brother or Sister 9 .27 3 .81 34 Increased Argument with Brothers and Sisters 9 .15 3 .53 35 Brother or Sister Leaving Home 8 .93 4 .27 36 Addition of a Third Party to Family (i .e ., Grandmother, etc .) 7 .98 3 .27 37 Vision Problem Requiring Glasses 6 .21 3 .69 PREVENTION SKILLS Become knowledgeable about stress Understand the process and effects of stress . Identify your major sources of stress . Anticipate stressful periods and plan for them . Find your optimum stress levels in all the areas of your life - be honest about what you really can cope with . " Keeping physically fit Research consistently has demonstrated that the fitter you are the less likely you are to develop physical illnesses but also mental illness. If you are fit you have more energy to engage the daily problems you encounter and more resilience when things do not work out well . 0 Develop a style of life that will act as a buffer against the effects of stress Drink in moderation . Eat a balanced diet, have regular meals and always begin the day with an adequate breakfast. Cut out or reduce smoking. Minimise your use of foods high in sugar, salt and saturated fats . Increase your fibre intake . Maintain your recommended weight . Manage your time Determine your priorities, dis?inauish between what must be done and what it would be desirable to do . " Be assertive Develop the skills of asking for what you want, stating your preferences, and saying 'no' to people and organisations who demand too much of your time . 0 Develop an effective support system Having people to turn to, talk and rely on has been shown to be perhaps the most significant factor in helping people minimise the occurrence and impact of stressors in their lives and on their health . Have clear objectives Many of us end up doing too much, inefficiently, and too quickly. This is often because we have not stopped to ask ourselves what it is that we really want . Training oneself to think in terms of objectives is a crucial Lifeskill (and will be represented in a future volume of Teaching Programmes). It does not refer only to major life decisions but to all activities in our lives . How often do we ask ourselves, 'is this what I want to be doing right now, and why do I want to do it?' 9 Be clear about your values Until you know what is important to you, you will find it difficult to set objectives for yourself . Page 211 in Lifeskills Teaching gives a variety of teaching resources to enabie teachers to help students clarify and crystallise their values . It is important to remember, however, that values change and require periodic reassessment . 0 Be systematic about making decisions and solving problems Learn to divide a problem into manageable components, gather sufficient information about learn the problem to put it into perspective. Discover your range of decision-making styles and which is appropriate to what decision . DESTRESS 8 HAND007 8 .2 MANAGEMENT SKILLS " Exercise Physical exercise, whether through a sport, dancing, fitness programme or any strenuous activity, helps to dissipate the stress response as well as re-energising you to engage the problem . Relax There are many ways of relaxing and perhaps it appears strange to read of this as a skill. We would certainly not wish to prescribe to people as to how they should relax, but we do in this Teaching Programme wish to acquaint students with a variety of relaxation techniques, some of which may well be new to them . We also frequently encounter people who do not seem to know how to relax. The time when we most often are in need of relaxation is that time when we believe that we do not have the time! Some relaxation techniques do work directly on our physiology, for example, meditation, deep breathing, progressive relaxation, autogenics, massage, whereas others work indirectly through a psychological process - listening to music, having a drink, watching TV, reading a book . Students need to have access to a variety of techniques to help them discover what works for them and in what situations . 0 Give yourself a treat Stress prevention and management programmes can sound like just so much hard work ; requiring dedication, time and exuding a certain joylessness. Sometimes it is really important to say to oneself in times of stress, 'I've had enough . That's it ; I'm going to enjoy myself' . It is sad to relate but some people need to be given permission to enjoy themselves . Do whatever you enjoy doing - have that calorific cream cake, go to the cinema, buy yourself that ludicrously expensive blouse . Who are we to tell you what you should do to give yourself a treat! Use constructive self-talk The Teaching Programme : 'How to manage negative emotions', gives considerable background to this concept . Constructive self-talk is simply what you can say to yourself as you deal with a particular source of stress . It's the old-fashioned device of 'talking to yourself' ; the only difference is that you decide in advance the thoughts that you are going to have in the midst of the stress-producing event . You will want to practise speaking thoughts to yourself that are going to enable you to cope better than you otherwise would . There are four points in any situation where you can use this to help manage a stressful experience : 1. preparing for a stressful experience, for example, taking an examination ; 2. dealing with it when it is underway - in the examination room ; 3. dealing with the anxiety of being overwhelmed by it - panicking when you fail to recognise any of the questions on the paper; 4. rewarding yourself after it is all over - congratulating yourself in your head for having completed the examination . Calming Down Dr. George S. Everly, Jr. During the course of an average day, many of us find ourselves in anxiety producing situations . Our heart rates increase, our stomachs may become upset, and our thoughts may race uncontrollably through our minds . It is during such episodes as these that we require fast-acting relief from our stressful reactions . The brief exercise described below on this page has been found effective in reducing most of the stress reaction that we suffer from during acute exposures to stressors - in effect, a quick way to "calm down" in the face of a stressful situation . The basic mechanism for stress reduction in this exercise involves deep breathing. The procedure is as follows: STEP 1 - Assume a comfortable position . Rest your left hand (palm down) on top of your abdomen. More specifically, place your left hand over top of your navel. Now place your right hand so that it comfortably rests on your left. Your eyes should remain open. (See Figure 1). STEP 2 - Imagine a hollow bottle, or pouch, lying internally beneath the point at which your hands are resting. Begin to inhale . As you inhale, imagine that the air is entering through your nose and descending to fill that internal pouch. Your hands will rise as you fill the pouch with air. As you continue to inhale, imagine the pouch being filled to the top . Your rib cage and upper chest will continue the wave-like rise that was begun at your navel. The total length of your inhalation should be 3 seconds for the first week or so, then lengthening to 4 to S seconds as your progress in skill 'development . STEP 3 - Slowly begin to exhale - to empty the pouch . As you do, repeat to yourself the phrase "My body is calm ." As you exhale, you will feel your raised abdomen and chest recede . Repeat this exercise two times in succession. Then continue to breathe normally for S to 10 successive breath cycles, but be sure to emphasize the expiration of each breath as the point of relaxation . Then, you may repeat the entire process again - 2 deep breaths followed by S to 10 normal breaths during which you concentrate on releasing any stored tension on the expiration. Should you begin to feel light-headed or should you experience any discomfort, stop at that point. Practice this exercise S to 10 times a day. Make it a ritual in the morning, afternoon, and evening, as well as during stressful situations. After a week or two of practice omit Step 1 . This was for teaching the technique only. Because this form of relaxation is a skill, it is important to practice at least 5-10 times a day . At first you may not notice any on-the-spot relaxation. However, after a week or two of regular practice you will increase your capabilities to relax "on-the-spot ." Remember - consistent practice of these daily exercises will lead to the development of a more calm and relaxed attitude - a sort of anti-stress attitude - and when you do have stressful moments, they will be far less severe . STRESS MANAGEMENT What is Stress? Stress is a process - it is an interaction between the coping skills of the individual and the demands of his environment . 5 Components of Stress : 1. Stressors - S tuations which put demands on ur coping skills . (particularly yoif one feels uncertain of believe t ey lack control) . It can be increase of decrease (e .g ., boredom) . 2. Thoughts - a) YOU see an event/situation as a stress one b) YOU have decided it is a stressor (expectations) c) If YOU dont expect to be able to cope you will have expectations of the consequences of not coping . (Exagerated and unrealistic thinking plays a big role in creating stress) . 3. Physiological Responses - Your body reacts - a) Changes in blood flow and pressure b) heart rate, c) breathing d) muscle tension and perspiration Stress at one level can become a boost to allow you to meet the demands of the- situation - at another level it develops health problems and sometimes death . (HEALTH is a state of balance between the physical . mental, social and spiritual aspects of people) . 4. Feelings - Excitement and exhilaration are positive Stress is associated with negative feelings - anxiety anger, tension, frustration and hopelessness . (Feeling bad itself acts as a stressor because people get upset with themselves for feeling upset) . 5. Behaviour - Our response to stressors - Fight or Flight Fight could be constructive problem solving or losing ones temper . Agression can be active or passive people who dont fight may have very agressive silences . Some stress is inevitable and even desirable - but too much is harmful - it is a question of degree . Eustress - Good) Distress - Bad . Stress is the non-specific response made on us_ it can produce : Pressure Autonomic response Panic Incongruence Despression Dis-organised Tension Money Anxiety Headache It can be the cause/effect/consequence Stages : Alarm (chemical infusion in body) Resistance (body mobilises) Exhausion (overload) Some people are more prone to stress than others e .g ., Type A and Type B persons . STRESS MANAGEMENT What is Stress? Stress is a process - it is an interaction between the coping skills of the individual and the demands of his environment . 5 Components of Stress : 1. Stressors Situations which put demands on your coping skills . (particularly if one feels uncertain of believe they lack control) . It can be increase of decrease (e .g ., boredom) . 2. Thoughts - a) YOU see an event/situation as a stress one b) YOU have decided it is a stressor (expectations) c) If YOU dont expect to be able to cope you will have expectations of the consequences of not coping . (Exagerated and unrealistic thinking plays a big role in creating stress) . 3. Physiological Responses - Your body reacts - a) Changes in blood flow and pressure b) heart rate, c) breathing d) muscle tension and perspiration Stress at one level can become a boost to allow you to meet the demands of the . situation - at another level it develops health problems and sometimes death . (HEALTH is a state of balance between the physical_ mental, social and spiritual aspects of people) . 4. Feelings - Excitement and exhilaration are positive Stress is associated with negative feelings - anxiety anger, tension, frustration and hopelessness . (Feeling bad itself acts as a stressor because people get upset with themselves for feeling upset) . S. Behaviour - Our response to stressors - Fight or Flight Fight could be constructive problem solving or losing ones temper . Agression can be active or passive people who dont fight may have very agressive silences . Some stress is inevitable and even desirable - but too much is harmful - it is a question of degree . Eustress - Good) Distress - Bad . Stress is the non-specific response made on us.i t can produce : Pressure Autonomic response Panic Incongruence Despression Dis-organised Tension Money Anxiety Headache It can be the cause/effect/consequence Stages : Alarm (chemical infusion in body) Resistance (body mobilises) Exhausion (overload) Some people are more prone to stress than others e .g ., Type A and Type B persons . WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT STRESS : Management : Stress prevention e .g ., re-organise schedule Stress reduction e .g ., cognitive restructing Stress Management e .g ., relaxation, exercises . These could include Changing jobs Quitting jobs Improving jobs Changing relationships Quitting bad relationships Improving relationships Changing Intrusive Thoughts Coping with worrying thoughts Thought Stopping Setting up a personal plan for changing Stressors (perhaps a contract system) Changing irrational thoughts to rational thoughts Learning to relax - ex yoga, Increasing your endurance capacity (being fit) Getting in touch with your feelings Reward your sucesses Become more assertive (recognise assertion) Improve communication skills e .g ., levelling, listening, validating . Gain skill in solving problems - e .g ., define problem brainstorm solutions evaluate possibilities Select a solution Impli ment the plan (practise) Self analysis and self help is available if the problem is extemely stressful seek professional help . Social Networks are vital in overcoming stress - 1 . Value of confident 2 . Self care (as per caring for others) 3 . Small group social support 4 . Someone to affirm "I'm O .K ." image Example 1 Accepted : When I feel accepted, I feel warm inside . I feel safe. I feel free to be myself . I feel I can let my guard down . I feel like sharing myself . I feel my strengths more-deeply . Some of my fears ease away . I feel at home . I feel at peace . I feel some residues of loneliness drain away. Example 2 Scared : When I feel scared, My mouth dries up . My bowels become loose . There are butterflies in my stomach. I feel like running away. I feel the need to talk to someone understanding . I'm unable to concentrate . I turn in on myself . I feel extremely vulnerable . Sometimes I feel like crying out . Some of the symptoms we may see when our body is'aroused by the "fight/flight" response are summarised below :- Heart pumps faster --~ Blood pressure rises .--j Thudding heart beat Air passages enlarge and brcarhing faster -----~ Hyperventilation ----~ Dizziness Blood drawn from skin to muscles --j Face becomes white Digestion interrupted Appetite changes or "screwed-up" feeling in stomach, ----~ Cortisone secreated by Dampens body's immune Colds, flu and infections adrenals , --~ response --~ more likely . Body metabolism increases --~ Stores raided and organ's --~ "Run down" feeling ;,nd overworked ill health Ccistro-intestinal tract Diarrhoea or ulcers over time works overtime Pupils dilate ---~ Better sight --~ Eye soreness over time Muscles tense ---~ Ready for action ----~ Muscle tension & soreness over time . Ile ;iring becomes acute I,'lood supply to head -.~ More oxygen to brain ---~ Throbbing heed increases Blood drains from extremeties --~ Hands & feet feel cold and sweaty . OnlY trio often nowadays the strenuous action which makes use of all these functions does not follow and our bodies are prone to being constantly tuned to a higher action level . We cannot i*(: l ;i:-: mid i f this continues too long it precipitates "dis-ease" . The disease is the body's way of w;lrii i ll ;-, it :; Lh;it something is wrong . 3 _,Al o How Much Change Can You Take? Dr . Thomas H . Holmes, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Washington, has devised a scale assigning point value to changes, both good and bad, that often affect us . When enough changes occur during one year to add up to 300, a danger point has been reached . In the population he studied, 80 percent of the people who exceeded 300 became seriously depressed, had heart attacks, or suffered other serious illnesses . meet a series of life events . Holmes and Rahe have called this list "the social readjustment scale" . The scale is based on interviews with 394 individuals . The actual numerical rating was the average number of units these individuals assigned to the various life events after being told marriage was equivalent to fifty units . Heading the list is death of a spouse . The doctors subsequently found that ten times more widows and widowers die during the first year after the death of their husbands or wives than all others in their age group ; that divorced persons have an illness rate twelve times higher than married persons in the year following the divorce . According to the doctors, change whether for "good" or "bad" causes stress to a human being, leaving him more susceptible to disease . TABLE 1 THE STRESS OF ADJUSTING TO CHANGE Events Scale of Impact Death of Spouse 100 Divorce 73 Marital separation 65 Jail term 63 Death of close family member 63 Personal injury or illness 53 Marriage 50 Fired at work 47 Marital reconciliation 45 Retirement 45 Change in health of family member 44 Pregnancy 40 Sex difficulties 39 Gain of new family member 39 Business readjustment 39 Change in financial state 38 Death of close friend 37 Change to different line of work 36 Change in number of arguments with spouse 35 Mortgage over $10,000 31 Foreclosure of mortgage or loan 30 /2 . . Change in responsibilities at work 30 Son or daughter leaving home 29 Trouble with in-laws -- 29 Outstanding personal achievement 28 Wife begins or stops work 26 Begin or end school 26 Change in living conditions 25 Revision of personal habits 24 Trouble with boss 23 Change in work hours or conditions 23 Change in residence 20 Change in schools 20 Change in recreation 19 Change in church activities 19 Change in social activities 18 Mortgage or loan less than $10,000 17 Change in sleeping habits 16 Change in number of family get-togethers 15 Change in eating habits 15 Vacation 13 Christmas 12 Minor violations of the law 11 Our approach is similar in that we define stress as environmental conditions that require behavioural adjustment . LIST FCR TE::SICK AND ANXIETY INDICATORS SPORT : CIRCLE FREQUENCY OF OBSERVATION J am _ .J C F TEN S 10.I .AL'AYS _ SOMETIMES NEVER Excessive butterflies 3 2 1 Facial gimaces 3 2 1 Clenching teeth, grinding teeth 3. 2 1 General bodily restlessness 3 2 1 Moving body part continuously : foot, hands, knee 3 2 1 Tightness in throat 3 2 1 Tightness in chest 3 2 1 Headaches 3 2 1 Neckaches 3 2 1 Backaches 3 2 1 Stomach discomfort or pain 3 2 1 Diarrohea 3 2 1 Constipation 3 2 1 Irritable bowel 3 2 1 Indigestion 3 2 Irritable G .I . tract 3- 2 1 Fatigue 3 2 Insomnia, disrupted sleep 3 2 1 Restless legs 3 2 1 Restless hands 3 2 1 Pulling, tugging on hair, moustache, eyebrows, etc . 3 2 1 Muscles twitches, spasms, cramps, tics 3 2 1 Excessive sweating 3 2 1 Cold, clammy hand and/or feet 3 2 1 Chewing fingernails 3 2 1 Chewing inside of cheek or lips 3 2 1 General irritability 3 2 1 Heart pounding or racing 3 2 1 Feelings of irritability 3 2 1 Feelings of aggression 3 2 1 Anger, hostility . 3 2 1 Shaking hands, tremors 3 2. 1 Irregular breathing rates, shortness of breath 3 - 2 1 Uncontrollable thoughts 3 2 1 Negative thoughts 3 2 1 Mental confusion 3 2 1 Forgetfulness 3 2 1 Skin rashes 3 2 1 Loss of appetite 3 2 1 Execessive eating 3 2 1 Increased drinking 3 2 1 Unexplained fears 3 2 1 Feelings of a lack of control 3 2 I TOTAL SCORE (Modified from Harris a Harris, 1984) WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT STRESS : J Management : Stress prevention e .g ., re-organise schedule Stress reduction e .g ., cognitive - restructing Stress Management e .g ., relaxation, exercises . These could include Changing jobs Quitting jobs . Improving jobs Changing relationships Quitting bad relationships Improving relationships Changing Intrusive Thoughts Coping with worrying thoughts Thought Stopping Setting up a personal plan for changing Stressors (perhaps a contract system) Changing irrational thoughts to rational thoughts Learning to relax - ex yoga, Increasing your endurance capacity (being fit) Getting in touch with your feelings Reward your sucesses Become more assertive (recognise assertion) Improve communication skills e .g ., levelling, listening, validating . Gain skill in solving problems - e .g ., define problem brainstorm solutions evaluate possibilities Select a solution Imph ment .the plan (practise) Self analysis and self help is available if the problem is extemely stressful seek professional help . Social Networks are vital in overcoming stress - 1. Value of confident 2. Self care (as per caring for others) 3. Small group social support Snmnnna to affirm "T Im 0 K THE PIE OF LIFE This,circle represents a typical day in your life (24 hours) . Divide it into segmefts to show the various activities of your day and the time spent on each . (N .B : Don't forget the hours spent sleeping) . 1. Are you satisfied with the relative sizes of your slices? 2. Ideally, how big would you want each slice to be? Draw your ideal pie . 3. Realistically, is there anything you can do to begin to change the size of some of your slices? 4. Is there a Self-Contract you'd be willing to make and sign your name to? PURPOSE : This strategy is a variation of Percentage Questions . In its simplest form, it asks us to inventory our lives - to see how we actually do spend our time, our money, etc. This information is needed if we hope to move from what we are getting to what we want to get out of life . The Pie of Life can also be used to raise some thought-provoking questions about how we live our lives . TO THE TEACHER: Do stress the fact that there is no right way to divide up a pie . Each of us lives a different life . There is no implication that it is necessary to change the time devoted to any specific category . The focus is on inventorying and looking at our lives more closely . Any decisions to change are up to the individual . There are many things that can be looked at in terms of slices of the pie of life . For example : A pie on where the mohey goes each week, a pie on the kinds of clothes hanging in your closet, a pie .on the music your listen to, or toe books and magazines and newspapers you read, or the people who visit your home, etc . In addition to being a factual inventory of our lives, the Pie of Life can ask , for a subjective inventory . For example, you can plot the proportions of the day that you feel HIGH, NEUTRAL or LOW . Or, a WORK pie can be drawn to show the portions that are CREATIVE, INTERESTING, DULL but important, and BUSY-WORK (dull and relatively unimportant) . LIFELINE Lifeline The line on the right represents your lifespan . Locate the present on the line . Identify in the major events in the past . Write in some of the things We hope to do this month, this year, within five years, ten years, twenty years, and so on . List under each of these goals, or draw how your life-style could change as a result of working towards the goal of achieving it . State the goals that are particularly important to you . Fix them in your mind . Visualize yourself achieving . Session One VALUES Values Exercise #1 Purpose : To identify the priorities in your value system Procedure : From the list below, pick the 5 most important values for you as guiding principles of your life . Think of WHY you have selected these 5 values . Concentrate on things you have done in the past and choices you have made which show that these are guiding principles for you . VALIDATE each of the 5 values you have selected by noting one thing you do or have done which illustrates this value for you . a comfortable life (prosperous life) equality (brotherhood, equal opportunity for all) an exciting life (stimulating, active life) family security (taken care of) happiness inner harmony (freedom from inner conflict) mature love (sexual and spiritual intimacy) national security (protection from attack) pleasure (an enjoyable leisurely life) salvation (eternal life) self-respect (self esteem) a sense of accomplishment (making a lasting contribution) social recognition (respect and admiration) true friendship wisdom (a mature understanding of life) world peace (freedom from war arid tonflict) a world of beauty ambitious (hard working and aspiring) brood-minded (open minded) capable (competent and effective) cheerful (light hearted and joyful) clean (neat and tidy) courageous (standing up for your beliefs) forgiving ( willing to pardon others ) helpful (working for the welfare of others) honest (sincere and truthful) imaginative (daring and creative) independent (self-reliant and self-sufficient) intellectual (intelligent and reflective) logical (consistent and rational) loving (affectionate and tender) obedient (dutiful and respectful), . polite ( courteous and well-mannered) self-control (restrained and self-disciplined) IRRATIONAL BELIEFS At the root of all irrational thinking is the assumption that things are done to you : "That really got me down . . . .She_makes me nervous .- .Places like that scare me . . . Being lied to makes me see red ." Nothing is done to you . Events happen in the world . You experience those events (A), engage in self-talk(B), and then experience an emotion (C) resulting from the self- talk . (A) does not cause (C) - (B) causes (C) . If your self- talk is irrational and unrealistic, you create unpleasant emotions . Two common forms of irrational self-talk are statements that "awfulise" and "absolutise" . You awfulise by making catastrophic, nightmarish interpretations of your experience . A momentary chest pain is a heart attack, the grumpy boss intends to fire you, your mate takes a night job and the thought of being alone is unthinkably terrible . The emotions that follow awfulise self- talk tend themselves to be awful - you are responding to your own description of the world . Irrational self statements that " absoluti .se" often include words such as "should, must, ought, always and never" . The idea is that things have to be a certain way, or you have to be a certain way . Any deviation from that particular value or standard is bad . The person who fails to live up to the standard is bad . In reality, it is the standard that is bad because it is irrational . Albert Ellis has suggested ten basic irrational ideas, which are listed below . To these we have added some additional common self statements which are highly unrealistic . Check the ones that seem to apply to you . 1. IT IS AN ABSOLUTE NECESSITY FOR AN ADULT TO HAVE LOVE AND APPROVAL FROM PEERS, FAMILY AND FRIENDS . In fact, it is impossible to please all the people in your life . Even those who basically like and approve of you will be turned off by some behaviours and qualities . This irrational belief is probably the single greatest cause of unhappiness . 2. YOU MUST BE UNFAILINGLY COMPETENT AND ALMOST PERFECT IN ALL YOU UNDERTAKE . The results of believing you must behave perfectly are self blame for inevitable failure, lowered self esteem, perfection- istic standards applied to mate and friends, and paralysis and fear at attempting anything . 3. CERTAIN PEOPLE ARE EVIL, WICKED AND VILLANEOUS, AND SHOULD BE PUNISHED . A more realistic position is that they are behaving in ways which are antisocial or inappropriate, . They are perhaps stupid, ignorant or neurotic, and it would be well if their behaviour could be changed . V \ ,0 VI DE-STRESS 3 S E L F T A L K MAKING STRESSFUL EVENTS LESS STRESSFUL Often, the things that really stress us are only stressful because of the way we perceive them . It's your self-talk that can cause stress . For instance, look at this situation - Julie thinks that it's about time she got a raise, but her boss hasn't yet said anything about one . The thought of asking him leads to her feeling stress - anxious, upset, fidgeting . Why Julie thinks, "He might say 'no' . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . or,"He'll tell me I'm no good, I don't deserve one . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ." or,"He'll think I'm big-headed and aggressive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ." or,"He might laugh in my face - oryell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ." This thinking can be rational, or irrational . It is irrational if 1. It is largely self put-down's (I don't deserve it . . . . . .") 2. It immediately assumes others will be negative (He'll laugh in my face) ; 3. It turns a "want" into a vital "need" (I must . . . .") ; 4. It suggests that if the need is not met, the result will be really disastrous (I'd die if he said no . . . . . .) ; S. It does not consider all the evidence ; 6. It leads to wrong conclusions . Think of a situation in which you get tense . It could be a situation of conflict of interests, or one in which you want to be more assertive, or in which you are criticised - or whatever . "Take a few minutes to think about this situation . Write down all the FACTS d: that situation (DO NOT include any impressions, interpretations of what happened or any value judgements) . How did you FEEL? What was your SELF-TALK (What did you tell yourself about yourself in this situation? What were your impressions about what was happening?) Were there any irrational thoughts in your self-talk? If so, take each thought and ask yourself - 1. Is that thought really TRUE? 2. Why is it FALSE? 3. Realistically, what good and bad things could happen as a result of this situation? TEN THINGS 1 LIKE TO DO List ten Alone Planned New How long Frequently (F) Most Like things I or or or since I Sometimes (S) to like to With Others Spontaneous Old last did Rarely (R) Least Like do (A or O) (P or S) (N or O) it Never (N) (1 to 10) 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9- 10. 1. Fill in the list of things you like to do. Think of the things you really do enjoy I 2. Go through the columns and make the appropriate entries. 3. When you have completed the list, ask yourself (a) have I any immediate reactions to doing the list? (b) have I reactions to looking at my entries in column 1 ; any reactions to column 2; and so on? (c) how much time do I spend doing the things I enjoy? (d) how consciously do I actively 'build-in' to my life activities that I do enjoy? (e) if I wanted more time to do more of what I enjoy what would I have to change? (f) do I want to do that? If you are prepared to exchange your list with another person, it could be interesting to talk to each other about your reactions and about anything that strikes you in reading each others sheets . 4. If individuals are interested the list could be re-headed TEN THINGS I DONT LIKE TO DO', and filled in accordingly. This can focus on how much of one's time can be given to activities which give little satisfaction and can be compared quite usefully with the first list, as a basis for some re-evaluation of 'How I spend my time'. 33 sty and/or environment - stood . on loving rather than 1 Gct up riftecn min- wait fit a post office line Relax your scan " 19- Turn "needs" Into 43 . Do one thing at a almost pleasant . may be just what you need, on being loved, utes earlier In Uhc morning. cards. Tihc world will not Preferences. Our basic time. 1Vhen you arc busy The Inevitable morning 8 Procrastination is end If the grass doesn't get physical needs trutstate 30 . Talk It Out. 38 . Do someth ing with a project. concentrate mishaps will be less stress- stressful. Whatever you mowed Oils weekend, Into food, water, and Discussing your that wit improve your ap- on doing that project and ful . keeping warm . Everything problems with a 0~ pearance. Looking beacr forget about everything want to do tomorrow, do 1 5 . Pollyanna Power! today. whatever you want else Is a pmrcrcnce. Don't trusted fiend can help you else you have to do . , Z . Prepare for the For every one Uhlng that get attached to prcfcmnccs . morning Uhc evening to do today, do It now. an help ~!r feel better. goes wrong, there ate clcu 44 . Allow yourself before. Set the brcaklut probably 10 or 50 or 100 20 " Simplify, S!m- 39 . lime - everyday - for table, make lunclhes, put 9 . Plan ahead. Don't let the blessings . Count'cml plify, simplify, Schedule a privacy, quiet and Intro- out the clodus you plan to aliaic day. spection . " wear, VC. 16 . Ask questions. .'21 . Make friends s _ with non worriers. Noth . Avoid the tendency to 466. ironespcci,liy Taking a fewmoments to schedule back to back ap- repeat back directlom Ing can get you Into the `hilt\ polntmcnts ;allow time "unpleasant" task faces what someone expects of habit of worrying faster your mind of you, do it early In the day . you. etc. can save hours . than assoclaUng with When Wing stressed, confusion so you can con- between appointments for a and get it over with . Tlrn chronic worrywarts, most people tend to breathe ecntrate on problem sole-_ breathing spell . the rest of yourday will be 17 . Say "Nol" In clan, shallow breaths, Ing. froc of anxiety, Saying no to extra projects, 22 . Gct up and 40 . Become mono Qcck your breathing flexible. Some things arc social activities, and strotch periodically If your throughout the day, and 31 . One of the most . Lcam to dclcEale Invitations you know you job requires that you sit for obvious ways to avoid worth not doing perfectly before, during, and alter and some Issues am well to responsibility to othcrea. fuel tank don't have the time or extended periods. unnecessary steles is to high pmssvro sltuatlons. i t pable people- get below one quarter full, energy for takes pratdcc, your stomach muscles am select an environment . , compromise upon. . , keep a wcIJ stocked "emer- sdrrapca, and a belief 23 . Weuearplugs. knelled and your breathing (wont, home. ktsum) *l . , Eliminate de . 4`7. Don't forget w 3. Don't rely on gencyshelf" of home sup. that cvcryonC, everyday If you need to rind quiet at Is shallow, relax all your xhtdt is to Unc with your take a lunch break. Try to yourmcmory. Writedown ics,don't wait until you're needs quiet time to relax home, pop In some car. muscles andtake seversl p:"iona! noods and desires. struClive self talk. "I'm too get away from your desk or appointment limes, what to down to your last postage and to be alone. plugs, deep brcaft Ir you hate desk jots. don't old to . . .." "I'm too fat to . work area In body and pick up the laundry, when stamp to buy more. etc. accept a job which requires . .; etc. mind,even If It's lust for library books arc due. etc. 18 . Unplug your 24. Oct enough 27. Writing your that you sit at a desk all 42 . Use your week. 15 or 20 minuta- ("hire palest ink is better . 10. Don't put up with plhonc . Want to take a long sleep. If necessary use an thoughts and Palings down day. If you tut to Wk end Ume for a change of Chart Uhc most mrcntivc something that doesn't bath, meditate, sleep, alarm clock to remind you On ajournal, or on paper to politics. don't associate pace. If your workweek is 46 . Forget about memory." work iigtu- if your alasm, or read without to go to bed. b e thrown away) an help with people who love to slow and patterned, make counting to 10 . Count to Ofd Chinae Proverb) cock, wallet. shoe laecs. Intcrrupdon? you dully things and an Wk polities, etc. surfs thetc Is aalon and 1000 before doing some- 25. Create thing or saying anything windsercen wipers - what- .Drwn up the ,-/ give you a renewed per- 4. Do nothing which, cvcr-aro a consunt sggra- courage to order out of chaos. 32 . Lam to live one time for spontaneity built that could make matters after being done, leads you vatlon, get tern fixed or Organise your home day at a Um- Into your weekends . If . worse to tell a lic. and workspace $0 your work week is fast 28 . Inoaalate .. get new ones. that you always Self agalrhst a faredyour ovcru- . -33 Evcryday,do paced and full of people Have a forgivln 5 . Make duplicates of and deadlines, seek peace 11 Allow 15 minutes know cucUy Example; before speaking somdhlng you MIUY and solitude during your view of events and people, all keys. Bury a house key extra to got to appoint- In public, take time to go enjoy. Accept the fact that we live in a secret spot In the . days oft Foci u iryou In an Imperfect world . menus, Plan to arrive over everypart of the 3'S'. Add an ounce or an=t accomplishing gird= and carry a dupii- at an airport one hour cxpcdmce In your mind . ate wkey in your wallet. before domestic love to cvcryWng you do . anything tangible at work? .50 . Have an optimls- You'll likely find that Tackle a job on the week- Ucview of thc wodd I3c- apart from your key ring. dcpanums . when the Umccomes to 35 . Take a hot bath end which you can finish to licvc that most people an: 6. Practlcc pmvuuivc make the atXnII prescrus- or shower (or a cool one, In your satisfaction. doing the best they can. 1Z Eliminate lion . It will be "old fat" summertime) to relieve maintcnanx YOufCaf, (or restrict) the amount appliances, home, and and much or your anxiety tension . Stan .: rr.p rr-.r.a of eafcne in your diet . will have [led. mlationshIps will be less wb=e things-arc . Put likely a break downtrall 13 Always setup temporarily dtseonnect. 36- Do things away where they 29 " When the stress something for apart "at the worst possible contingency plwu .-just in l;DC possibility of them belong and you won't huvc being a terrible emergency of having to get a jobdone somebody else . moment ." case." ("If for some season to go through the stress of gcu In the way of getting either of us aredelayed, In the nest hour or so is losing things . the job done, diversion . a 37. Focus on Be prepared . to wait hero's what we'll do . . " almost all.) A paperback can make a voluntary dtange In actJv- understanding rather kind of thing. than on being under- YOU THE LEARNER SESSION 2 : DEVELOPING YOUR OWN ACTION PLAN : HAVE A GO! Choose one of your short-term goals, and complete the Action Plan below : My goal : List the necessary steps for achieving the goal : Some difficulties which might prevent me from reaching my goal . (These could be lack of money, lack of time, other people) . How could I overcome these difficulties? Where can_I get help? Possible outcomes of this goal : The first step : .... ........................ . . ....... . ........ ..... . .................... . 41 I will take this step : today tomorrow this week . next week when? I will reward myself for achieving this goal by : CONTRACT FOR STRESS CONTROL During the next I will undertake the following programme to help prevent and manage my stress levels : 2. 3. 4. When I have successfully completed this programme, I will reward myself with : Signed : ... . .:. . . . . .... . . . .. . . . .. Witness : . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Date : IRRATIONAL BELIEFS At the root of all irrational thinking is the assumption that things are done to you : "That really got me down . . . .She makes me nervous . . . Places like that scare me . . . Being lied to makes me see red ." Nothing is done to you . Events happen in the world . You experience those events (A), engage in self-talk(B), and then experience an emotion (C) resulting from the self- talk . (A) does not cause (C) - (B) causes (C) . If your self- tall: is irrational and unrealistic, you create unpleasant emotions . Two common forms of irrational self-talk are statements that "awfulise" and "absolutise" . You awfulise by making catastrophic, nightmarish interpretations of your experience . A momentary chest pain is a heart attack, the grumpy boss intends to fire you, your mate takes a night job and the thought of being alone is unthinkably terrible . The emotions that follow awfulise self- talk tend themselves to be awful - you are responding to your own description of the world . Irrational self statements that "absolutise" often include words such as "should, must, ought, always and never" . The idea is that things have to be a certain way, or you have to be a certain way . Any deviation from that particular value or standard is bad . The person who fails to live up to the standard is bad . In reality, it is the standard that is bad because it is irrational . Albert Ellis has suggested ter. basic irrational ideas, which are listed below . To these we have added some additional common self statements which are highly unrealistic . Check the ones that seem to apply to you . 1. IT IS AN ABSOLUTE NECESSITY FOR AN ADULT TO HAVE LOVE AND APPROVAL FROM PEERS, FAMILY AND FRIENDS . In fact, it is impossible to please all the people in your life . Even those who basically like and approve of you will be turned off by some behaviours and qualities . This irrational belief is probably the single greatest cause of unhappiness . 2. YOU MUST BE UNFAILINGLY COMPETENT AND ALMOST PERFECT IN ALL YOU UNDERTAKE . The results of believing you must behave perfectly are self blame for inevitable failure, lowered self esteem, perfection- istic standards applied to mate and friends, and paralysis and fear at attempting anything . 3. CERTAIN PEOPLE ARE EVIL, WICKED AND VILLANEOUS, AND SHOULD BE PUNISHED . A more realistic position is that they are behaving in ways which are antisocial or inappropriate . They are perhaps stupid, ignorant or neurotic, and it would be well if their behaviour could be changed . 4. IT IS HORRIBLE WHEN PEOPLE AND THINGS ARE NOT THE WAY YOU WOULD LIKE THEM TO BE . This might be described as the spoiled child syndrome . As soon as the tire goes flat the self-talk starts : "Why does this happen to me? Damn I can't take this . It's awful, I'll get all filthy ." Any inconvenience, problem or failure to get your way is likely to be met with such awfulising self statements . The result is intense irritation and stress . 5. EXTERNAL EVENTS PCAUSE MOST HUMAN MISERY - PEOPLE SIMPLY REACT AS EVENTS TRIGGER THEIR EMOTIONS . A logical extension of this belief is that you must control the external events in order to create happiness or avoid sorrow . Since such control has limitations and we are at a loss to completely manipulate the wills of others, there results a sense of helplessness and chronic anxiety . Ascribing un- happiness to events is a way of avoiding reality . Self state- ments interpreting the event caused the unhappiness . While you may have only limited control over others, you have enorm: ous .control over your emotions . 6. YOU SHOULD FEEL FEAR OR ANXIETY ABOUT ANYTHING THAT IS L'NRNOWN, UNCERTAIN OR POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS . ?any describe this as, "a little bell that goes off and I think I oug-t to start worrying ." They begin to rehearse their scenarios of catastrophy . Increasing . the fear or anxiety in the face of uncertainty makes coping more difficult and adds to stress . Saving the fear response for actual perceived danger allows you to enjoy uncertainty as -a novel and exciting experience . 7 . IT IS EASIER TO AVOID THAN 10 FACE LIFE DIFFICULTIES ' AhD RESPONSIBILITIES . There are many ways of ducking responsibilities : "I should tell him/her I'm no longer interested - but not tonight . . . . I'd like to get another job, but I'm just too tired on my days off to look . . . .A leaky faucet won't hurt anything . . . We could shop today, but the car is making a sort of funny sound ." If you have checked this idea, please add your standard excuses to avoid responsibility here : AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY METHOD OF AVOIDANCE De- St~esS . !t- 8. YOU NEED SOMETHING OTHER OR STRONGER OR GREATER THAN YOURSELF TO RELY ON . This belief becomes a psychological trap in which your independent judgement, and the awareness of your particular needs are undermined by a reliance on higher authority . 9. THE PAST HAS A LOT TO DO WITH DETERMINING THE PRESENT . Just because you were once strongly affected by something, that does not mean that you must continue the habits you formed to cope with the original situation . Those old patterns and ways of responding are just decisions made so many times they have become nearly automatic . You can identify those old decisions and start changing them right now . You can learn from past experience, but you don't have to be overly attached to it . 10 . HAPPINESS CAN BE ACHIEVED BY INACTION, PASSIVITY AND ENDLESS LEISURE . This is called the Elysian Fields syndrome . There is more to happiness than perfect relaxation . OTHER IRRATIONAL IDEAS 11 . YOU ARE HELPLESS AND HAVE NO CONTROL OVER WHAT YOU EXPERIENCE OR FEEL . This belief is at the heart of much depression and anxiety . The truth is we not only exercise considerable control over interpersonal situations, we control how we interpret and emotionally respond to each life event . 12 . PEOPLE ARE FRAGILE AND SHOULD NEVER BE HURT . (Farquhar & Lowe) This irrational belief results in failure to openly communicate important feelings, and in self sacrifice that gives up what is nourishing and pleasurable . Since everything you need or want seems to hurt or deprive someone else, you feel frustration, helplessness and depression . Relationships become full of dead space where conflicts developed and nothing was said . 13 . GOOD RELATIONSHIPS ARE BASED ON MUTUAL SACRIFICE AND A FOCUS ON GIVING . This belief rests on the assumption that it is better to give than to receive . It is expressed in a reluctance to ask for things and the anticipation that your hidden needs will be divined and provided for . Unfortunately, constant self denial usually results in bitterness and withdrawal . 14 . IF YOU DON'T GO TO GREAT LENGTHS TO PLEASE OTHERS, THEY WILL ABANDON OR REJECT YOU . This belief is a by-product of low self esteem . You usually rein less risk of rejection if you offer others your true unembellished self . They can take it or leave it . But if they respond to the real you, you don't have to worry about slacking off, letting down your guard, and being rejected later . 15 . WHEN PEOPLE DISAPPROVE OF YOU, IT INVARIABLY FANS YOU ARE " WRONG OR BAD . (Farquhar and Lowe . This extremely crippling belief sparks chronic anxiety in most interpersonal situations . The irrationality is contained in the generalisation of one specific fault or unattractive feature to a total indictment of the self . 16 . HAPPINESS, PLEASURE AND FULFILLMENT CAN ONLY OCCUR IN THE PRESENCE OF OTHERS, AND BEING ALONE IS HORRIBLE . (Farquhar & Lowe) . Pleasure, self worth and fulfillment can be experienced alone as well as with others . Being alone is growth-producing and desirable at times . 17 . THERE IS A PERFECT LOVE, AND A PERFECT RELATIONSHIP . Subscribers to this belief often feel resentful of one close relationship after another . Nothing is quite right because they are waiting for the perfect fit . It never comes . 18 . YOU SHOULD'NT HAVE TO FEEL PAIN, YOU ARE ENTITLED TO A GOOD LIFE . The realistic position is that pain is an inevitable part of human life . It frequently accompanies tough, healthy decisions and the process of growth .. Life is not fair, and sometimes you Will suffer no matter what you do . 19 . YOUR WORTH AS A PERSON DEPENDS ON HOW MUCH YOU ACHIEVE AND PRODUCE . (Farquhar & Lowe, 1974) . A more rational assessment of your real worth would depend on such things as your capacity to be fully alive, feeling every- thing it means to be human . 20 . ANGER IS AUTOMATICALLY BAD AND DESTRUCTIVE . (Farquhar & Lowe) Anger is frequently cleansing . It can be an honest communication of current feelings, without attacking the personal worth and security of others . 21 . IT IS BAD OR WRONG TO BE SELFISH . The truth is that no one knows your needs and wants better than you, and no one else has as great an interest in seeing them fulfilled . Your happiness is your responsibility . Being selfish means you are accepting that responsibility . It is quite probable that you could add other irrational ideas to this list . Please do . The best way to uncover your own irrational ideas is to think of situations in which you experience, anxiety, depression, anger, guilt .or a sense of worthlessness . Behind each of these emotions, particularly if they are chronic is irrational self-talk . STRESS (A) What is it? (B) Where does it come from? (C) Recognition (D) What to'do about stress. (E) References . (A) Some stress can be productive and even deliberately self-induced (mountaineering, etc.) but excessive negative stress can be crippling . Such stress may be defined as a (perceived) substantial imbalance between demand and response capacity, under conditions where failure to meet demand has important (perceived) consequences . Such anxiety can result from a failure to meet demands or expectations made by self . (B) Where does it come from? (for teachers in particular) Stress can result from : (1) Factors outside of the work situation. Sometimes these can result from personality difficulties . (2) A perceived or real inability for self to carry out the task, e.g. controlling difficult children, personal relationships with certain children, teaching the (difficult to teach', etc . (3) A perceived lack of training or knowledge . (4) Time press ea . (5) Tension in waiting for the next crisis t o occur . (6) Frustration with lack of career expansion or change. (7) A lack of professional or intellectual stimulation . (8) Professional development away from what was previously a learning situation . (9) Inability, to cope with physical demands of job . (10) Inability to cope with emotional demands of job . (11) Inability to cope with cognitive demands of job . (12) IInderconfidence in (professional) self . (13) Fear of failuze and retribution . (14) A clash of values . Other ways or values considered to be wholly more appropriate . (15) Boredom with the task. (16) Boredom with the children. (17) Working in a critically judgemental climate or a negative or cynical one. (18) Personality clashes within sub-groups or with individuals . (19) Inadequate formal and informal support . (20) A clash of perceived function, e .g. routine care or control as opposed to "real teaching " . (21) Being professionally misjudged, de-valued or blamed . (22) Private lives made too public by job situation . (23) Ineffective interpersonal communication . (24) Poor teem morale . (25) Covering for absent colleagues . (26) Role distortion . (27) A shortage or mismatch of resources which may prevent the task to be carried out at the expected level . (28) A sub-standard, or otherwise unsuitable work environment . (29) Poor ethos within the organisation . (30) Poor organisation and management . (31) Unrealistic job demands . Incompatible expectations . (32) Mccessive group size . (33) Frequent changes in methodolosrical approach . (34) Organisational changes . (35) Salary inadequacies . (36) A lack of professional or creative opportunity (or to be self. ) (37) Overwork. Excessive time commitments . (38) Inability to reconcile shoe-term and long-term needs of the pupils . (39) Job insecurity . (C) Stress recognition . (1) Physical symptoms - these can take countless forms but some of the more common physical reactions to stress are : Exhaustion, headaches, muscle-tension, 'backache, abdominal pains and ulcers, eye-flicker, alcoholism, heart disorders, etc . (2) Personality can be significantly altered by stress . For example, lowered tolerance, irritability, negativism, depression, attention- seeking, emotionality and tearfulness, nausea and sickness, excessive craving for tobacco, alcohol or food, withdrawal from others or task, feeling threatened or paranoid tendencies, cynical approach to task or others, etc . (D) What to do about stress . First of all recognise the stress and the stressors . Flan an avoidance or coping strategy for each area to suit your own personality and life circumstances . (1) Sufficient rest and sleep . (2) A suitable diet . (3) Eliminate or reduce excesses . (4) Self-purging via sport, creativity, prayer, etc. (5) Increase self-awareness . (6) Cultivate a more satisfying life-style. (7) Welcome some problems as an academic exercise. (8) Seek and maintain emotional and social support . (9) Seek a fresh environment . (10) Relaxation exercises, ,yoga, meditation, etc . (11) Short-term and longer-term. personalised goals . (12) Learn more skills . (13) Academic study . (14) Change job or role. (15) Concentrate more or less, as applicable, on the needs of others . (16) Be yourself . Tom can't be anybody elset (17) Avoid stressful circumstances if possible . (18) Wholesome sex. (19) Personal time management . (20) Better personal organisation . (21) Ability to say 'no' . (22) Seek medical or psychological advice . BIBLIOGRAPHY 1 . Appley R .H., de Tarnbull R. (1967) Psychological Stress . Appleton - Century - Crofts . 2 . Cax P. et al (1978) 'Stress and well-being in school teachers' . Paper presented to conference of Ergonomics Society . 3 . hsnham J. (1980 'Stress and the Teacher' Croom Helm : 4. Croyle G. (1982) The development of a stress management programme far teachers . University of Pittsburgh . 5 . Msor K. (1983) The impact of barn-ctt wor?tshops and social support systems on tender's ability to cope with job stress . University of San Francisco. 6 . Hargreives D. (1978) 'What teaching does to teachers' . New society 43 pp 540-542 . 7 . Sa~badse A. (1982) People and Organisations . Gower. 8 . Kearns J . L. (1973) Stress in Industr7 . P_-ior7 Press . 9 . Inpi I.T. (1983) Stress management workshops for promptinn coping behaviors in special education teachers . 10 . Meagher L. (1983) Variables associated with stress and born-vat of regular and special education teachers . University of Kansas (research study) . i"Iills, J .'J . , _93=x ) Cop? za with Stress : i 7u-i de to Li Jin'; ailey .
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