Models of stress management Transactional Model

Richard Lazarus and Susan Folkman suggested in 1984 that stress can be thought of as resulting from

an "imbalance between demands and resources" or as occurring when "pressure exceeds one's perceived ability to cope". Stress management was developed and premised on the idea that stress is not a direct response to a stressor but rather one's resources and ability to cope mediate the stress response and are amenable to change, thus allowing stress to be controllable.

In order to develop an effective stress management programme it is first necessary to identify the factors that are central to a person controlling his/her stress and to identify the intervention methods which effectively target these factors. Lazarus and Folkman's interpretation of stress focuses on the transaction between people and their external environment (known as the Transactional Model). The model conceptualizes stress as a result of how a stressor is appraised and how a person appraises his/her resources to cope with the stressor. The model breaks the stressor-stress link by proposing that if stressors are perceived as positive or challenging rather than a threat and if the stressed person is confident that he/she possesses adequate rather than deficient coping strategies, stress may not necessarily follow the presence of a potential stressor. The model proposes that stress can be reduced by helping stressed people change their perceptions of stressors, providing them with strategies to help them cope and improving their confidence in their ability to do so.

Health Realization/Innate Health Model

The health realization/innate health model of stress is also founded on the idea that stress does not necessarily follow the presence of a potential stressor. Instead of focusing on the individual's appraisal of so-called stressors in relation to his or her own coping skills (as the transactional model does), the health realization model focuses on the nature of thought, stating that it is ultimately a person's thought processes that determine the response to potentially stressful external circumstances. In this model, stress results from appraising oneself and one's circumstances through a mental filter of insecurity and negativity, whereas a feeling of well-being results from approaching the world with a "quiet mind," "inner wisdom," and "common sense".

This model proposes that helping stressed individuals understand the nature of thought—especially providing them with the ability to recognize when they are in the grip of insecure thinking, disengage from it and access natural positive feelings—will reduce their stress.

Techniques of Stress Management

There are several ways of coping with stress. Some techniques of time management may help a person to control stress. In the face of high demands, effective stress management involves learning to set limits and to say "No" to some demands that others make. The following techniques have been recently dubbed "Destressitizers" by The Journal of the Canadian Medical Association. A destressitizer is any process by which an individual can relieve stress. Techniques of stress management will vary according to the theoretical paradigm adhered to, but may include some of the following:

• Autogenic training

• Cognitive therapy

• Conflict resolution

• Exercise

• Getting a hobby

• Meditation

• Deep breathing

• Zen Yoga

• Nootropics

• Relaxation techniques

• Artistic Expression

• Fractional relaxation

• Progressive relaxation

• Spas

• Spending time in nature

• Stress balls

• Natural medicine

• Clinically validated alternative treatments

• Time management

• Listening to certain types of relaxing music, particularly:

- New Age music

- Classical music

- Psychedelic music

Measuring Stress

Levels of stress can be measured. One way is through the use of the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale to rate stressful life events. Changes in blood pressure and galvanic skin response can also be measured to test stress levels and changes in stress levels. A digital thermometer can be used to evaluate changes in skin temperature, which can indicate activation of the fight-or-flight response drawing blood away from the extremities.

Stress management has physiological and immune benefit effects.

Effectiveness of Stress Management

Positive outcomes are observed using a combination of non-drug interventions:

• treatment of anger or hostility,

• autogenic training

• talking therapy (around relationship or existential issues)

• biofeedback

• cognitive therapy for anxiety or clinical depression

How to reduce, prevent and cope with stress

It may seem that there's nothing you can do about your stress level. The bills aren't going to stop coming, there will never be more hours in the day for all your errands and your career or family responsibilities will always be demanding. But you have a lot more control than you might think. In fact, the simple realization that you're in control of your life is the foundation of stress management.

Managing stress is all about taking charge: taking charge of your thoughts, your emotions, your schedule, your environment and the way you deal with problems. The ultimate goal is a balanced life, with time for work, relationships, relaxation and fun - plus the resilience to hold up under pressure and meet challenges head on.

Stress needs the following

• Identify sources of stress

• Look at how you cope with stress

• Avoid unnecessary stress

• Alter the situation

• Adapt to the stressor

• Accept the things you can't change

• Make time for fun and relaxation

• Adopt a healthy lifestyle

• Related links

Identify the sources of stress in your life

Stress management starts with identifying the sources of stress in your life. This isn't as easy as it sounds. Your true sources of stress are not always obvious and it's all too easy to overlook your own stress-inducing thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Sure, you may know that you are constantly worried about work deadlines. But maybe it's your procrastination, rather than the actual job demands, that leads to deadline stress.

To identify your true sources of stress, look closely at your habits, attitude and excuses:

• Do you explain away stress as temporary ("I just have a million things going on right now") even though you can not remember the last time you took a breather?

• Do you define stress as an integral part of your work or home life ("Things are always crazy around here") or as a part of your personality ("I have a lot of nervous energy, that's all").

• Do you blame your stress on other people or outside events, or view it as entirely normal and unexceptional?

Until you accept responsibility for the role you play in creating or maintaining it, your stress level will remain outside your control.

Start a Stress Journal

A stress journal can help you identify the regular stressors in your life and the way you deal with them. Each time you feel stressed, keep track of it in your journal. As you keep a daily log, you will begin to see patterns and common themes. Write down:

• What caused your stress (make a guess if you're unsure).

• How you felt, both physically and emotionally.

• How you acted in response.

• What you did to make yourself feel better.

Look at how you currently cope with stress

Think about the ways you currently manage and cope with stress in your life. Your stress journal can help you identify them. Are your coping strategies healthy or unhealthy, helpful or unproductive? Unfortunately, many people cope with stress in ways that compound the problem.

Unhealthy ways of coping with stress

These coping strategies may temporarily reduce stress, but they cause more damage in the long run:

• Smoking

• Drinking too much

• Overeating or underrating

• Zoning out for hours in front of the TV or computer

• Withdrawing from friends, family and activities

• Using pills or drugs to relax

• Sleeping too much

• Procrastinating

• Filling up every minute of the day to avoid facing problems

• Taking out your stress on others (lashing out, angry outbursts, physical violence)

Learning healthier ways to manage stress

If your methods of coping with stress are not contributing to your greater emotional and physical health, it's time to find healthier ones. There are many healthy ways to manage and cope with stress, but they all require change. You can either change the situation or change your reaction. When deciding which option to choose, it's helpful to think of the four As: avoid, alter, adapt, or accept.

Since everyone has a unique response to stress, there is no "one size fits all" solution to managing it. No single method works for everyone or in every situation, so experiment with different techniques and strategies. Focus on what makes you feel calm and in control.

Dealing with stressful situations: The four A's

Change the situation:

• Avoid the stressor.

• Alter the stressor.

Change your reaction:

• Adapt to the stressor.

• Accept the stressor.

Stress management strategy : Avoid unnecessary stress

Not all stress can be avoided and it's not healthy to avoid a situation that needs to be addressed. You may be surprised, however, by the number of stressors in your life that you can eliminate.

Learn how to say "no": Know your limits and stick to them. Whether in your personal or professional life, refuse to accept added responsibilities when you are close to reaching them. Taking on more than you can handle is a surefire recipe for stress.

Avoid people who stress you out: If someone consistently causes stress in your life and you can't turn the relationship around, limit the amount of time you spend with that person or end the relationship entirely.

Take control of your environment: If the evening news makes you anxious, turn the TV off. If traffic's got you tense, take a longer but less-traveled route. If going to the market is an unpleasant chore, do your grocery shopping online.

Avoid hot-button topics: If you get upset over religion or politics, cross them off your conversation list. If you repeatedly argue about the same subject with the same people, stop bringing it up or excuse yourself when it's the topic of discussion.

Pare down your to-do list: Analyze your schedule, responsibilities and daily tasks. If you've got too much on your plate, distinguish between the "shoulds" and the "musts." Drop tasks that are not truly necessary to the bottom of the list or eliminate them entirely.

Stress management strategy : Alter the situation

If you can't avoid a stressful situation, try to alter it. Figure out what you can do to change things so the problem does not present itself in the future. Often, this involves changing the way you communicate and operate in your daily life.

Express your feelings instead of bottling them up. If something or someone is bothering you, communicate your concerns in an open and respectful way. If you do not voice your feelings, resentment will build and the situation will likely remain the same.

Be willing to compromise. When you ask someone to change their behavior, be willing to do the same. If you both are willing to bend at least a little, you all have a good chance of finding a happy middle ground.

Be more assertive. Do not take a backseat in your own life. Deal with problems head on, doing your best to anticipate and prevent them. If you have got an exam to study for and your chatty roommate just got home, say up front that you only have five minutes to talk.

Manage your time better. Poor time management can cause a lot of stress. When you are stretched too thin and running behind, it's hard to stay calm and focused. But if you plan ahead and make sure you don't overextend yourself, you can alter the amount of stress you're under.

Stress management strategy: Adapt to the stressor

If you can not change the stressor, change yourself. You can adapt to stressful situations and regain your sense of control by changing your expectations and attitude.

Reframe problems. Try to view stressful situations from a more positive perspective. Rather than fuming about a traffic jam, look at it as an opportunity to pause and regroup, listen to your favorite radio station, or enjoy some alone time.

Look at the big picture. Take perspective of the stressful situation. Ask yourself how important it will be in the long run. Will it matter in a month? A year? Is it really worth getting upset over? If the answer is no, focus your time and energy elsewhere.

Adjust your standards. Perfectionism is a major source of avoidable stress. Stop setting yourself up for failure by demanding perfection. Set reasonable standards for yourself and others and learn to be okay with "good enough."

Focus on the positive. When stress is getting you down, take a moment to reflect on all the things you appreciate in your life, including your own positive qualities and gifts. This simple strategy can help you keep things in perspective.

Adjusting Your Attitude

How you think can have a profound affect on your emotional and physical well-being. Each time you think a negative thought about yourself, your body reacts as if it were in the throes of a tension-filled situation. If you see good things about yourself, you are more likely to feel good; the reverse is also true. Eliminate words such as "always," "never," "should," and "must." These are telltale marks of self-defeating thoughts. Source: National Victim Assistance Academy, U.S. Department of Justice

Stress management strategy: Accept the things you can not change

Some sources of stress are unavoidable. You can not prevent or change stressors such as the death of a loved one, a serious illness, or a national recession. In such cases, the best way to cope with stress is to accept things as they are. Acceptance may be difficult, but in the long run, it's easier than railing against a situation you can't change.

Do not try to control the uncontrollable. Many things in life are beyond our control— particularly the behavior of other people. Rather than stressing out over them, focus on the things you can control such as the way you choose to react to problems.

Look for the upside. As the saying goes, "What does not kill us makes us stronger." When facing major challenges, try to look at them as opportunities for personal growth. If your own poor choices contributed to a stressful situation, reflect on them and learn from your mistakes.

Share your feelings. Talk to a trusted friend or make an appointment with a therapist. Expressing what you are going through can be very cathartic, even if there's nothing you can do to alter the stressful situation.

Learn to forgive. Accept the fact that we live in an imperfect world and that people make mistakes. Let go of anger and resentments. Free yourself from negative energy by forgiving and moving on.

Stress management strategy : Make time for fun and relaxation

Beyond a take-charge approach and a positive attitude, you can reduce stress in your life by nurturing yourself. If you regularly make time for fun and relaxation, you'll be in a better place to handle life's stressors when they inevitably come.

Healthy ways to relax and recharge

• Go for a walk.

• Spend time in nature.

• Call a good friend.

• Sweat out tension with a good workout.

• Write in your journal.

• Take a long bath.

• Light scented candles

• Savor a warm cup of coffee or tea.

• Play with a pet.

• Work in your garden.

• Get a massage.

• Curl up with a good book.

• Listen to music.

• Watch a comedy

Do not get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life that you forget to take care of your own needs. Nurturing yourself is a necessity, not a luxury.

Set aside relaxation time: Include rest and relaxation in your daily schedule. Don't allow other obligations to encroach. This is your time to take a break from all responsibilities and recharge your batteries.

Connect with others: Spend time with positive people who enhance your life. A strong support system will buffer you from the negative effects of stress.

Do something you enjoy every day: Make time for leisure activities that bring you joy, whether it be stargazing, playing the piano, or working on your bike.

Keep your sense of humor: This includes the ability to laugh at yourself. The act of laughing helps your body fight stress in a number of ways.

Learn the Relaxation Response

You can control your stress levels with relaxation techniques that evoke the body's relaxation response, a state of restfulness that is the opposite of the stress response. Regularly practicing these techniques will build your physical and emotional resilience, heal your body and boost your overall feelings of joy and equanimity.

Stress management strategy : Adopt a Healthy Lifestyle

You can increase your resistance to stress by strengthening your physical health.

Exercise regularly: Physical activity plays a key role in reducing and preventing the effects of stress. Make time for at least 30 minutes of exercise, three times per week. Nothing beats aerobic exercise for releasing pent-up stress and tension.

Eat a healthy diet: Well-nourished bodies are better prepared to cope with stress, so be mindful of what you eat. Start your day right with breakfast and keep your energy up and your mind clear with balanced, nutritious meals throughout the day.

Reduce caffeine and sugar: The temporary "highs" caffeine and sugar provide often end in with a crash in mood and energy. By reducing the amount of coffee, soft drinks, chocolate and sugar snacks in your diet, you all feel more relaxed and you'll sleep better.

Avoid alcohol, cigarettes and drugs: Self-medicating with alcohol or drugs may provide an easy escape from stress, but the relief is only temporary. Don't avoid or mask the issue at hand; deal with problems head on and with a clear mind.

Get enough sleep: Adequate sleep fuels your mind, as well as your body. Feeling tired will increase your stress because it may cause you to think irrationally.

Stress can drain and ruin your life. These stress management articles will put you in the right perspective so as to improve yourself. Have that mind power perspective. Balance work life, improve decisions and reduce stress. If you want to reduce stress, then know the three easy ways of recognizing stress. If you feel that you reached the end of your rope, then try brainwave entertainment as a technique of stress management. Effectively deal with frustration by singing and counting.

Manage stress, Don't let it mess up your life

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How to treat panic attacks naturally

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Managing stress through meditation

Managing stress through meditation is increasing in popularity. Since stress is a part of our daily life, it must be carefully handled. In every decision we make, stress has something to do with it. Every aspect of our life has a relation to stress be it physical or emotional. So stress is not bad altogether. It is a matter of how we react to it. Those who can handle stress quite well have greater chances of leading a well balanced life.

Why do not we listen to women's intuition anymore?

Women these day's seem to have it all- a family, a career, money. We are driven, we have achieved great things and great things have been accomplished. We have burned our bra's and we have fought long and hard for women's rights. But has the pendulum swung too far?

Control your anger by adjusting your world view

Anger is a relative sensation. It is not the stuff that happens to you that produces anger as much it is how you respond to these things. Viewing the world from a cyclical perspective. Do you wake up every day ready for horrible things to take place? Do you get out of bed thinking that beneficial stuff can not take place today?

Take a midday nap for a less stress and a better mind

Midday naps have long been recommended to boost brain performance, stress management and other health benefits. Discover how you can have a healthier brain and body, just by following your body's internal clock.

How to eliminate severe anxiety

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The healing power of mindfulness meditation

The Path of Mindfulness Meditation: Finally, the long awaited book by the author and therapist, Dr. Peter Strong is available through Amazon. This book explores the theory and practice of mindfulness meditation for personal transformation and gives an introduction to the powerful form of psychotherapy called Mindfulness Meditation Therapy (MMT).

Shift work and stress - Are you tired and up to your eyeballs in debt too?

If you're a shift worker then you would know that shift work and stress certainly goes hand in hand with one another. Just getting up at 3 a.m. to go into work is stressful enough! But having just returned from a financial education conference in Sydney recently, one of the guest speakers announced something that absolutely shocked me to the core.

How to manage stress

Stress cause nervous system agreed to release stress hormones during the fight or flight response. These hormones must be in balance. When introduced in. Pre continuous chronic stress can affect your nervous system.

A simple way to control this. When you feel stressed a deep breath! Using efficient. Breathing exercises can help reduce the impact of stress on your body. Activate your nervous system. parasympathetic how?

You can relax sitting or lying this exercise

Take a deep breath. Breath in and Breath out.

Parasympathetic nervous

The system will help our body relax from the fight or flight response active sympathetic nervous system. Therefore, by breathing deeply, you will communicate with your body to your brain.

Breathing exercises are healthy for the body. When we have a bad habit of breathing it. steals our energy needs. and impairs your concentration. Lead to muscle stiffness. This is because you know depriving the body of the correct amount of oxygen. Breathing exercises are very popular. Since the effectiveness of stress. Relief and you have the ability to do this almost every! That you work sitting at a table or view the movie with your children can do this easy.

Truth in life is that we have all types of stress. Recent clinical studies show that stress affects health. Put into practice the basic management techniques to alleviate stress. Stress you feel from the pressure of life.

Individual Coping Strategies

Individual strategies are based on 'self-help' or 'do yourself' approaches, some specific techniques that individuals can use to effectively manage their job stress are :

(i) Physical Exercise : Exercise in any form, be it walking, jogging, swimming, riding bicycles or playing games help people combat stress. Without going into the sematics about the exact relationship between exercise and stress, it can safely be said that at least some side effects of exercise such as relaxation, enhanced self-esteem and simply getting one's mind off the work for a while help people better cope with stress.

(ii) Behaviour Self-Control : Behaviour self-control refers to 'self-management.' A conscious analysis of the causes and consequences of their own behaviour helps employees achieve self-control. In ultimate sense, the self-control strategy implies employees controlling the situation instead of letting the situation control them. Accordingly, one way to avoid stress is to avoid people or situations that will bring employees under stress.

(iii) Networking : Psychological researches have confirmed that people need and benefit from social support. Developing social support, therefore, can be used as a strategy for reducing job stress too. Doing so would entail forming close associations with trusted co-workers and colleagues who are good listeners and confidence builders. These co-workers at times help the stressful employee get over stress. Such alliances deliberately sought out and developed in the organizations are called networks or networking.

(iv) Councelling : Councelling is yet another strategy widely used in organizations for dealing with stress. Employees are given councelling in the matters like career planning to provide them clarity to their career goals and opportunities. This helps reduce uncertainly in this regard which is a major source of job stress. Employees can be helped through councelling to identify their own strengths, weakness and response pattern and change their behaviour accordingly. In India, certain organizations like. Canara Bank, for instance, have started stress councelling centre to mitigate the effects of job stress.

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