Monday, January 30, 2023

What Is Stress Management In Psychology

Defining Stressors And Strains

Introduction to Stress Management

Work-related stressors or job stressors can lead to different kinds of strains individuals and organizations might experience. Various types of stress management interventions, guided by OD and work stress frameworks, may be employed to prevent or cope with job stressors and manage strains that develop.


A job stressor is a stimulus external to an employee and a result of an employees work conditions. Example job stressors include organizational constraints, workplace mistreatments , role stressors, workload, work-family conflicts, errors or mistakes, examinations and evaluations, and lack of structure . Although stressors may be categorized as hindrances and challenges, there is not yet sufficient information to be able to propose which stress management interventions would better serve to reduce those hindrance stressors or to reduce strain-producing challenge stressors while reinforcing engagement-producing challenge stressors.

Organizational Constraints
Workplace Mistreatment
Role Stressors
Work-Family Conflict


Early Contributions To The Study Of Stress

As previously stated, scientific interest in stress goes back nearly a century. One of the early pioneers in the study of stress was Walter Cannon, an eminent American physiologist at Harvard Medical School . In the early part of the 20th century, Cannon was the first to identify the bodys physiological reactions to stress.

Harvard physiologist Walter Cannon first articulated and named the fight-or-flight response, the nervous systems sympathetic response to a significant stressor.

Use Purposeful Relaxation Strategies Often

When you teach yourself to relax, you learn to control your physiological stress response. The fight-or-flight response happens automatically, but you can intentionally switch it off by using relaxation techniques that deactivate the sympathetic nervous system and activate its physiologic counterpart, the parasympathetic nervous system .2,3 The moment you notice yourself feeling stressed, begin to take slow, deep, mindful breaths. The act of breathing this way calms the bodys stress reaction.

You can also prevent your fight-or-flight response from dominating by engaging in regular practices to strengthen your bodys natural relaxation response. Practices such as yoga, tai chi, and meditation have been found in studies to reduce stress and increase feelings of calm.2 Also, having massages, watching something that makes you laugh, or doing anything healthy that to you is relaxing can reduce stress in a given moment and over time.4

Regular relaxation can be as simple as listening to music you find calming or inspiring. In a study reported in 2019 in the journal Anestesiologica, music was found to disrupt the stress response.5 The study showed that listening to or creating music directly impacts the nervous system, brain, heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, and hormone production.

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Research Focus: Coping With Melanoma

Perhaps the most dramatic of stress coping interventions studies was conducted by Fawzy and his colleagues , who did specific coping skills interventions with melanoma patients. During a six-week structured program, participants experienced multiple program components including health education, psychological support, problem-solving, and stress management training. In the short term, the experimental subjects were more likely to use active behaviour coping than the controls, and also had more positive affect. Differences in immune functioning were evident between the two groups at the six-month assessment. Specifically, experimental subjects had a greater percentage of large granular lymphocytes, more NK cells, and better NK cytotoxicity. ;While coping strategies were not directly associated with immune cell changes, they were correlated with affect, which in turn was associated with immune functioning. The studies supported the hypothesis that effects of coping on biomedical outcomes may be mediated through affect. At a five-year follow-up, a third of the control group had died, compared with;less than 10% of the experimental group. Longer survival was associated with more active coping at baseline.

Reminder: Practice Youre Worth It

What is Stress? Meaning, Definition and Causes of Stress

As noted previously, try these methods on for size, to see what works best for you. ;Dont necessarily expect a quick fix, but trust in the fact that putting effort in these areas will lead to good things in the stress management realm. ;Remember: you are worth taking care of, so take your health and wellbeing seriously.

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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 , 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”.

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

How Can You Help Yourself

Stress is a natural reaction to many situations in life, such as work, family, relationships and money problems.

We mentioned earlier on that a moderate amount of stress can help us perform better in challenging situations,34 but too much or prolonged stress can lead to physical problems. This can include lower immunity levels,35 digestive and intestinal difficulties, e.g. irritable bowel syndrome ,36;or mental health problems such as depression.37 It is therefore important that we manage our stress and keep it at a healthy level to prevent long-term damage to our bodies and minds.

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Causes Of Workplace Stress

The most and least stressful job report for 2018, conducted by CareerCast revealed that the top most stressful jobs of the year were Enlisted Military Personnel, Firefighters, Airline Pilots,;and Police Officers. The least stressful jobs were Diagnostic Medical Sonographer, hair stylist, audiologist, and University professor .

While some jobs are undoubtedly more stressful than others, all workplaces are prone to stress of some degree.

The below diagram, obtained from the WSH Institute displays the various factors that can lead to workplace stress, along with the organization and individuals role in dealing with these hazards.

Selye And The General Adaptation Syndrome

What is Stress

Another important early contributor to the stress field was Hans Selye, mentioned earlier. He would eventually become one of the worlds foremost experts in the study of stress . As a young assistant in the biochemistry department at McGill University in the 1930s, Selye was engaged in research involving sex hormones in rats. Although he was unable to find an answer for what he was initially researching, he incidentally discovered that when exposed to prolonged negative stimulation such as extreme cold, surgical injury, excessive muscular exercise, and shockthe rats showed signs of adrenal enlargement, thymus and lymph node shrinkage, and stomach ulceration. Selye realized that these responses were triggered by a coordinated series of physiological reactions that unfold over time during continued exposure to a stressor. These physiological reactions were nonspecific, which means that regardless of the type of stressor, the same pattern of reactions would occur. What Selye discovered was the general adaptation syndrome, the bodys nonspecific physiological response to stress.

Hans Selye specialized in research about stress. In 2009, his native Hungary honored his work with this stamp, released in conjunction with the 2nd annual World Conference on Stress.

The three stages of Selyes general adaptation syndrome are shown in this graph. Prolonged stress ultimately results in exhaustion.

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What Is Stress Management A Definition

Put simply, stress management is:

set of techniques and programs intended to help people deal more effectively with stress in their lives by analysing the specific stressors and taking positive actions to minimize their effects

Popular examples of stress management include;meditation, yoga, and exercise. Well explore these in detail, with a range of different approaches to ensure that theres something that works for everyone.

First, lets set one thing straight: were not aiming towards being stress-free all of the time. Thats unrealistic. After all, its an unavoidable human response that we all experience from time to timeand its not all bad either.

However, we can all benefit from identifying our stress and managing it better.;Before we dive any deeper into managing stress, lets cover a quick 101 on stress itself.

Where To Find A Therapist For Stress

Seeking a therapist for stress can seem overwhelming at firstespecially when you are stressed and dont want one more thing on your already too-full plate. Knowing where to look can make the process makes it much more workable.

You can find a mental health professional by using an online directory, asking family for friends, or checking with your primary care physician for a recommendation or referral.

Its okay to ask for a consultation with a therapist before committing to therapy sessions. Its important that you feel at ease with your therapist and feel that the two of your like, trust, and respect each other. The quality of the relationship between a therapist and client is perhaps the biggest factor in success.29

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Aaron C Moffett Phd California State University San Bernardino

Following simple stress management tips can improve your health. Stress has been related to health problems such as heart attacks, strokes, ulcers, migraines, and sleeping problems or disorders. Everyone experiences stress but it is important to know what causes your stress, how you respond when these things happen, and how you can manage your stress during those difficult times.

  • Determine sources of good stress. There is both good and bad stress. For instance, you may be an individual who enjoys finishing the work report or leading your team down the field during the two-minute drill. Thus, you should determine what is good stress for you and what increases your performance at work, on the field, in the gym, or in the classroom.
  • Determine sources of bad stress. Distress can cause poor performance. Some people do not do well when they are stressed about a test. Other sources of stress could be family, work, or the big game. These sources of stress then lead to different ways we respond to stress.
  • Realize how you respond to stress. People express stress physiologically, behaviorally, and cognitively. For instance, before a job interview your heart may be racing , you may pace back and forth , or you may say negative statements to yourself such as This stinks! I cant do this! . Once you know how you respond to stress, you can choose the best ways to cope with stress.

Coping with stress

Music Therapy For Stress

AP Psychology @AHS: 8.2:STRESS

Music therapy involves purposefully listening to or creating music in order to create positive changes in emotional and physical health.5 While people can listen to music on their own as a relaxation technique, music therapy involves specific music interventions led by a trained music therapist.22 Music therapy has been shown in studies to help people reduce and better manage stress because it induces calmness and a state of relaxation by decreasing the bodys physiological stress reaction and boating positive emotions.5,22

Music therapy ranges in cost from approximately $50 to $90 for each individual session and about $60 to $90 an hour for group sessions.23 Music therapy can be an out-of-pocket expense but is sometimes covered by insurance or Medicaid.24

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The Physiology Of Stress: What Causes Stress Reactions

Your stress reaction, or what we often think of simply as stress, happens when something; triggers your fight-or-flight reaction.

This is a body-wide reaction that involves your brain, autonomic nervous system, hormones, and other substances that affect a variety of biological functions:2,3

A lot happens inside of you when you face something that causes stress. Your physiological reaction to a trigger leads to the symptoms of stress.

Inflammation Cytokine Production And Mental Health

In addition to its effects on physical health, prolonged proinflammatory cytokine production may also adversely affect mental health in vulnerable individuals. During times of illness , proinflammatory cytokines feed back to the CNS and produce symptoms of fatigue, malaise, diminished appetite, and listlessness, which are symptoms usually associated with depression. It was once thought that these symptoms were directly caused by infectious pathogens, but more recently, it has become clear that proinflammatory cytokines are both sufficient and necessary to generate sickness behavior .

Sickness behavior has been suggested to be a highly organized strategy that mammals use to combat infection . Symptoms of illness, as previously thought, are not inconsequential or even maladaptive. On the contrary, sickness behavior is thought to promote resistance and facilitate recovery. For example, an overall decrease in activity allows the sick individual to preserve energy resources that can be redirected toward enhancing immune activity. Similarly, limiting exploration, mating, and foraging further preserves energy resources and reduces the likelihood of risky encounters . Furthermore, decreasing food intake also decreases the level of iron in the blood, thereby decreasing bacterial replication. Thus, for a limited period, sickness behavior may be looked upon as an adaptive response to the stress of illness.

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Books For Stress Management

  • The Stress-Proof Brain. Learn how to master your emotional response using mindfulness and neuroplasticity.
  • The Relaxation and Stress Workbook. Get a bunch of exercises, practices, and techniques for overcoming stress.
  • Burnout. A great book for understanding the science behind what leads us to burnout and how to recover.

Is All Stress Harmful To Health

Stress & Stress management / Psychology of stress

There are several different types of stress, and not all are harmful. Eustress, for example, is a positive form of stress. But chronic stress has been linked to many serious health issues and is the type of negative stress most often mentioned in the news. While we want to manage or eliminate negative stress, we also want to keep positive forms of stress in our lives to help us remain vital and alive.

However, if we experience too much stress in our lives, even “good” stress can contribute to excessive stress levels, which can lead to feeling overwhelmed or having your stress response triggered for too long. This is why it is still important to learn to relax your body and mind periodically and cut down on unnecessary stress whenever possible.

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The Importance Of Managing Stress

If youre living with high levels of stress, youre putting your entire well-being at risk. Stress wreaks havoc on your emotional equilibrium, as well as your physical health. It narrows your ability to think clearly, function effectively, and enjoy life. It may seem like theres nothing you can do about stress. The bills wont stop coming, there will never be more hours in the day, and your work and family responsibilities will always be demanding. But you have a lot more control than you might think.

Effective stress management helps you break the hold stress has on your life, so you can be happier, healthier, and more productive. The ultimate goal is a balanced life, with time for work, relationships, relaxation, and funand the resilience to hold up under pressure and meet challenges head on. But stress management is not one-size-fits-all. Thats why its important to experiment and find out what works best for you. The following stress management tips can help you do that.

Managing Stress And Maintaining Motivation

In addition to the benefits of maintaining good health, there are other strategies that help in maintaining motivation and handling stress. Most of these strategies are simple ones that promote personal responsibility and a positive life outlook. Perhaps the most effective strategy, though one that is often difficult to put into practice, is shifting from a pessimistic to an optimistic point of view.

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Stress Management Level Two: How We Think About The Situation

When we cant change the circumstances, its often useful to adjust how we think about a situation. People are meaning-making creatures. Were constantly creating stories about the causes and implications of what we experience. These stories can intensify or decrease stress.

For example, when we tell ourselves, This shouldnt be happening! Its ruining my whole life! we feel worse than if we tell ourselves, I wish this wasnt happening, but I can deal with it. It wont last forever.

Sometimes unhelpful stories involve other people. Telling ourselves, He did it deliberately because hes a jerk! gets us riled up, whereas, He made a mistake. He probably didnt realize it would bother me makes it easier to deal with the situation.

Sometimes the unhelpful stories we create are about ourselves. Thinking, I have to do it perfectly! or I should be doing more! ramps up stress. Self-critical thoughts along the lines of This just proves what a loser I am! add to our burden. Cultivating self-compassion by treating ourselves the way we would a friend is an important way of coping with stress.

We can also train ourselves to look at the evidence. Just because we can vividly imagine some terrible outcome doesn’t mean it’s real or likely. Asking ourselves data-driven questions such as How often has this happened to me in the past year? How about in the past 5 years? What evidence do I see that its not happening? can clarify actual risk.

Different Stress Management Techniques & Strategies

7 tips for managing stress

These tips are thing we can all benefit from doing more of. The techniques are categorized into three groups:

  • Action Orientated Approaches: used to take action to change a stressful situation
  • Emotion-oriented approaches: used to change the way we perceive a stressful situation
  • Acceptance-oriented approaches: used for dealing with stressful situations you cant control
  • Explore the below options and find what combination works best for keeping your stress levels under control.

    Action-oriented approaches allow you to take action and change the stressful situation.

    As Nelson & Hurrell said:

    Stress is inevitable, distress is not

    1. Be assertive

    Clear and effective communication is the key to being assertive. When were assertive, we can ask for what we want or need, and also explain what is bothering us. The key is doing this in a fair and firm manner while still having empathy for others. Once you identify what you need to communicate, you can stand up for yourself and be proactive in altering the stressful situation.

    You can read more about how to be assertive here.

    2. Reduce the noise

    Switching off all the technology, screen time, and constant stimuli can help us slow down. How often do you go offline? It is worth changing, for your own sake.

    3. Manage your time

    If we let them, our days will consume us. Before we know it, the months have become overwhelmingly busy. When we prioritize and organize our tasks, we create a less stressful and more enjoyable life.

    13. Sleep

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