An increasing number of studies have examined and evaluated the merits of relaxed based and prescriptive stress control methods as applied in various environmental settings. Stress management methods such as cognitive strategies, biofeedback, meditation and muscle relaxation have been educated to various people as a form of reducing subjective and psychological distress. Such strategies focus their attention exclusively on the provision of skills to people individually. The skills assist in the recognition of stress and information regarding how to cope with it in a health promotion perspective. Accordingly, stress management is an effective preventive measure that the human resource departments find essential to offer to their workers and other employees. Employees are some of the most common people that exhibit abject stress reactions. It is important to note that managing stress should be from a professional perspective in order to cure it in the long term period. The core purpose of this paper is primarily to give the steps to effective stress management process that eliminates stress on a long term purpose.
Stress is a part of life in this current fast-paced society. Contrary to the famous belief, stress does not seem to always lean on the negative connotation since it is suitable to stimulate the human body from time to time. A specific stress level is beneficial but when it crosses a certain degree it is more harmful than people fathom. Eustress is a term that describes beneficial stress (Olpin & Hesson, 2013). It assists individuals to set and achieve their life visions and purposes as well as executing their responsibilities at a higher caliber. For instance, an upcoming competition’s demands may create stress that acts as a stimulus for one to work harder to attain the best in the competition’s outcomes. On the other hand, when stress serves as an overwhelming aspect of life it is known as distress because it paralyzes rather than stimulate. It serves as a great contribution towards decreased well-being and health. In addition, stress is a makes it as one of the top factors of death causes and a distinct reason for frequent physician visits all across the globe. This brings out the implication that learning how to bring stress down to some beneficial degrees is a vital aspect of healthy living. This paper will discuss on the manner of engaging in effective stress management.
Stress has many branded definitions that surround it. However, the core meaning used in this paper is the physical response of the human body towards a perceived threat (Parker, 2007). Scholars also describe it as a danger response by the body. For any stress to occur there should be a perception of danger or threat level. The lack of danger means there is no possibility of stress. The danger perception is often the result of demands evaluation on a certain situation, identifying the quantity of resources needed to accomplish it and the final realization of not having adequate resources to meet the specified demands. Practically, this is the major feature of stress.
The Body’s Response to Stress
As defined, stress is the response of the human body towards a certain perceived threat or demand. So this mentioned response is known as the flight or fight response kind, and it has been among people for thousands of years now. The stress response also assisted the early ancestors to elope from any upcoming danger. For a majority of the human history, danger occurred in the form a sudden encounter with predators. During such occurrences, one had a limited of only two options which were attacking the predator, which is fighting or fleeing for the safety of one’s life. Both body responses require almost similar physical response that entails the body’s preparation for intense physical activity.
A body that is in full preparation to either flee or fight requires obtaining most of the power from the muscles. This means that it should release and utilize energy, and absorb and circulate oxygen through the rest of the body parts. This is through the release of hormones such as the cortisol and adrenaline (Geter, 2010). Today’s stress is quite different from the current kinds of stress and how they affect the body. Traditionally, once the ancestors caught the predator their body was calm, and their hormones stopped their secretion process. However, in the current world the body responses towards stress last a little longer thus contributing to various health problems.
Process of Stress management
This process is an extremely essential skill in the development of better life experience and health. The stress management process is a guide that assists people to structure their stress management approaches.
Identification of Stress
The first step in the stress management process is the actual identification of available experiences of stress patterns in one’s life. It might either pose to be a challenge or very simple too. The first things to look for are possible stress signs. There are several symptoms and signs of stress, but one cannot experience all of them at once. People tend to have their personal stress prints which are the specific reactions that vary from one person to another (Cooper; et al. 2009). For a particular person, the signs can be insomnia, aggressive behavior and back pain. Another may experience different signs like oversleeping, sexual problems or a forgetful mind. One should know their personal stress print in order to identify if they are experiencing stress or not. If the exercise appears to be a bit complex then, one may consult a close relative or friend. They may provide great insight of one’s reactions to stress.
After one identifies that they are experiencing stress, they should then evaluate the cause of stress or simply the stressors. It might be simple for some people to pinpoint their stressors while, for others, it proves to be a bit complex. There is an easy process through which one may identify their stressor. Since it has some relation to the changes that occur in one’s life then that is the first place to embark with the identification process. The stress-related changes can undergo filtration by looking at the time the symptoms began. Close family members and friends may be helpful since they can shed light on the stressor identification (Davidson, 2001).
Reason for the Stressor
It is essential to reveal the reason as to why the stressor is causing one stress. This step enables one to choose the right strategy to approach their stress management situation effectively. One should identify why they perceive the stressor as a danger. Therefore, an individual requires looking at the two situational aspects, which are the perceived resources and demands. When the perceived demands exceed the perceived resources, then the individuals views that they will be unable to handle the given situation since they view it as a danger or threat. However, if one perceives that their resources will exceed the demands, they have assurance that they do not have to accumulate unnecessary stress over the situation because it is under control. At times the perceptions coordinate with reality facts (Cooper; et al. 2009).
Selection and Application of an Appropriate Stress Management Strategy
The next step involves choosing the best strategy that is effective in one’s situation. There are around hundreds of different ways of managing stress. However, all the stress management strategies fall into two general categories which are those that address stress symptoms and those that address the stressor.
Strategies that Address Stress Symptoms
These comprise of mainly the relaxation strategies that assist in reversing the stress response-caused stimulation. The flight or fight responses stimulates the body through increasing the respiration, blood pressure and heart rate. This perpetuated state of stimulation causes severe health problems. It is essential to note that the relaxation strategies are useful in managing stress only on short term periods. There are not fully effective since they do not address the heart of the stressor thus not useful in long term approaches (Parker, 2007). Long term stress management strategies are vital since people do not desire frequent visits to the doctors every time. However, some of the short term management strategies include breathing exercises, massages and progressive muscle relaxation.
The breathing respiratory exercises are scientifically proven to induce relaxation. Here, the techniques may vary but the exercise essence remains the same. As one learns about how to differentiate between relaxed muscles and tensed ones, one becomes efficient at inducing a relaxation state in the muscle groups that are on focus. This is mainly achievable through progressive muscle relaxation. Stressed people tend to have tensed muscles. Massaging is an appropriate technique of relaxing tensed muscles, thus proving to be a good short term approach of stress management. Moreover, during physical exercising, the body secretes adrenaline, which is also produced when the body is responding to stress. The purpose of adrenaline during physical exercises is that it useful in keeping the body in full movement (Charlesworth & Nathan, 2004). After some time it becomes exhausted and the body retains its original state. During stressful times, the hormone secretion process occurs and because there is an absence of physical activity, the body retains a stimulated state.
Strategies that Address the Stressor
In a general viewpoint, people view a situation to be dangerous if they evaluate and realize that they do not have enough finances and resources to enable them handle the situation’s demands. A situational danger may either be real or imagined. There are two categories in this section, which are the problem solving approach that addresses real dangers and the cognitive approach that addresses the imagined dangers (Cooper; et al. 2009). The purposes of both approaches are to decrease the perspective demands and build up adequate resources to handle a given situation. These approaches are long term stress management strategies because their core objective is to remove the danger completely. This is more effective compared to the relaxation strategies. However, it requires much time to fully equip one with the skills and master them too.
Problem Solving Approach
When the stressor is real this is one of the most effective strategies available. Effective action is in need to either increase one’s resources or reduce the demands. The proper utilization of problem solving skills is very vital in stress management. One should be able to analyze the problem and brainstorm on possible solutions with friends and family. In the process, after evaluation one has to select the most appropriate options among the several that are available. The decision making skills are also very vital in this approach, since the decisions made directly affect the resources or demands related with the certain situation.
The making of good decisions is not easily done through a straightforward manner (Davidson, 2001). It should be through a disciplined and chronological approach that results into a high quality option obtained. In the western society people do not value critical thinking thus resulting into an absence of well-developed critical thinking skills. Good skills in this sector affect the various life areas in a positive manner with the inclusion of elimination and reduction of stress. By using a critical approach towards a stress provoking situation one is likely to discover various opportunities that help in reducing the situational demands.
The previous strategically based approach reiterated on the stress management skills needed to deal with the stressful situations. This is particularly meant for imagined situational problems. When one creates a situation perception they then generate imagined dangers. They are often a result of one’s own created demands and the inability of recognizing resources. People that have a tendency of creating imagined dangers, live under the ideology that reality does not exist, but instead perception. Individuals have different views of the world and hence one person’s perception is not similar to another. Similarly, a stressful situation to one person may not have the same effect on another. Fortunately, stress producing thoughts can be altered with including maladaptive thoughts. They fall under three general categories which are the negative automatic thoughts, assumptions and regulations, and lastly the core beliefs (Geter, 2010).
The negative automated thoughts pop into one’s mind without prompting. Since they are automatic, they come up in the mind without being processed. Among the maladaptive thoughts, these have the easiest in identification and changing. Some individuals are self-aware and can identify their negative automatic thoughts easily, while, for others, it proves to be a task. Regulations are statements regarding how one believes the world should operate. On the other hand, assumptions are statements concerning what will happen in a given situation. Core beliefs are the beliefs that one holds about who they are, together with the future and the world (Olpin & Hesson, 2013). This is the most difficult maladaptive thought to identify. These maladaptive core beliefs perpetuate in their maintenance through regular acknowledgement of information that offers support for the belief while discounting or ignoring data.
The eventual step is to undertake an evaluation to identify if the stress has been eliminated and managed. This is achievable by reviewing each step of the process. If the answers are still in the negative connotation, then it means that a person has to undergo the process once more in a more accurate and thorough manner. This is because there might be subtle mistakes made when identifying the stressor or even when selecting the stress management strategy. Perchance, the stress experienced may be a result of situational perceptions and not the actual situation. Adopting behaviors that are health enhancing may assist one become less vulnerable to stress. In addition, it enables one have the capacity of managing stress as it arises. Health is the greatest resource arguably, and the more the resources, the easier it is to manage stress. Apart from having a positive effect on stress, these behaviors associate with various benefits like reduced mental and physical illnesses risk and an advanced sense of well-being.
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