What is Stress — What is Stress Management

Quotes_Self_Epictetus_No_Man_Is_Free

And you will never be free if you don’t take action to manage your stress.

This section was prepared to allow you to understand the nature of an adversary we all face. For truly, you can never achieve great things if you have not learned how to master stress. And very, very few know who to do so. Fewer still TAKE ACTION to deal with this problem.

You cannot enjoy life, the pursuit of happiness is illusory, if you are stressed out. 

What is Stress?

But stress is not a simple phenomenon. It is a complex problem that has many different faces to it. To understand what stress is and how to manage it, you must understand certain key concepts. 

Definitions of Stress

“Stress is not a useful term for scientists because it is such a highly subjective phenomenon that it defies definition.” (American Institute of Stress, ND).

One of the early pioneers in the field, Hans Selye, struggled to come up with a good definition scientists could use. But we don’t have that problem, we just need to define it to be aware of it so we can control it. Some useful definitions include:

“A state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.” — (Oxford Dictionary Online)

“A stimulus or succession of stimuli of such magnitude as to tend to disrupt the homeostasis of the organism.” — (The Free Dictionary)

“Stress can be defined as the brain’s response to any demand. Many things can trigger this response, including change. Changes can be positive or negative, as well as real or perceived. They may be recurring, short-term, or long-term.” — (National Institute For Mental Health, N.D.)

Key Concepts

To play music, you must understand sheet music. And to get a handle on stress, you must understand certain key concepts. 

Homeostasis

The body (and mind) orients itself toward a normal state of functioning. It’s easy to understand the body. For the mind, you mind stay it  the state with the right amount of stress. that allows you to carry on perform work and life activities. 

Stressors

These are any  internal or external factors that cause a change in homeostasis.

Eustress and Distress

While most people perceive that stress has no benefits, this is not the case.  Eustress represents the beneficial aspect of stress. This type and amount of stress moves you forward. It’s like stepping on the gas petal of a car. If eustress moves you forward, distress does the exact opposite. It like stepping on a break, it creates friction.

Acute Stress and Chronic Stress

By acute we mean self-limiting in terms of time — the anxiety comes and it goes. Take an interview for example. At some point, it will be over. And one is unlikely to only worry about it continuously. By definition, you are not happy if feeling acute stress. 

It is the chronic stress from internal stressors and external stressors from continuous deadlines, boss difficulties, job searches etc. that can produce health problems (Pelletier, 1993). It represents that accumulation of stressors over the years that produce some type of health problem. And that’s one major ready you.

Psychosomatic Illness

These are commonly a number of stress related illnesses commonly seen by primary care physicians. However, in its extreme form, it can rise to be defined as a mental illness.

Quotes_Stress_Norris_Accept_The_Intolerable

What is Acute Stress?

“How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then to rest afterward.” — Spanish Proverb

There are a number of physical changes in the body when experiencing acute stress (National Institutes of Health, 1996)

These include:

  1. Your rate of breathing increases
  2. The mind becomes increasingly alert and more focused on the environment
  3. The body’s energy level gets greater
  4. Strength to the muscles increase
  5. The release of hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol
  6. Blood flow is redistributed from internal areas of the body to the external areas
  7. The heart beats faster
  8. The stomach and intestine grows less active
  9. Sexual interest wanes

Emotionally, acute stress would be most associated with negative emotions such as worry or anger. Anger especially causes many problems for those who frequently use it.

What is Stress Management?

Frontispiece to chapter 12 of 1905 edition of J. Allen St. John’s The Face in the Pool, published 1905. To face your stressors, you will need to “face your demons, your fears, your worries.”

“Stress should be a powerful driving force, not an obstacle.”Bill Phillips

Stress management consists of a number of different techniques that allow you to better manage your stress. Not only that, but if you get really good at this, you can not just control your stress, but set an optimal level so that you can adjust your stress to the activity you are performing. This is the goal. 

Stress Management Tools.  There are three stress management phases. These are broken into: Diagnostics, Intervention and Coping.

Phase 1: Diagnostic Phase

Start Here: Diagnose Your Symptoms. Get your FREE worksheets by becoming a guest member by logging into the LegaceePrime site as a Guest Member. 

Phase 2: Intervention Phase

Join as a Bronze Member of Legacee Prime. You will receive more worksheets on a step by step method how to better control internal and external stressor.

Phase 3: Coping Phase

This phase means that you must add more tools that what you currently are using. It maybe that can deal with the current situation pretty well by doing minor tweeks. But, typically, people don’t have  robust set of tools and will have to add more.

But you should seek help from a mental health professional if you are overwhelmed, feel you cannot cope, have suicidal thoughts, or are using drugs or alcohol to cope. 

Increase Your Knowledge and Understanding of Stress

“Stress is nothing more than a socially acceptable form of mental illness.”  — Richard Carlson

When you first look into stress management, it is like looking into a cave. Parts of it you see but much remains to be discovered hidden in the darkness of ignorance.
Russell Cave National Monument, Alabama, USA. One of the many entrances to the cave. When you first look into stress management, it is like looking into a cave. Parts of it you see but much remains to be discovered hidden in the darkness of ignorance.

Good Reads on Stress

Understand The Stress-Performance Curve. This is vital. You must understand the essential relationship between your stress and your performance. Discover the fundamental theory you need to get control. 

Diagnose the Symptoms of Your Stress. How do you now you are stressed out? This article presents a list of stress symptoms impacting intellectual, emotional and psychical symptoms.

Know The Effects of Stress. Besides that  how it affects the mind and body and stress and performance — mostly bad news here.

Sources of Stress. One aspect of stress management is knowing where your stress comes from. Examine the three major sources of stress: environmental, psychological and physiological. 

Prevent Stress-Related Illness. When you are young, you don’t worry about stress. Big mistake. You will pay for this when you are older with more misery and suffering.

Stress at Work. Check out the major areas you should be concerned about according to the Centers for Disease Control

What Types of Stress is Extremely Hard to Deal With?

“Stress is nothing more than a socially acceptable form of mental illness.”  — Richard Carlson

If your stress management techniques are not working, don’t be afraid to seek professional help. Certain types of psychological and physical conditions (Bolger, 1999) are very hard to deal with even with the help of an expert. These include:

– Panic Disorders

– Generalized Anxiety Disorder

– Social Phobias

– Post traumatic stress disorder

For More Information check out the National Institute of Health

Quotes_Stress_Harry_Truman_Heat_In_Kitchen

References

Bodger, Carole (1999). Smart Guide to Relieving Stress. New York: John Wiley. Pg 9-10.

National Institutes of Health (1996). National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism No. 32 PH 363, April.

National Institute of Mental Health (ND). Q&A on Stress for Adults: How it affects your health and what you can do about it.

Pelletier, Kenneth (1993). Between Mind and Body: Stress, Emotions and Health. In Daniel Goleman and Joel Gurin (Eds.). Mind-Body Medicine. New York: Consumer Reports Books.
Pg. 19-38.

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