Stress Management to Enhance Mental and Physical Energy in the Workplace Presented by: Wendy Walsdorf, MFT and Beth Argus, MFT of the UCLA Staff and Faculty Counseling Center UC Academic Advising Conference May 5th, 2006
Introduction and Goals Introduction - EAP Learn the mind-body connection to stress Learn techniques to manage stress at home or in the workplace
Centenerian Personality*What we can learn from 100 yr olds • Sense of humor • Sense of hope • Engagement • Coping with loss • Stress reduction • No catastrophic illness • Not obese • Rarely smoke *Information taken from presentation by Monika White, PhD, President\CEO Center for Healthy Aging, Santa Monica, CA on Aging Smart….Aging Well, March 2006
Why is Stress Reduction Important? • 1/3 of our longevity is inherited. That means that we have control over 2/3* • Brain waves study (Jon Kabat-Zin, Psychology Today, 2004) • The more you learn techniques, the faster your body will go into a relaxation state *Information taken from presentation by Monika White, PhD, President\CEO Center for Healthy Aging, Santa Monica, CA on Aging Smart….Aging Well, March 2006 http://www.centerforhealthyaging.org/map.php
What are your stressors and how does stress manifest for you physically, behaviorally, mentally?
Symptoms of stress Moderate Stress Tension headaches Lack of concentration Indigestion Muscle tension Tight jaw Sweaty palms Cold hands Restlessness Loss/increase appetite Sleep Disturbance Severe Stress Chest pain High blood pressure Palpitations Trembling Allergies Phobias Fatigue Confusion Depression/anxiety Insomnia/Oversleeping
BIOLOGY Hormones & The Brain Glands / Nerve Cells Secreted by: Epinephrine / norephinephrine (adrenal glands) VERY POTENT! SYMPATHETIC NERVOUS SYSTEM + heart rate + blood pressure +perspiration +muscle tension +blood flow Adrenalin Rush Primitive Survival Necessary Hyper-arousal Real or imagined
Effective Stress Management • Sound knowledge of the body’s reaction to perceived stress • Sound knowledge of mental, physical, emotional and spiritual factors associated with stress • Utilization of several coping techniques to work towards a resolution of the causes of stress • Regular practice of relaxation/ exercise routine to maintain balance of the body • Balancing work and home life • Hobbies/getaways • Know limitations/ boundaries
Movie* • A + B = C • Strategies for Managing Stress *Taken from film Short Circuiting Stress. Changing the way you think about stress with Robert S. Eliot, M.D.
Mindfulness:“Don’t just do something, sit there” • A strategy to keep attention in the present • Observation without judging • Acceptance of what is occurring in the moment • No intent to change anything • Awareness of every thought and emotion • Allows feelings to emerge without resistance
Benefits of Mindfulness • Takes us out of a “doing” state • Helps us to live more fully • Keeps us in the here and now • Expands our awareness of ourselves • De-conditions our responses • Affects our physiology in a positive way • Helps us to respond, rather than react
Helpful Reminders for Mindfulness • Turn off the automatic pilot • Focus on sensations • Live each second fully • Observe thoughts and reactions, don’t judge • Ride the wave of feelings • Practice mindfulness daily
Examples of the Mindful Experience • Enjoyment of food, music, scenery, conversation, interactions • Tolerance • Renewed energy • Remembering things • Slowing down • Enjoyment, peace
Mindfulness Exercise • Sit comfortably • Concentrate on your breath • Observe the feeling • When thoughts drift, return to your breath • Observe thoughts, acknowledge them • Label thoughts as ‘thinking” • Use breath as an anchor • Practice daily for five minutes daily to start
How can you incorporate mindfulness in the workplace? Refer to handout
How to Create your Own Environ Program • The Environ Machine at UCLA (Photo by Reed Hutchinson for UCLA Today)
Components of the Environ Stress Reduction Chamber • Lights • Aromatherapy • Purified Air • Relaxation Tapes • Measures (body temperature, emotions, muscle tension) • No Interruptions • Set time
Your Personal Relaxation Tools • Techniques (mindful meditation, progressive relaxation, visualization) • Relaxation Tapes (refer to handout) • Biodots • Aromatherapy (refer to handout) • No interruptions • Scheduled time and place
Progressive Relaxation* The purpose of this exercise is to tense and relax different muscle groups. While relaxing focus on the feeling of letting go of tension. • Hands and Arms –make a fist, then relax. • Arms–bend the hands back at the wrist. • Shoulders and neck –pull shoulders up to ears and head down into your shoulders. Now relax. • Cheeks and jaw: Grin from ear to ear. • Face and nose-Wrinkle up your nose. Now relax. • Stomach- Tighten all the muscles in the stomach. Relax. • Legs and feet-Push legs and feet down hard on the floor. Relax. *Source: Ollendick (1978)
Relaxation Meditation • Sit in a comfortable position with back straight • Close your eyes • Imagine a relaxing scene • Let the music help you to relax and focus. Playing background music helps to improve your focus and helps to stop unwanted thoughts. • You can repeat this exercise anywhere including in your office during your lunch break.
Conclusion 1. A little stress reduction goes a long way. Practice techniques daily. 2. Be mindful of your thoughts, actions, and behaviors and come back to the present moment. 3. Stress reduction varies from person to person. Pick techniques that work for you.