Stress Management ETSU 1000 Fall, 2011
What Is Stress? • Stress is simply the body’s non-specific response to any demand made on it. • Some stress is good and helps us stay alert to accomplish important tasks. • Constant, unrelieved stress can lead to serious physical and mental difficulties • You cannot eliminate stress, but you can learn to manage it and prevent it from damaging your relationships, your college and work performance, and your life in general.
What Are the Symptoms of Stress? • General irritability • Elevated heart rate • Increased blood pressure • Increased accident proneness • Anxiety-anxious feelings • Low self esteem • Trembling • Insomnia • Headaches • Indigestion • Pain in neck and/or lower back • Changes in appetite or sleep pattern
What are the Causes of Stress? • Greater academic demands • Being on one’s own in a new environment with new responsibilities • Changes in family relations and one’s social life • Financial responsibilities • Exposure to new people, ideas, and temptations • Being away from home, often for the first time • Substance abuse • Preparing for life after graduation
Stress Management Strategies • Structure each day to include a minimum of 20 minutes of exercise • Eat well balanced meals • Avoid caffeine – can aggravate anxiety, insomnia, nervousness and trembling • Reduce refined sugars – excess sugars can cause frequent fluctuation in blood glucose levels, adding stress to the body • Avoid alcohol, cigarettes and drugs – can add to headaches, swelling, decrease coping mechanisms, and add to depression
Stress Management Strategies • Get at least 7 hours of sleep nightly • Spend time each day with at least one relaxation technique, imagery, daydreaming, prayer, yoga or meditation • Take a warm bath or shower • Go for a walk • Get in touch! Hug someone, hold hands, or stroke a pet. • Form healthy relationships • Keep your sense of humor
Stress Management Strategies • Keep your mind organized • Go to class – don’t skip • Keep up with your course work • Get involved with campus activities • Maintain communication with your family • Take advantage of campus resources • Talk to someone about your problems(family member, friend, college counselor)
Stress Management Strategies • Learn how to say “no” – Know your limits and stick to them • Avoid people who stress you out • Take control or your environment • Pare down your to-do list • Express your feelings instead of bottling them up • Be willing to compromise • Be more assertive • Manage your time better
Stress Management Strategies • Don’t try to control the uncontrollable • Look for the upside • Learn to forgive
Determine Your Stress Potential • The College Readjustment Rating Scale is an adaptation of the Holmes and Rahe’s Life Events Scale. • Modified for college age adults • Considered a rough indication of stress levels that can have possible health consequences • Circle the number of points corresponding to the events you have experienced in the last 6 months or are likely to experience in the next 6 months • Add up the circled numbers for a total score • What’s your potential for a serious health change due to stress?